Insane Growth Podcast Ep #8: The Conor McGregor Mindset

In just 4 years, how has Conor McGregor gone from homeless to winning a UFC title in two different divisions and now going on to fight Floyd Mayweather as a boxer in what will be the highest-grossing Pay Per View event of all time?

A lot of it has to do with the incredible mindset he’s cultivated. This week I break down some of Conor’s quotes about mindset and psychology and talk about how we can apply them in our lives to help us build our businesses faster.

Audio Version


Hey. It’s Mitch Harper here and welcome to episode number eight of my Insane Growth podcast, which I’m calling the “Conor McGregor Mindset”. Now, if you’ve been paying any attention to sport lately, if you follow the UFC, or boxing, you’ll know that on the weekend, Conor McGregor is fighting Floyd Mayweather, as a boxing fighter, when he has a background of a MMA, Mixed Martial Arts fighter, in the UFC.

One of the really interesting things to me, about Conor McGregor, has been his mindset, and specifically how he’s used his mindset, in the UFC, now moving into boxing, which is new to him, to almost win in his mind, before he wins in real life, before what he thinks about, becomes reality. I’ve always found mindset and psychology very fascinating for entrepreneurs as well. I thought there was a good connection between what I’m seeing about Conor McGregor and his mindset, and what we can learn from that as entrepreneurs, and that’s what I wanted to talk about in this episode.

Now, I’ve got two good articles in front of me here on the laptop as we do this, with some good quotes. I’ve bookmarked these articles a few weeks ago. I wanted to go through some of those quotes, because I think boxing, UFC, running a company, they have a lot of similarities, strangely. And so, these quotes, I know for me, have helped me overcome, you know, some big issues and big challenges around mindset, staying focused, staying motivated, keeping the main thing, the main thing, and really, essentially having that inner self belief.

I like the way Conor McGregor thinks. I like his style as a promoter of his fights, right? He’s very out there. He’s very arrogant. That’s all a show. That’s very deliberate, to draw the media, to draw fans in. He does a great job of that, building his brand as the single biggest figure in fighting, which is his goal. Right? Whether you believe that or not it’s irrelevant. That’s his goal, and that’s what he’s working on. Some of the quotes and little snippets that I thought are interesting, they’re what I wanted to go through today. The McGregor mindset is obsessed with his craft.

The first quote is, “There’s no talent here. This is all hard work. This is an obsession. Talent does not exist. We are all equal as human beings. You can be anyone, if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that’s that. I’m not talented. I’m obsessed.” I thought that was really interesting. He puts in just, insane amounts of work. Right? If you follow him on Instagram, or watch some YouTube videos, he’s in the gym, 6am, 11pm. He just doesn’t stop. Right? Hard work beats talent every time. I’m a big believer in that as well.

The next one is really interesting. He uses visualisation. The quote goes a bit like this, “It feels great. It feels familiar. I saw it clearly. I swear to God, I saw it so clearly, so consistently, until it’s here in reality. I’ve been saying this a long time.” That was about his fight with Eddie Alvarez , to win the lightweight belt, if you do follow UFC.

The next one, he has total belief in himself. The quote is, “At the end of the day, you’ve got to feel some way, so why not feel unbeatable? Why not feel untouchable?” I think that makes a lot of sense. How you see yourself in your mind, becomes how you manifest yourself into the world. And so, if you believe deep down that you’re a winner … If, you believe deep down that you can build your business … If, you believe deep down that you can win against the incumbent … If you believe deep down, that you are as good as your more aggressive competitors, you will become that way. If, you believe deep down that you’re going to lose … If you believe deep down, that you’re not the best founder, and you’re not the best entrepreneur, and you won’t figure something out, then that manifests and your life, every single time. And so, I really like that quote.

So, another few good ones, he stays loyal. “I wanted to come over here to America, to show the American public, the new year of fighting Irish. I brought my whole country with me. We’re not just here to take part, we’re here to take over.” So, he’s done something very interesting. He’s aligned himself to, obviously the country where he is from, and he’s put the country on his back, which is what a lot of people do in sport, but not a lot of us do, as founders or entrepreneurs.

