Nick Drossos: “Be loyal to yourself, and stay committed to your passions”

The ability to nurture flexible thinking is a monumental cognitive tool. Predominantly, I can now take my mental game to a new level when faced with calamity. I perceive it as an opportunity for self-enhancement and evolution, not an obstacle. For instance: I have trained my mind to identify fear as an opportunity for physical, […]

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The ability to nurture flexible thinking is a monumental cognitive tool. Predominantly, I can now take my mental game to a new level when faced with calamity. I perceive it as an opportunity for self-enhancement and evolution, not an obstacle. For instance: I have trained my mind to identify fear as an opportunity for physical, mental, and spiritual growth, not a deterrent. I systematically run through potential obstacles, anticipating my reactions; this allows me to boost mental strength, permitting adaptive responses to challenges.

As part of my series about prominent entrepreneurs and executives that overcame adversity to achieve great success”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick Drossos.

Globally distinguished as one of the most prized self-defence experts, and founder of Nick Drossos Defensive Tactics, combining a plethora of reality-based defensive tactics for civilians and police and military. Nick’s self-defence instruction, fitness intelligence, and raw life experience are an impeccable connection of both mind and body. His renowned YouTube channels, Nick Drossos Defensive Tactics and Code Red Defense exult over 500K subscribers and over 100 million views. Sought after for his warrior-like physical prowess and his gift to propel motivational greatness — the sky seems to be the limit for Nick.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for this incredible platform! I hope to offer a dynamic narrative that will inspire Thrive readers.

My backstory, most indicative of boyhood strife, is one of provocation and will. Bullying and intimidation defined my childhood experiences. Fear and distress were ordinary. It’s decisive to share that my challenges were not confined to the schoolyard or neighbourhood lanes — home was also synonymous with affliction.

As I matured, my self-worth and emotional well being were compromised, with bullying perpetuating shame, anger, and trepidation. Other definitive obstacles emerged from an educational system that slighted me while contending with a learning disability and frail morale. Having never completed high school and diagnosed with ADHD, and Dyslexia opportunity seemed forlorn.

I could have been disillusioned, modelled delinquency, or conceded that I would never prevail in society — I chose otherwise.

The catalyst putting me on this career path was the tenacity and the grit developed through rigid physical training, most notably martial arts, followed by a devotion to fitness.

I was nine years old, and I can still see a younger me — walking past the Martial Arts gym on my way to school — never conceiving what would transpire. Never aware that upon entering its seemingly massive door that year, life would change forever. My empowerment had set in motion.

Practicing Kung-Fu, Sil Lum Hung Gar, trained by the Wong Brothers, masters in the expertise, I felt myself an apprentice with a steadfast devotion to the traditional discipline. After several years, I extended my training to include Tae-kwon-Do and Mixed Martial Arts. On my path to proficiency, I instinctively discovered how pivotal ‘conditioning’ was in martial art instruction and self-defence.

My focus evolved into a reality-based self-defence system, earning me certification in Krav Maga. The premise of the authentic combat scenarios and experience would eventually become the spearhead defining the symbolic techniques of my success. With an exclusive and meticulous system, execution of deliberate practices, I have established a dynamic footing in self-defence coaching.

Can you share your story of when you were on the brink of failure? First, take us back to what it was like during the darkest days.

There is a segment of my life, which still provokes a susceptibility within. It’s a memory that I realize today is quite vital to my story. Having just separated, I had executed a plan to move out and into my own home, but arrangements fell through. My training studio became my new local. Merely days in, main water pipes erupted, creating a flood and an abundance of damage — much of it irreparable. Anything meaningful was destroyed. Creating even more angst was the loss of my gym and my livelihood attached to it. Although it was a time of adversity for me — the memory is no longer threatening. It’s what one refers to as a defining, life-changing moment.

What was your mindset during such a challenging time? Where did you get the drive to keep going when things were so hard?

My mindset…I reacted instinctively — on emotion. Anger surged as I endured what seemed like a personal injustice; I blamed the world, succumbing to a tantrum that lasted 48 hours. Once the toxicity expelled from my system, I assessed a game plan — I hit the drawing board. I realized that without a strategy, I would perpetually fail to control my thoughts or actions.

