If You’re Losing Now, but You’re Winning Late…

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I just finished watching Season 4 of La Casa de Papel yesterday.

For those of you who don’t know about this series, La Casa de Papel is a Spanish Netflix series about a group of robbers who wear a red jumpsuit and a Salvador Dali mask with city names like Tokyo, Berlin, etc. as their code names.

Their mastermind, called the Professor, sets things up in such a way that the robbers appear to be the “good” guys fighting against the system. In principle, the Professor bans the robbers from killing hostages or members of their enemy (i.e., the police/military force).

On the other hand, the police end up appearing to be the “bad” guys to the masses due to their own poorly made decisions, though such decisions are often products of the Professor’s calculations and tactics.

The Professor is generally ready with all sorts of backup plans for when things fail because, after all, there’s no such thing as the perfect plan that will never fail. If you anticipate that there will be errors and how and when such errors might occur, the chance of you winning will be much better. Hmm, that sounds like BJJ…

This show is entertaining because pretty much every robber character (or simply… every character) makes “wrong” decisions influenced by human-all-too-human emotions. So, they end up being in a disadvantageous position temporarily. But as far as the robber’s side is concerned, the Professor often has some genius backup plan and comes to the rescue so they will be able to back on track and win big later.

“If I’m losing now, if I’m winning late, that’s all I want” is a line from La Casa de Papel’s theme song.

It turns out, this mentality (going for long-term gains rather than short-term gains) is essential not only for money heists but also for BJJ and frankly for everything else.

I often mention the importance of developing your skills in your BJJ training. It’s nice to get a tap from your training partners and avoid being in bad positions. Still, if you just keep going after short term feelings of “winning”, then you are likely to be getting in the way of your own skill development, because you are probably not trying enough to work on expanding your offensive and defensive arsenal. It’s generally better to prioritize long-term gains so you will keep growing and indeed become much better in the future.

This applies to skill development in any other area. You can definitely start with some easy targets, but you should be moving on to slightly more difficult targets over time.

Drinking too much. Eating junk food way too much. These things may give you some short-term pleasure, and that’s absolutely fine if your consumption is occasional and moderate, but if you are continuously chasing short-term gains that come from excessive drinking/junk food… your health will suffer in the long run. But if you make some efforts to stay healthy by taking consistent action (which may mean less fun in the short run), you will win in the long run for being much healthier than your peer.

Anyway, no need to sacrifice all the fun and become a BJJ machine, but…

Make sure you will win in the end even if it means you lose many times until then.

p.s. It would be helpful to reflect on what it means for YOU to win in the long run in the game of BJJ.