One really interesting way, that I think we can apply what Connor McGregor does to our businesses, is to take an underserved part of your market, and bring them along on the journey with you. Show that you’re doing it for them. Show that you and them are one and the same, and that every decision you make is not just to better you and your company, it’s to better that underserved part of your market as well. That’s a very compelling, and a very powerful approach to marketing, that plays on psychology, and tribe theory, and group mentality. If there’s a part of your market that feels underserved, and you say you’re doing, and show =, and actually do everything for that part of the market, they will bond to you and resonate with your company more so than they will with your competitors.

A few other interesting things that I found as well. McGregor has mega amounts of motivation to train. It takes over your mind. This is a quote. “It takes over your mind. I don’t sleep. I train all day and when I get home, I often shadow box in my room.” At the end of a long day, what do most entrepreneurs, athletes do? They relax. They play Xbox. They unwind. Connor McGregor goes home and shadow boxes.

You know, I remember once meeting John Wall, from the Washington Wizards. I said to him basically, “You know, tell me about your training and everything that you do.” He … I’m paraphrasing, but he said that he trains three or four hours a day, and then spends the rest of the day hanging out with his friends, and playing Xbox. That was a really interesting mindset to me, where compared to someone like Kobe, or Lebron, who are in the gym, first thing. They’re in the gym again at night. They’re practising their shooting. They’re working with their coaches, their nutritionists, their diet. That’s obsession.

Not knocking John Wall, but I didn’t feel he had that obsession. That was maybe three or four years ago. I think that’s an interesting, kind of, two viewpoints, where Conor McGregor’s all in, every minute of the day, so is Kobe, so is Lebron. Whereas, John Wall’s, kind of view on that, at least back then, it may have changed, was that … He compartmentalised his day, feel like. There is a time for training, and time for fun, whereas Conor McGregor’s all in.

Another few things. One thing McGregor uses clearly uses well, to boost his motivation, is having long term goals. Used properly, long term goal setting has been found to boost motivation by 12 to 25%. His quote, really simple. “You shouldn’t be in the UFC, if you haven’t got the title in your thoughts.” Basically, what he’s saying there is, you shouldn’t be competing, unless you’re aim is to win, and I completely agree with that 100%. Now, win can different definitions for different people, in the UFC it’s [inaudible 00:07:06]. You either have the title, or you don’t. In life, as an entrepreneur, winning can mean, having financial freedom. It can mean working when and where you want, with who you want, building the kind of company you want to build. There’s a lot of different ways you can interpret winning. Right? Which is why I love building companies.

McGregor also has a vision of what these goals will look like, and he visualises it coming true. His quote is, “When you’re in the struggle, it’s harder to visualise. When you can do that, that really makes the law of attraction work.” Now, whether you believe in the secret, and the law of attraction … You know, I’m not here to say, “I do or don’t.” I actually don’t believe in the secret and the law of attraction. I believe the harder you work, the luckier you get, which is kind of the same thing. Right? The same outcome.

Really visualising the end goal, you wanna get to, especially when things are hard, especially when things aren’t going as you want, especially when an employee that you knew you love, has resigned, especially when you go to raise money and the investor pulls a [inaudible 00:08:04], especially when a competitor comes out with a much better product than your when you didn’t expect it. When you can visualise the ultimate end goal, in that state … When you’re at the bottom of the rollercoaster, then you become unstoppable. Unstoppable, because you have … You built that rock solid mindset, where you can get through anything.

I think Conor’s a really good example of that, of someone outside of the entrepreneurial context. Four years ago he was homeless in Ireland, or in Dublin. Right? Now he’s at the pinnacle of the fastest growing sport in the world, which is UFC. Now, he’s moving into boxing as a newbie, taking on, arguably, one of the best boxers of all time, within that short four year time frame. I mean, that is insane.

What does Conor have on his side that everyone else doesn’t? It’s his mindset. Yes he’s genetically, probably talented. He works harder than everyone, but he’s got this mindset that take him to that top one percent in such a short amount of time. That’s why I really like, kind of following him, and reading the articles, and watching the YouTube videos about, not his fighting style and how he talks about knocking Floyd out within four rounds. I think it’s two rounds now. It’s his mindset that underpins all of that confidence, where he sees something in his mind, long before it happens, and then he makes it so in reality.

