“When you think you’re done, you’re only 40% done. If you can train yourself to get past that initial warning of ‘I’m done’ from your brain, then you probably have 60% more in you.”
I first saw SEAL at a 24 ultra-marathon in San Diego. I was on a team of six runners who would each take turns running twenty-minute legs. The objective: run more miles than every other team in the twenty-four hours. It was a big social event and teams came from all over the country to compete and have fun.
Well, most did.
SEAL didn’t have a team. He was running the entire race . . . himself.
The event was low budget, really low budget. The entire course was set around a one-mile loop in an unlit parking lot near the San Diego Zoo. It was unsupported, meaning you bring your own supplies. Whatever you needed, you were responsible for. My team stocked up on bananas, energy bars, drinks and food. SEAL’s supplies for the 24 hour race- a folding chair, water, and a bag of crackers. That’s it.
Before the race, my team stretched and chatted with the other runners, but I couldn’t help but keep an eye on SEAL. He just sat there all by himself in his folding chair with his arms crossed waiting for the race to start. No stretching. No smiling. No teammates. He just sat quietly with a don’t-mess-with-me expression.
Once the race started I continued to keep tabs on him. Who was this guy? There was a magnetism to his fury. Underneath his scowl I sensed something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it was a sense of honor or integrity. Or purpose. Yeah, that’s it. He ran with a sense of purpose I had never seen before.
After the race I decided I had to contact him. I have always had this “thing” that when I see someone in the news or on TV that I find intriguing I reach out to them. It’s sort of like in second grade when you pass a note to someone and ask them to check “yes” or “no” to be your friend . . . only I now do it with really interesting people. So I cold-called SEAL.
After a short chat I decided to fly from NY to California where he was based and “officially” meet him. During our meeting it became increasingly clear to me that he had something I wanted. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew my life would dramatically improve with him around. So I asked him to move in with me (and my wife) . . . for 31 days. He agreed.
“SEAL”, as I call him in my book “Living With A SEAL,” is widely considered to be the toughest man on the planet both mentally and physically. On top of being an American hero, he broke the Guinness Book Of World Records for most pull-ups in a day. He did 4030 in 17 hours. He takes the term “no excuses” to another level.
I learned so many lessons in my 31 days living with SEAL, but what was really special was being able to get an inside look into a man that is so “driven”. Here are 5 specific things he taught me about “drive”:
When you think you’re done, you’re only 40% done.
This is one of my favorite “SEALisms.” There is always more in your tank then what your mind is telling you. If you can train yourself to get past that initial warning of “I’m done” from your brain, then you probably have 60% more in you. As SEAL would also say “control your mind, son.”
Find your motivation.
Drive comes from inside. Sometimes it is fueled by anger, competitiveness, sadness, revenge. Whatever it is that you need to make you better, tap into it. Exploit it. Push your own buttons to find that motivation and recall it when you need it.
Grit is a good indication of success. Seek out challenges that raise your grit factor. I try and sign up for one event a year that I don’t think I can complete or that I know will be miserable. Those events build grit.
Drive is contagious!
I found this out first hand living with SEAL. Just being around someone that is incredibly driven inspires you to want to do more. Surround yourself with people that are motivated in areas you want to get better.
Enjoy the pain.
While most of us spend our lives trying to avoid pain, SEAL sought it out. His belief is that you can’t possibly reach your true potential without sincerely pushing your limits. To get there takes tough challenges and pain. Enjoy it. Embrace it. The pain is a reminder of your hard work.
© 2015 Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler.
Produced in proud partnership with the United States Air Force