It's easy to imagine the lives of your idols as monoliths, trajectories filled with triumph and devoid of regrets. But of course, that's not how human lives go.
As our November 2021 interview with Rickson Gracie was winding down, we lobbed at him an oldie but goodie: did he have any piece of advice for a younger version of himself? Here's the first half of his answer:
"Oh, man, it's hard, because, you know?, I felt very present in my life; I felt like, at the time I was eighteen, I felt like plenty; I was absolutely right of my things at eighteen. I'm doing what I believe; I follow my heart; I follow my focus; I'm putting myself extremely focused and sacrificing myself for things I believe; I express myself on the edge of things, no matter if it was surfing, no matter if it's fighting on the street, no matter if it's competing in jiu-jitsu or teaching a class.
"So I have always a very happy and fulfilled life, and I didn't feel, at the time, regret or a need for anything. And if you ask me to advise an eighteen-year-old Rickson, I will maybe give advice to him, but he will capture this at twenty-five or thirty, because the advice I give to him now, I'd advise for him to get more experience, for him to be able to calculate his steps better.
"But without the knowledge, without the experience, he was doing fine.
"Like, my father looked at me, and, you know, the apple of his eyes are happy, because he admired me, my concepts, my life. So, I felt like I never regretted my mistakes; I learned from my mistakes; and I have no doubts: if I have to repeat everything, I will do it."