Learning to push your limits is all in the mind.
The mind is something we often sell short. Today’s society tells us that we always need to be happy and if you face any sort of hardship, it’s okay to give up. Choosing to stick it out even when it gets to be too much can feel impossible. How can we push our breaking point further and further away?
When I think of tough people, I think of Navy SEALs.
Brandon Webb, Navy SEAL sniper and author of “The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America’s Deadliest Marksmen,” explains, “There is a common [misconception] that to make it through SEAL training, you have to be a super athlete. Not so. In its purely physical requirements, the course is designed for the average athletic person to be able to make it through.”
Hearing this should open everyone’s mind to the fact that we can all do more than we ever thought possible. Whether you are a student, a CEO or the average 9-5 p.m. worker, this type of toughness is already inside of us; it is just about teaching ourselves that we can go much further.
“What SEAL training really tests is your mental mettle,” continued Webb. “It is designed to push you mentally to the brink, over and over again, until you are hardened and able to take on any task with confidence, regardless of the odds — or until you break.”
Pushing ourselves into this mentality is no easy task. But, if we can access this type of mental hardness, just think of the otherwise impossible things we could accomplish.
Navy SEALs live by these rules to be the most mentally sound elite fighting squad.
- Eat the elephant: When we are going to take on a seemingly impossible task, like eating an elephant, we must cut up that task into small parts that are much more attainable, completing small task after small task until we finish the whole elephant.
- Visualize success: Visualizing victory puts positivity into the brain. If we say I am never going to get through this, we set ourselves up for failure and we will be miserable the entire time.
- Emotional control: Do not get emotionally hijacked. Take a breath — breathe in for four seconds, out for four seconds and repeat for four minutes. This simple technique is used by Navy SEALs when they are in some of the highest stress situations.
- Nonreactivity: We cannot control everything, and not every situation is worth a level 10 reaction. Our reaction to situations is within us, not subject to anything else.
- Small victories: Being positive about the smallest of things will get your mind on track even in the worst situations.
- Find your tribe: Humans are innately social. Even the most introverted person still likes to be a part of a group. When we feel connected to people and have people there for us, we can conquer a lot more than we could on our own.
These tips and tricks are great to memorize and use throughout our lives to get our minds on track. But when bullets are flying and you are in that dark place, it comes down to your own psyche. Are you willing to push past the overwhelming things in life that make you want to quit? The way to reverse the soft, comfortable nature in our society is to push the point where we break further and further away.