Mixed martial artist (MMA) Joe Taimanglo was a nine-to-one underdog last month when he went up against the undefeated Darrion Caldwell in Bellator 159. And certainly in the first two rounds, it seemed like Caldwell would sail to another victory, as he took down Taimanglo in each round, scoring points.
Taimanglo came out for the third round and noticed that Caldwell looked a little tired. This energized Taimanglo for what he needed to do: watch for the potential takedown and reverse it. So just nine seconds into the third round, Taimanglo saw his opportunity and took it, taking Caldwell down for the win on a forced tap out.
Taimanglo attributed his victory in part to his smile.
A Simple Formula for Victory
When asked about the upset, the “little boy from Guam,” said that he had a very simple approach to victory: “Talk smack, smile, and show up.”
Throughout the bout, talking smack kept him going. After he took the first takedown, he said to Caldwell, “You better not let me up or you’re gonna get it,” and the second time he said, “Good job taking me down because I’m going to get up right now!” Taimanglo attributes the power of smack talking as a sign that you’re unhurt and unbroken in spirit. To him, smack talking angers the opponent to work harder and lose control, which may have partly been responsible for Caldwell’s exhaustion in the last round, and the missed attack that gave Taimanglo the opening that put him on top.
Smiling can be an extension of showing an unbroken spirit. As long as you have a smile on your face, as long as you’re still having fun, your opponent hasn’t hit you hard enough and hasn’t really hurt you. Besides, smiling can help release endorphins that can act as natural pain relievers. As long as you can manage it, smiling through the pain is definitely good advice.
And, of course, showing up is both the easiest and the hardest thing. Just being at the venue isn’t really showing up. You have to bring everything you have: all your effort, all your energy, and all your focus. And in this way Taimanglo may have had an advantage. As the underdog he might just have had a little more ganas–desire–to win, and a little less certainty than Caldwell, which made him be more present than his opponent in the fight.
Actual patient of Dr. Young!
Do You Have a Winning Smile?
Of course, part of what’s important about Taimanglo’s smile is that it’s a winning smile, a smile full of confidence and joy. Commentators noted that he looked like he was having the time of his life in the ring. And it’s an attractive smile, not the sort of smile you’d attribute to a boxer, but the kind of smile that Taimanglo can show off with as much pride as he shows his muscles.
Confidence in your smile makes all the difference between a smile that says “I can eat you for breakfast,” and the smile that acquiesces and defers, the shy, apologetic, hidden smile.
If you don’t have a smile that you can show with confidence, maybe that’s the missing ingredient in your formula for success. A smile makeover can give you that winning smile so you can set your sights on your own shot at the championship in your life.