Another interesting quote was on his resilience. “Sticking to long term goals, and overcoming setbacks has been shown to predict elite levels of success.” Midway through the fight with Max Holloway, Conor took a serious injury to his knee. When injured, many athletes go through physical and emotional pain. However, Conor’s mindset allowed him to see the situation as challenge, and here’s a quote, “I wasn’t afraid. I knew I could conquer it. Georges St-Pierre conquered it, when he busted up, or broke his shin. That was a big inspiration for me. I saw how he conquered it, and I spoke to him. I also had a competition. I was always asking, how was George doing? Where am I at?” He was comparing himself relative to GSP.

Probably the final one is around his confidence. Confidence is one of the strongest predictors of winning in sport. There’s no doubt that Conor is confident, but there are many aspects of his confidence. There are three key areas, which Conor McGregor seems to use to his advantage. First, he has a growth mindset. Right? The similarities between sport and entrepreneurship are just amazing. I think this really solidifies that.

Number one, he has a growth mindset. Number two, he keeps excellent body language. Right? 90% of communication is non-verbal. That’s why I’m actually recording this podcast on the video, which you can watch on my Facebook, or YouTube page, because 90% of communication is non-verbal. If you’re just listening to this on iTunes, or SoundCloud, you can’t see me moving my hands, looking at the camera, moving around. Right? 90% of communication is non-visual. Number three, he uses visualisation effectively, which is, essentially I think, the foundational idea that he sees things happening long before they do. Therefore his subconscious or unconscious mind guides him, and helps make the decisions that get him to arrive at that ultimate outcome, becoming a reality. There’s very powerful, psychological undertones in the way that he thinks.

I’m not gonna go through everything in these articles. If you want these articles, I’ll post them on Facebook, so just go to When I post this video, I’ll put the links to these articles that I’ve been reading, and that I’ve favoured, under there so you can have a look at them as well. Really, the mindset of someone like Conor McGregor, I think is the key takeaway that … You know, for me, motivates me, excites me. Right?

Four years ago, he was homeless. He came into the UFC. Besides one loss in eight years, he’s done everything he said he would. He’s the champ in two different weight divisions. He’s moving into a new sport, which is boxing. And now he’s about to fight Floyd Mayweather. Sorry. One of the best boxers of all time. Now, whether Conor wins or loses, he’s stacked the cards in his favour. For him right now, he’s got a big focus on money, and being financially secure. I don’t remember what the numbers are, but if he wins … Sorry, not win. If he wins, he makes a huge amount of money. If he loses, he makes a huge amount of money. Right? He’s built up the media and the hype around all of this.

I honestly believe he thinks he will knock Floyd Mayweather out. Floyd Mayweather, I think actually believes that he will lose as well, if you look at some of the interviews he’s done this week. Either way, it’s the mindset that propelled Conor McGregor over the last four years, to do what most fighters never do in their career or most athletes. If they do, do that, it’s like a Kobe, or a Lebron. It takes, you know, five to 15 years to have that body of work and that level of success under them. Again, there’s a lot of comparables between how the best elite athletes think, and how they train themselves mentally to what I believe we need to do as entrepreneurs, to build our businesses, to make an impact, and to get everything that we want.

That’s why I wanted to spend this entire episode, just talking about Conor McGregor’s mindset. It’s worth researching, and worth watching some of the videos about him, if you haven’t already, regardless of weather you like him as a person, or not. Regardless of weather you watch the UFC, or boxing or not. Regardless of what you think about MMA. The mindset that he’s cultivated in the last four years, is just phenomenal. I think he’s just getting started.

So, anyway, that’s episode number eight of my Insane Growth Podcast. Thank you for listening, if you’re on iTunes, if you’re on Sound Cloud … By the way, we put everything up on Sound Cloud last week, so if you are an Android user, you can go ahead and subscribe on Sound Cloud. If you’re watching on my Facebook page, or on YouTube, thank you very much. If you’re on my blog, or on Medium, or Linkedin, or we post this, thanks for watching.

If you found it useful, please go ahead and share it. Make sure you subscribe to my podcast, either on iTunes, or on Sound Cloud, or on YouTube, or follow me on Facebook, or Twitter, or Medium, or Linkedin, or wherever you happened to find me, and be listening or watching me. Thank you for all coming on. I will talk to you guys next week. Until then, go out. Kick some ass, and take care. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

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About Mitchell Harper

Mitch is a 7x company founder, advisor and investor. He is best known as the co-founder of BigCommerce. His companies have generated over $200,000,000 in total revenue and he is currently building an online education company and a SaaS company.

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