Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I never tried. Where would I be? Would I have ever left my home town? What if I had never taken the advice to just make it to my next meal? There is only one thing I’m sure of, that moving forward is better than looking back.
Sounds nice and all but, what happens when you cannot get out of a slump, you may be depressed, anxious, have PTSD, TBI, etc. You’re left there thinking did I ever have the drive to accomplish? If I did what was the situation?
The problem is we all have bad days, things that never really work out. You have been told, guided, and sometimes even given detailed directions on how to get somewhere. Only to have the destination, leave you in the middle of nowhere at a gas station, with little to no money and a small hope you’ll make it home.
But opportunities are all around us, what you perceive is your true reality, it’s not anyone else’s version. Well, that’s good news, that means I’m in control the whole time, we should all be unstoppable. If we can think it we can create it, even if the Pinterest picture looks wildly more perfect then our version, we still created it, right?
It is inevitable we sit and compare the Pin to our creation and right on cue, the little voice in our head starts to ramble negativity. “Wow this looks hilarious,” “What were you thinking?” “I have to eat all these things before anyone see them.”
I’m sure we have all been there, excited to create and then ultimately disappointed with the result in the end. Would you consider this a failure? Yeah, I would. I know the tide is shifting on not saying something is a failure, and instead, call it growth or progress. I can agree failure is an opportunity for growth and/or progress but only when you take responsibility.
Don’t be afraid of the word failure. It is a powerful word that is much more suited to kick off a mental fiesta of learning and exploration. But it starts with taking responsibility.
I know what your thinking, when you think of failure all your mind wants to do, is say how stupid you must have been for even starting. The last thing on your mind is a party. Remember the little voice? The little voice is little, but it can make your greatness little. Because if you succeed too much, it won’t get as much time to spend with you. So sad little negative voice.
Now what I want you to do when failure is present is acknowledge the failure, and acknowledge your thoughts. Say something like I acknowledge this failure and my negative thoughts and I’m here to learn from this. Try it now, think of a situation where you failed and say the phrase above. Go ahead I’ll wait….
Seriously do the last exercise it will help you and the rest will make more sense.
DO THE ABOVE THEN CONTINUE
Cool right, it’s like your brain went from nuclear critical mass, evacuate the city mode too, hey the suns up and I’m eating my favorite meal.
This may be a tall task and it will not happen overnight but the best thing to do right now is, make a commitment to yourself to take responsibility.
When I went to BUD/s I was a young dude with nothing but myself to worry about. I had a hint of what I was getting myself into but I liked taking the stance of ignorance is bliss during this time. I was severely out of shape, running 4 miles was like asking me to run a marathon in under 2 hours. 2-mile open ocean swims no problem, but can I do it with plenty of breaks? A resounding, No. Oh, and by the way, there was a standing requirement to run a 4 mile timed run every Monday and a 2 Mile open ocean swim every Tuesday. Good news for me.
It just seemed impossible, and needless to say I got a lot of extra attention for my less than benchmark efforts in the beginning. A lot of people around me were quitting, and it seemed so easy to not take responsibility and allow the little voice to give me an excuse keeping me small.
There were times when the voice was close to succeeding, but there was a turning point in BUD/s that altered the course of my life moving forward.
I’LL PUT IT SIMPLE
One week before Hell Week. If your unfamiliar with what Hell Week is, it is a 5-day stretch that encompasses a lot of physical activity, only 3 hours of sleep during the 5-day span, yelling, quitters ringing bells, and in the end, roughly 80% of your class has packed up and quit. Sounds fun right.
Okay, so one week before Hell Week and my class and I are sitting in a classroom awaiting our Master Chief of training to brief us and give a pep talk about the week ahead. He drew a line on a whiteboard. The line represented our life timeline. He put perpendicular tick marks on the line to indicate significant days and events in our lives. He then marked Hell Week.
Guess what the tick mark was the same size as every other tick mark. Nothing about it was different. Isn’t that crazy, something so major as this event. Hell Week it is the right of passage event and it received the same size tick mark.
He went on to say so how are you going to get through this, what’s your strategy? Some students raised their hands but he never called on them, it was rhetorical. “I’ll tell you one thing,” he said, “Go to your next meal.” You are going to have some dark times out there, mind-altering, brutal times with nothing, I mean absolutely nothing to look forward to, and you’ll be cold wet and tired the whole time.
But I can guarantee you one thing you will have to eat and if you need a glimmer of hope to pull you through. You can look forward to your next meal. Because when you’re there eating you can enjoy, if only for a moment and reflect, reassess, and then re-engage.
YOUR NEXT MEAL
Nothing about this is hard to do, there are certain points in everyone’s day where they have a chance to recalibrate, learn, and re-address. But it all starts with your commitment to responsibility. You didn’t do anything wrong, you are attempting to create something amazing sometimes doesn’t work out. Maybe because there is something to learn. Or maybe it was never for you in the first place, but what you learned during your failed attempt will help you directly in what you are meant to do.
Couple things about this talk, the size of the tick mark signaled to me that yes it is an important event in my life that is worthy of a tick mark. However, it is no more important than any other tick mark I have had before. Sometimes we give things to much power or view it as something more then it really is supposed to be. You stop before you start, the little voice gives you the excuses necessary. But then you take one step forward and realize people do exist on the other side and it is possible, so why not me?
Towards the end of BUD/s training my swim buddy and I were some of the fastest swimmers and runners in the class. Completing the 7-mile open ocean swim in enough time to make the record swim plaque.
This talk changed my life, it gave me a new sense of clarity and energy. Things I saw as monumental or impossible became achievable. Now when someone said, “You’ll never make it,” I thought to myself watch me and would take the first step instead of hesitating.
TAKE A LEAP
If I would have never taken the leap into the military, went to BUD/s and became a SEAL I would have never received that talk. I would have missed out on a mind-blowing, get out of your own way speech. Sometimes you have to jump into the darkness with a smile on your face, with the best intentions, learning as you go. If only to receive one trinket of knowledge that will help you throughout the rest of your life.
You want a better life, but are you willing to do the work? Not everything will be rainbows and unicorns. Failures are part of the game, and you can only grow or progress from these failures if you take responsibility and learn from them. You cannot grow if you don’t seek out the knowledge. Just as you will never get stronger, faster, healthier or more agile if you never run, workout, eat right or stretch.
Your mental strength, mental capacity, and mental ability are the exact same in every aspect. They have to be trained by you to get the desired result. Having a healthier mindset will gain you more happiness, money, opportunity, and fulfillment. Because you’re doing it your way.
If your life goal is to be miserable and always feeling like you will never amount to anything, by all means, do that. But the universe didn’t put you here to limit yourself.
IT’S INSIDE OF YOU
However, if you know your true life, the one that has been eating away at you, crying out for you to open the door so it can get out and express itself, is inside and you want it to come out. Good news, you are in for an exciting new chapter. Open the door, start moving in the direction you feel deep down inside, not what your head feels, what you feel all the way into your spirit.
It is okay to be scared and I guarantee you will feel light as a feather and free for the first time, by just taking the first step. I want to help, check out my Mental Strength Training geared specifically to you achieving your true greatness. You know what? You might as well check out my 10 Steps to Mental Strength as well, it’s completely free and will get you going in the right direction.
Now take action, take your first step, and go to your next meal.
This is so empowering!
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