Today I got to Interview Mark Divine from SEALFIT. I hope you enjoy it!
Ari: Welcome to The Art of Less Doing. My guest today is Mark Divine, who is the founder of SEALFIT.com; is someone who I've personally been wanting to speak to for a really long time because I've been a fan of a lot of things that he's done; not to mention the fact that I really wanted to be a SEAL for a long time until those kind of plans got derailed. But Mark had an interesting start: he was an accountant for the first part of his life before becoming a SEAL, and then since then, he's basically accomplished every feat of bad ass-ness that I can imagine. So Mark, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Mark: Well, Ari, it's—it's a pleasure. Thanks for having me on your— your show (or whatever you call it here). Ari: A pod—yeah, a podcast; a show is fine. It's really an honor to speak to you. So, let's talk about SEAL Fit first of all. So what—tell everyone what SEALFIT is. Mark: SEALFIT is a training program that approaches physical training from both an internal and an external standpoint, understanding that, you know, to be—to operate as if, you know, at the level you need to operate as a Navy SEAL; or, you know, if you're a civilian (like yourself, Ari), to operate at that level in whatever domain you train or work in. That—a good function of that is mental training, or mental performance, so we use physical training to kind of bridge the gap between mental and physical. The training itself focuses on, I'd say, six primary domains. Developing strength and stamina, so that you can carry your load and, and be useful to your team. Developing work capacity, which is, you know, akin to, you know, the ability to work intensely for shorter periods of time (you know, the horsepower of your engine, so to speak), so that you can do those, you know, really intense things that need to get done, such as a firefighter fighting a fire; if you're an athlete or warrior athlete; or you know, getting through really challenging moments in life. Also, to develop endurance, you know, so you can go for the long haul: you can to the target or you can swim the five miles in the ocean or whatever; you know, whatever you need to do, given your particular situation. And durability, right? You need one—the aspect of durability that we like to train is just to ensure that you don't break, and if you do break, you understand how to work around the injury and you know, don't let it sideline you entirely. And then the sixth is mental: we want to develop that mental toughness so you don't quit and you stay in the game; you stay focused and alert and present, and you're able to be a good teammate and, and leader. So it's a fairly comprehensive training program, it—we do embrace, you know, several methodologies, but we innovate and adapt and work with, you know, what works for us. Ari: Sure, ok. So that's a—that's a great overview on it, and just, like forty-five questions have been flying through my mind...(laughs) Mark: Of course! Ari: So, I—the idea of forging mental toughness, which is what your, your, your sort of subheading is: forging mental toughness... Mark: Right. Ari: ...is, is really fascinating to me, particularly because one of the things that I'd, I'd talked about when I—when I gave my TED talk about overcoming the Crohn's, was that the Crohn's was the hardest thing I'd ever dealt with in my life... Mark: Right. Ari: ...and I needed something that was harder... Mark: Right. Ari: ...in order to give me some perspective, which is—which is sort of why I went towards, like, Tough Mudder, Spartan Races, Iron Man stuff, you know. Because I felt like I needed to go even beyond what I thought was the hardest thing I'd ever experienced, so there's a—there's an obvious thing there about stress inoculation, right? Mark: Right. Ari: So, how—I mean, how do you know the difference between just pushing someone too far, or what is—maybe there is no "too far," but like, how—how does someone know, or how do you know, as a coach or as the external force: what's too far and what's healthy? Mark: Well, there's a—there's a heavy dose of self-assessment involved in, you know, challenge, right? So, as a coach: we'll get a good sense of where someone is at based upon their life experiences and their mobility and their ability to handle, you know, the load in—you know, even just a single workout: we can really kind of assess pretty quickly where they're at; and with that, we're able to kind of assess what their, you know, what their capabilities are. Let me give you an example: for instance, in Kokoro camp, which is our fifty-hour mental toughness camp, is modeled loosely off of Hell Week, which is the SEAL's, you know, three hundred and something hour nonstop training event (which was, you know, one of the most challenging things that I had done in my life). Ari: And you were ranked number one in your class for that, right? Mark: Yes, yeah, and, you know, and a lot of the tools that I teach through SEALFIT to Spec-Ops candidates and other, you know, warrior