An evening with DDP

Motivational. Inspirational. And mind-bogglingly flexible.

Diamond Dallas Page broke the mould in the mid 1990s as the professional wrestler who started way too old and should never have made it. And some 20 years later the man known as DDP is still defying convention by popularising a new form of yoga that’s literally changed lives for the better.

On Monday 18th September I had the pleasure of seeing DDP in person, in London, at Bethnal Green’s Backyard Comedy Club.

He didn’t disappoint, regaling a crowd of largely hardcore wrestling fans with stories, anecdotes and even comedic impressions, relating to some of the most storied names in professional wrestling.

But also, in and amongst that – as has become his trademark in recent years – DDP wove into his narrative a deep and inspiring motivational meaning that could be applied by anyone to many aspects of life itself.

DDP on forgiveness.

Dallas opened the show with an emotional gut punch: a story about his relationship with the recently ill, and now thankfully recovering, Nature Boy Ric Flair. A man who, to quote DDP, “absolutely buried me in his book.”

This, from DDP’s own mouth was how their reconciliation went down:

We all have that one friend who we grew apart from. Where we look back and think… what the hell happened?

Well, I decided to fix it. I didn’t care who said what to who. I said to him, ‘Naitch, you said some stuff. I said some stuff. I don’t want to feel that way about you. And I sure as hell don’t want you to feel that way about me. Let’s start over.’

And then I put my hand out to shake his, and said ‘I’m Dallas Page.’

He hugged me so tight. He said ‘oh thank you, thank you brother.’

And then we went to the bar. And man, we got F’d up!”

Have you got someone in your life who you’ve lost touch with?

What would happen if you did the same thing as DDP?

DDP on mistakes.

On being asked about his feud with The Undertaker, DDP launched into an impassioned speech about learning from your choices:

It’s okay to F-up. It’s okay to fall down. It’s okay to make mistakes.

The important thing is, what do you learn from them?

I learned that sometimes you have to walk away. Sometimes when you have a really clear vision, you have to stick to it. That Undertaker feud was the one time in my career where I got a really clear vision*, and I allowed somebody else to sway me to the left.

But what I also learned is that there was a whole other agenda going on at that time. And it wasn’t about me. I learned not to take things personally. Whoever was in that top spot [coming in from a rival company] would have been treated that way. It wasn’t about me at all.

But I used that lesson. We have this show [in the US], Shark Tank. I think it’s called Dragon’s Den over here [in the UK]. They offered me a deal on DDP Yoga. I said no. They wanted control over everything. We wouldn’t have been able to market on Facebook, on TV, anywhere without their okay. But what I learned from [WWE Chairman] Vince McMahon, is: don’t let anyone control your destiny.

And you know what? We didn’t get a deal from Shark Tank. But after that show aired, my site made $1m in six days. Because I learned my lesson. I learned from my mistakes. I wouldn’t be standing here if I hadn’t.”

What mistakes have you made in your life?

What can you learn from them?

DDP on depression and helping people.

Sometimes what appears to be the worst thing to happen to you can be the best. I get down, just like everybody else. The difference with me is, I don’t stay there.

Every successful person you know has been down. They just don’t stay there. That’s the trick.

There’s a quote by Zig Ziglar, something like: ‘You can get whatever you want as long as you help people get what they want.’ That’s why I help people. Helping people is almost selfish, because it helps you. So find something you love. Something that helps people. And then find a way to get paid to do it. That’s what I did.

Never underestimate the power you give someone by believing in them. Never underestimate the power you give yourself by believing in you.

And you know, sometimes when things go wrong… it’s because you’re not supposed to get there yet.”

DDP on goals.

Look at it this way: anyone can do what you do. We all got goals. We all got dreams. You just gotta go after them.

People will laugh at you if you leave here today and come up with this dream. They’ll tell you you’re crazy. Don’t listen to ‘em. If you say you can or you say you can’t, you’re right. Who said that? Henry Ford. He should know.

On my WWE Hall of Fame Ring there’s an inscription. It says ‘Work Ethic = Dreams! DDP.’

It’s all about that story, that internal dialogue you tell yourself. I tell myself ‘This is gonna be the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m gonna inspire people. I’m gonna make them cry [with joy]. I’m gonna make them believe in themselves.’

It all starts with my breathing. I learned how to breathe properly. When you own your breath, you really start owning your life.

I live it. I own it. And so can you.”

DDP on positivity.

I took this video at the close of the show. It seems the best way to close out this article, too. (Please note: includes swear words).

What does your internal dialogue say?

What can you tell yourself more of (and less of!) to help you achieve your goals?

Final thoughts.

DDP is one of my personal favourite speakers in the self-help space. Specifically, because he’s completely unlike anyone else in that world.

Pro wrestling is a vicey and brutal industry. WWE events are a world away from the happy-clappy, “You can do it” atmosphere of, say, a Tony Robbins seminar. But DDP bridges the gap between the two audiences with humility, intensity and real tangible life experience. What other speaker could hold the interest of a group of wrestling fans with yoga poses and motivational messages?

They listened, because Dallas’ story is a triumph of working with what you’ve got, and not letting anyone tell you no. He identified opportunities, made smart decisions, helped people, and believed in himself all the way to the top.

I tend to think that if we can all do that in our own way, we’ll all do okay.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Interested in more from DDP? Check out the links below. In particular, to watch around 30 minutes of the show I attended, click here to visit the video broadcast on DDP’s Facebook Page.

All the best


Get started with DDP and DDP Yoga:

Credit for post header image: a cover photo taken from Diamond Dallas Page’s Facebook Page.
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