This past winter, I spent months training for a marathon in March. My goal was to beat my previous personal best of 3 hours and 57 minutes. Based on my past races, I knew the last 5 miles were the hardest, so I increased my training to reach 25 miles in order to prepare.
During one run, I came really close. I was 23 1/2 miles into my 25-mile run, but I was in bad shape. When you’ve been running for that long and you get a muscle cramp in your leg, it feels like a snake bite. It’s an insane sort of pain that feels like you’re dying. At that point, I kind of started hallucinating. For a second, as I passed a car someone had left running so it could heat up in the cold morning, I seriously considered jumping in and driving myself home.
When I reached the end of that road, I could’ve turned left and gone home or turned right and finished the last mile and a half. I turned left and went home early. Not long after, I successfully ran the full 25 miles, but the memory of quitting early that day still haunts me.
‘Motivation is crap.’
David Goggins is the Navy SEAL behind the 40 Percent Rule — the idea that when you feel like you’ve given it your all, you’ve really only given about 40 percent of your energy. Your body still has a lot left in the tank; it’s your mind that’s holding you back. Recently, I read his book “Can’t Hurt Me” which explores his incredible life story and how he became the man he is today.
There’s a lot I loved about Goggins’ book, but one thing that really stuck out was how quickly he bashes the idea of motivation. In fact, he introduced the book by literally stating, “Motivation is crap.” In order to lose 110 pounds in three months, complete the
Navy SEAL Hell Week — twice —, and run the 135- mile Badwater Ultramarathon, Goggins developed something more powerful than motivation: mental discipline, or what Goggins calls a “calloused mind.”
In order to overcome your next great challenge, you must be willing to put yourself in situations that cause you to struggle. Victory is great, but it doesn’t force you to improve. Take the path of most resistance. It’ll beat you up, but each time you force yourself to take another step, your mind becomes stronger. Like how hard work creates calluses on your hands, mental discipline demands you go through struggle to callus your mind.
Business owners are the biggest quitters.
A lot of people looking to improve themselves physically are drawn to “Can’t Hurt Me” because it focuses on endurance athletics, but Goggins’ book is really about what happens when we don’t let ourselves quit early. This is why I think every business owner needs to pick it up.
Business owners and entrepreneurs are praised for not giving up when the going gets tough. However, once we get the business started, I’ve seen how business owners are tempted to play it safe and call it quits. If they launch a new product or try some new marketing that isn’t an instant success, a lot of business owners retreat back to safety. They trust the familiar and fear failure. But there’s no growth in your comfort zone. And when we let fear guide us, we fall into a cycle that can make what we fear come true.
Call me a honey badger.
I have learned that fear is the greatest enemy in life. Fear is part of a cycle that only leads to anger, guilt, regret, and pain. My friends call me “The Honey Badger” because I’ve worked hard to become a fearless person. There are things I’m afraid of, don’t get me wrong, but when I feel fear, I remind myself that it’s an inward feeling. The fear itself isn’t real, and acting on it doesn’t lead anywhere good.
Fear is a good thing to be aware of, but it’s not something you should focus on. Your perception becomes your reality. If you focus on what you’re afraid of in life or business, that’s exactly what will come to pass. Learn to recognize when fear is telling you to quit at 40 percent when you still have 60 percent left in you. It’s hard, but pushing past your self-imposed limitations is the only way to improve.
Never give up; never surrender.
You can’t strengthen your mind if you let yourself q