I began to write…Analyzing where I was, what was happening, establishing what I needed to do ‘that very day.’ For the next few months, I forged a plan for the present, contemplating which ideas would help me achieve success and which objectives needed to be abandoned — a powerful exercise in character and grit. At 13, I worked along with my dad, cleaning; there were bills to be paid. During that period, I grasped the merit of hard work, self-discipline, and accountability. I also developed courage and recovery strategies, which I eventually deemed invaluable.

Tell us how you were able to overcome such adversity and achieve massive success? What did the next chapter look like?

I always begin with the present moment, more definitively, the practice of being mindful. I endeavour to define what is real, in contrast to what I have conceived in my mind, most often — without justification. I find it pivotal to create a breakdown of all the events that lead me to this point, scrutinizing my situation. I evaluate best and worst-case master plans and advance — objectively having deliberated a plethora of outcomes and conceived viable solutions.

We are braving an unprecedented crisis; the Covid-19 pandemic being the most extreme adversity of our time. Despite its detrimental global impact, my present chapter has aligned with my intentions and aspirations, relying on skillsets spawned by adversity. I trust that what we are often given in life is to prepare us for what we are about to become. I am blessed.

Based on your experience, can you share a 3 actionable pieces of advice about how to develop the mindset needed to persevere through adversity? (Please share a story or example for each.)

I believe that in exploring the development of our mindset, the focal point becomes that of resiliency. Passion and motivation are essential components that ultimately influence the cultivation of what I refer to as grit. Many factors conceive my tenacity, as there are a plethora of elements that could defy adversity.

The ability to nurture flexible thinking is a monumental cognitive tool. Predominantly, I can now take my mental game to a new level when faced with calamity. I perceive it as an opportunity for self-enhancement and evolution, not an obstacle. For instance: I have trained my mind to identify fear as an opportunity for physical, mental, and spiritual growth, not a deterrent. I systematically run through potential obstacles, anticipating my reactions; this allows me to boost mental strength, permitting adaptive responses to challenges.

Conviction is another way in which to foster a healthy mindset. Trusting in oneself and one’s purpose spawns a motivation to push through and actualize your goals. Fear of failure is a huge deterrent.

Tenacity promotes confidence to incite action, propelling you to make bold moves and take chances. More often than not, my willingness stemmed from a disregard for the conventional or safe.

My success, quite honestly, is correlated with an unwavering desire to take risks. When I decided to institute my personal training business, my circle’s reaction was medicare if not failing. The collective perception discouraged the peril of losing the stability and accomplishments I had already achieved. Today, I am grateful that I honoured myself enough to listen to my voice, follow my instincts.

Consistency is another choice virtue which stimulates momentum and produces results. I am resolute in expressing how invaluable hard work and drive are to success and personal fulfillment. I advocated everyone to stay the course under any circumstance. Being consistent allows you to establish familiarity and awareness. In launching my brand, or determining my practice, I acknowledge the dynamism of loyalty and commitment to myself and simultaneously my clientele. I have earned my loyalties by steadily committing to my word and to a decisive extent, new and evolving business initiatives.Trust from consistency will guide your business to grow.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Quite often, our successes ensue from our trials or afflictions, and more often than not — we are not mindful of this. It’s a revelation we don’t initially recognize until we examine the catalyst for our decisions and judgments regarding the path we will follow. For instance, — a combative childhood devised my path to triumph. Still — it would be unjust not to acknowledge that my success also relied on my sister’s unshakable loyalty. In grappling personal conflict, I admit, she has been the one constant and most reliable figure in my journey, the most significant influence of all time.

Georgia is quite heroic! My sister’s protective instincts ensured I was taken care of…she met my basic needs with maternal virtues — I was, I am, so very grateful. Both a pillar of strength and compassion, she encouraged ambition and independence, empathy and courage…She is my ally for life.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am perpetually trying to take action. I’ve adopted a solid mindset in which I trust myself to push through and effectuate my goals; coaching, and instilling a lifetime of courage and optimism. My approach embraces both strength and heart, raw and powerful discipline of the body, mind, and spirit. With a book in my future — “My Dyslexic Life,” I hope my narrative will stir something marvellous within — propelling you, and others, to create your best life.

