Management Tips

What do MMA, Fate and Design have in common?

Conceive. Believe. Achieve.

I heard these three words on The Score. I was watching The MMA Show which featured a fighter who said these three words are the mantra for his training, his fighting style and his attitude for success. Funny thing is that the only time I really watch network TV anymore is when I am at the gym so I am lucky to have caught this. The matter of fact nature of this fighter’s attitude to training for his fights was extremely motivating to me. What an awesome alignment of fate. I was in the right place at the right time. Very cool.


Yes, it is. How else am I going to hook you though? Not sure if that’s good or not. I am going with good.

So, individually we all know what each of these words mean but when combined don’t they offer a powerful personal message? Think of the many ways the trio can be applied to different situations in your life. Hmmmmm…..are you back? How about in the context of our careers? How can we use the combination of these words to inspire us? There’s the rub, isn’t it? What would be interesting to me is how you interpret this concept. Make your way through my assessment and then let me know what your approach might be. Now, let’s see.

First off, what’s the order that makes the most sense to you?

Conceive. Believe. Achieve.


Believe. Conceive. Achieve.

I think we can all agree that achievement, as the anchor in both cases, requires belief in a concept or at least an established idea which we can accept and understand.

I am going with the following configuration:

Conceive. Let’s come up with that idea. Let’s generate that plan. Let’s build the structure. Let’s define what we want. Define the path, see the way and build the story.

Believe. What does it take to believe? It takes effective communication. Communication that describes the concept, sells the idea and elicits the responses that are the necessary to validating the concept. You poke holes. You rework. But what’s constant is the need for feedback. Feedback has a symbiotic relationship to belief.

Achieve. Achieve means execution. Activate your plan. Your concept is in place, your team is on board, your resources are set; what’s left? Go! Results will drive you forward as you execute your plan.

Yeah, but it looks like a straight line.

One thing that is critical to recognize is that on the surface this approach seems to appear linear. We don’t necessarily want it to be that way, do we? A linear process (complete a phase and shelve the work considering it fixed) reduces the opportunity to improve parts of your plan when you discover potential flaws in your work. In the process of believing you may discover concepts that improve your initial plan and while achieving it you may conceive of alternative ways to build the structure of you idea. Flexibility is one thing but being open to evaluation, feedback and change throughout the process is essential to improving it.

I know what you are thinking.

If I keep going back allowing re-evaluation and revalidation my plans will never move forward. It’s going to cost me more and more resources in time and effort to complete my project. Are these two things true or are we just complaining or not seeing the bigger picture? At some point we have to produce and move on, agreed. As Larry the Cable Guy says we have to “git-er-done”. Crude, but true. With an “if it aint broke don’t fix it” attitude how do we ensure our plan is the best it can be? We can’t unless we check if it is broken in some way; along the way.

So how do we work it then?

Close the loop. This concept has long been used in scientific and engineering circles (no pun intended) to define systems that rely solely on themselves to function. These systems are designed to cycle back through their processes to provide data for their specific function. Another way to describe a closed loop system is one that relies on some or all of its output as input.

Ergo, one formula we all know and love and hate (really). Garbage In = Garbage Out.

This may be a somewhat simplified formula but it get’s the point across. So, therefore we can use a system of feedback and testing to allow us to improve our ideas as we progress which helps to avoid stagnation, repeating errors and allows the best solutions to rise to the top. What’s cool is that the method of conceive, believe and achieve actually works very well in a closed loop system.

How do I figure that?

Well, we all know that our plans, ideas and concepts, in their simplicity, will generate complexities (more about that here). So, what do we do to close the loop? Evaluate challenges that change the intent of the original ideas. Simple, but true. Wouldn’t it be better if when we move forward to implementation we cycle back to the conceive phase to evaluate the roadblocks barring the intended plan? Revisiting challenges, cycling back through the ideas, retesting and evaluating belief may not save your project immediate resources (time, effort, cost) but in the long run what’s more valuable is the improvements you will realize in the results. The results will surely save you resources in the long term.

Essentially, closing the loop is the only way to know if your belief actually works.

  • Design it.
  • Get feedback.
  • Revisit it and correct it.
  • Implement it and discover the challenges.
  • Rinse and repeat.

 So, what’s your take?


About rdopping

interior design guy who loves other stuff; social media, photography, film, food and anything that is good for the growth of the self


2 thoughts on “What do MMA, Fate and Design have in common?

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