In my last post I wrote about my state of mental weakness. I have been lacking firm opinions, deferring decisions to the last minute, easily getting distracted, giving up on things I plan very easily, etc.
Before when I had a stable job and home I was able to get away with this. But, now, gaining mental toughness and emotional resiliency is becoming increasingly necessary.
Another way I can describe my current state is that I am simply in a limbo state. I don’t have a clear purpose, I’m not offering the world anything of value, and I don’t have a sense of where I should live or what my life should look like. Not only that, but I am also falling into an “analysis paralysis” while trying to figure this all out.
To be able to get myself out of this limbo state, I need a sense of direction. And, to get that sense of direction, I need focus and a methodical way to explore the possible directions I can go. And, to get focus, I need mental toughness and emotional resiliency.
A few days ago I came across a great book: 8 Weeks to SEALFIT: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Unconventional Training for Physical and Mental Toughness
The book is inspired by principles from the Navy Seals, Sun Tzu, yoga, and ninjutsu. So far the underlying philosophy in that book resonates with me a lot. It sees physical training as a catalyst for mental toughness and emotional resiliency.
The training in this book is certainly not easy. It’s been very physically demanding the last few days. Here’s an example training I did yesterday and today:
- 5 rounds of:
- 20 airsquats
- 20 burpees
- 200 jump ropes
In addition to intense physical training, the book is emphasizing “the warrior mindset”.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu
“Pain is weakness leaving the body” – Navy Seals
I started seeing training as a battle. Not only should I prepare the body, but I should also prepare the mind. Here are three steps of mental preparation I do prior to training:
- Clear the mind. I eliminate distractions and focus on the task ahead.
- Know the “why”. I am doing this not just for the physical fitness, but for improving my mental toughness and emotional resiliency. I need both to help me explore and get a sense of where to go next in life.
- See victory in the mind, and practice for it. I imagine myself finishing the workout in perfect form in my head, feeling it as much as possible.
The first time I did this workout, and halfway through the first cycle, my first instinct was to immediately cut my goal from five cycles to three cycles – the burpees were just too tough! But, sticking with the warrior mindset, I plowed through it. I won that battle, and several other battles since.
This process of mental preparation is definitely helping me and is something I want to inject not just in physical training, but in anything challenging I intend to do.
I plan to continue with the SEALFIT training, as I am getting a lot of benefit out of it so far.
And, today is my birthday! I’ll be spending some time tonight with the family and tomorrow at dawn I head to Madrid. The MIT reunion is coming up!