athletes and are—are, you know, drawn from that experience, you know, kind of sifted and filtered and tested on a couple thousand, you know, Spec-Ops candidates over the years. But, yeah that, the challenge: when the challenge comes, you know, you have to be able to both self-assess and be aware of when you're approaching that red line, right? Or when you're, you know, when, when the pain becomes— you know, moves from what I call "integrating pain," which is the type of pain that, that makes you stronger, right? That pain is weakness that makes you stronger. When we say that, we're talking about "integrating pain": is the pain of suffering—good suffering that, you know, you know it's not injuring you, but is, is a push-through moment. And if you're—if you're sliding towards "disintegrating pain," which is going to be a breakdown, like a physiological breakdown or even a mental breakdown; then, you know, we—obviously, self-assessment, you know, will want to throttle back, but also the coaches will understand where that point is. And then, you know, the, the magic in the training is to bring someone to that precipice and then teach them how to jump over it, and not just let them fail. And that, that's where the magic happens, which is pretty neat to watch. Ari: And, and so, clearly, it—it sounds like—and, I mean, my belief as well that, that a majority of this IS mental. Mark: I would think so; this could—it really don't known. It's different for everybody, but, you know, easily eighty-percent is mental. You know, there's such a—you know, one of the things we train is that the mind is, you know, they have a much larger concept of mind, and I'm sure you've, you know, have this, or you embrace this approach. But, you know, we don't look at the mind just as this little organ in your brain-housing group; but your mind incorporates, you know, the functioning of your heart; your belly, which is the seat of your intuition; and it wraps all around you, and so to, to disconnect your body from your mind is silly. You know, it's Western reductionism. And so, you know, to truly where your body leads your mind and follow, or your mind leads, your body will follow: you gotta train them, you know, side-by-side and simultaneously as if they're part of the same, you know, same operating unit. You know, just like you wouldn't be able to operate your computer without the, you know, the operating system; and you can't operate the operating system without the computer. You know, they go hand-in-hand, so you gotta train them together. Ari: And, and, now you—so you obviously, I mean, well I think this is what you're saying, is that your, your approach then is mainly from the physical point of view, right? So it's really pushing people to their physio limits to tax their brains as well. So— Mark: That's the SEALFIT program. Ari: Right, I know; of course. Mark: In SEALFIT, we use the physical to take people to the precipice, and then we cross them over; and in that crossover, we find— they find mental strength, mental development, as well as emotional resiliency; and they—they're able to tap in their intuition, what I call your Kokoro Spirit. That's your merging of your heart and mind. And then, in my UNBEATABLE MIND program, I literally approach it from the opposite end of the spectrum. I approach it from the mental training: the mental, emotional, and intuitional training, and as people get more and more into that, then they kind of take on some more of the physical challenge; and ultimately, the two programs kind of meet in the middle. It's really fascinating. Ari: Sure, ok. So, and, and then I'm just sort of—as a sort of side I'm curious (and, and forgive me if this is me taking something from movies too literally) but, there, there is an element of training in the military at the high levels for, for anti-capture—like, if you're captured to not to give up information on it. Mark: Sure. SERE School of Rights. Ari: SERE School of Rights, right. So, that kind of training, where it is more mental (where, you know, you're not being allowed to sleep, obviously; or you're not—you know, you're denied food, for instance): how does—how does that level of mental toughness, or that kind of training compare? Or is it really the same thing? Mark: Well, I would almost, yeah, say that that's physical training. I mean, to me, it is largely mental but you're using, you know, you're—you're taking away physiological necessities: you're taking away food and sleep; and then you're adding, you know, mental stress, through either harassment and through the fear and, and the un—you know, discomfort as well as you know, the unknown, right? The constantly changing circumstances; and so, all of a sudden, because both your, your—those things that are you’re physiologically and psychologically accustomed to, those things that you hang your hat on, are completely stripped away from you and so, life gets very confusing very quickly; and that's how they break, you know, someone's who in capture. And so, the SERE training (which stands for, you