After two decades, I am inspiring clientele on an international level, my expertise actively coveted by police, the military and security personnel. Most recently, I trained the defensive tactics instructors for the Boston Police Department. They earned certification in my Edged Weapons Defense Instructor Course. With a facile and holistic approach to my lessons, many have professed their experience as life-changing. It’s a valuable sector concerning my personal ambitions — this choice enterprise has been nothing less than exciting and rewarding!

I am also elated to announce that I have partnered with The Graceful Warrior Project on self-defence, a foundation for battered women. It’s an honour to be included in such an influential global mission, as they help ‘rewrite traumatic situations.’

The project raises funds to build a shelter in the Congo that empowers women. Their humanitarianism is essential and compelling. Along with raising donations, I will teach the initial class in self-defence upon completing the shelter; I find the mission extraordinary.

The team grasps the impact of empowering these women to feel safe and secure. The practice will arm them with the expertise to protect themselves and augment their confidence — truly impossible without our support.

My long term aim is to create a sanctuary on ‘my’ beautiful island of Santorini, Greece. A place where people from all corners of the world may come together and become the healthiest version of themselves. Diverse coaching in fitness, self-defence, nutrition, and meditation will ritualize self-care in the most idyllic setting. This haven will become a clean retreat, and a wellness experience, to rejuvenate and naturally empower you.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Being recognized as someone who could affect…create an impact, is an honour.

My movement would be defined by a vision for a positive school climate, promoting resiliency; integrating children’s self-defence into our institution’s physical education programs.

Statistically, bullying transpires once every 7 minutes on the playground and once every 25 minutes in the classroom; one in seven Canadian children aged 11 to 16 are victims of bullying. There are many detrimental effects on health and behaviour, as the oppressor and the bullied. That said, I would aspire to empower our kids through participation in self-defence classes that put them in control of both their present and future.

Although tangible protection from physical attacks would be the critical incentive, conceptually it would embed a system that would also give merit to developing tenacity, self-discipline, respect for oneself, and others. It is very pertinent, reflecting on how paramount it is to teach children to value inclusivity and the beauty of diversity to create a more peaceful world.

Safeguarding that transcends the paradigms of physical defence, is an intrinsic part of self-defence is teaching. It is a proactive sensibility towards danger — more explicitly, awareness.

Propelled by aggression, we must recognize that preventing victimization demands a collective perception — what emanates from this form of trauma will define them well into adulthood if not thwarted. We see today, an indulgence of reactive vs. proactive behaviour in society, even more so than ever.

Any parting words of wisdom that you would like to share?

One of my many mottos is to Settle for nothing less than greatness. It conditions my mindset, to always be working on myself, and creating the best life I deserve.

Be loyal to yourself, and stay committed to your passions — despite their level of extraordinary. Know that in doing so — battling adversity will always be par for the course, but it should never stop you from your pursuit of excellence.

Our mindset will always determine our thinking, and our interpretation determines the actions we take. When Philosopher Frederich Nietzsche affirmed, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”, it became a powerful narrative about surrendering to adversity and embracing the imminent chaos of life.

I also have an indispensable opportunity today to acknowledge how fundamental it is to practice gratitude, even more so as we delve into the theme of adversity and the power to regain perspective after feeling conquered.

There is always something that merits grace. Gratitude creates not merely a healthy mind but a healthy heart. There is a powerful connective between gratitude and personal strength, and it’s a compelling way to regain perspective after experiencing defeat or hardship.

I see receptivity and honest gratitude as a valuable means to inspire new solutions and propel one’s motivation to achieve more. I try and commit to this exercise daily, even if my reflections may seem diminutive — it’s an approach to life that everyone could benefit from and thrive.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Web Site:Real World Self-Defense – Nick Drossos
The Nick Drossos Self-Defense video library gives you access to exclusive videos, fight analysis, premium courses…

Youtube Nick Drossos:Nick Drossos Defensive Tactics
Thank you for subscribing to my YouTube channel! My name is Nick Drossos and have been teaching Personal Protection for…

Code Red
Learn Self-Defense ► Are you prepared to face a dangerous attacker and survive this type…


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Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Thank you and take care!

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