know, "Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape") is to—is to develop resiliency so you have some kind of expectation and understanding of what's coming. So not unlike Hell Week (Hell Week is six days), this one's meant to simulate combat, so that you have—you know, those who make it, you know: of the hundred and eighty guys in my SEAL class, you know, literally nineteen graduated. And so the nineteen of us made it—who made it, knew that we, you know, could—we had each other's back, right? We were brothers, you know, who had forged that bond of brotherhood in the, you know, the sweat, tears, and sleep deprivation of Hell Week, so that when, you know, the shit hit the fan, we knew we weren't gonna—now, my buddy wasn't going to drop us, left us and run: I mean, he's going to be right there, side-by-side; you know, had my back. You know, the funny—I was—not funny—but I was just at a showing, an early showing of the movie, "Lone Survivor" last night, up in L.A. for the Navy SEAL Foundation (it was a fundraiser), and, wow. Man, I was humbled; I only spent twenty years in the SEALS (and I know Marcus Luttrell personally), but now, just so humbled by the—the level of intensity and sacrifice that those four men went through on that mountain; and they would never quit! They wouldn't quit because they were brothers; I mean, they loved each other and they fought for each other, and—God, the movie captured that so beautifully. But anyway, so that's what the training does, is to give you the sense that, Hey, you know, you've been there before (at least some snapshot). It's like a crazy, you know, mental benchmark workout (not unlike doing a CrossFit benchmark): you've been there before, you know what's hap—what's coming, and so just hit it hard and see how it goes. Ari: Yeah, it's a really interesting way to frame it; and since you brought up "Lone Survivor": did you happen to see "Active Valor"? Mark: I did, yes. Ari: Ok, so—I don't know what you thought of it, but I thought it was amazing; and one of the things that struck me was a very particular moment and for a specific reason, where: there was a guy on a pontoon boat basically, and someone—one of the SEAL team members shot him; and he fell off the boat, and there was another SEAL member in the water with his hands out of the water and just caught him, so he didn't make a splash. Mark: Right. Ari: And there was—it occurred to me that it's like: not only is that like, a level of training, but there's almost like a “hive mind” functionality that takes place once you get to that level. Mark: That's true; very much so. I talk about this in—in my book that I got coming out called The Way of the Seal. How, when I was operating—you know, once, once you get through all that training: the training is, you know, beat down and you know, they break you down and build you back up. And so the first two years of a budding SEAL's life is all that type of training. But then, you go into a, a platoon, which is part of a task unit; and so, for eighteen months, and for a lot of guys, it's, you know, just cycles over and over and over and just work. I saw a guy this weekend who had—he had like thirteen deployments in thirteen years; now some of them was—some of those were obviously short, you know, quick little plums. But it's crazy the amount of operating that's been going on in the last, you know, ten years since the war, you know, war footing. But any rate, so eighteen months together with sixteen guys. And much of that time is in total silence and it's—and it's really, you know, operating on the razor's edge of the unknown; and so, when you operate like that, and you're sharing that risk and that experience: it's, you know, the intuitional intelligence that is innate in all of us just like fires up, and you know, there are moments where literally, we could go for hours in my platoon on a hump, you know, to an objective. And we all knew what each other were thinking, and it's—slightest noise, you know, everyone would take the exact appropriate action at the exact same time, WITHOUT getting a signal from me, who was, you know, the leader. And many, many times where, you know, I would just have a look or a glance at my—you know, my second in charge or my chief petty officer, and we would know what each other were thinking with a, you know, raise of an eyebrow or something like that. So, it very is similar to—I've never heard the term "hive mentality" used in this context, but it felt like that, but in a good way, you know? Ari: No, I totally mean it in a good way, yeah. Mark: Right. Ari: I mean that at like the point where it's almost like a higher level of conscience that, that, that allows you to communicate on that, that, that level. Mark: Right. It's like independent operation but the ability to click into that matrix and kind of work at that level, you know, at a level that's unseen and unknown to most people. It's fascinating; and I know they're starting to study it a little bit: they just commissioned a study in the Navy to test intuition. They have a lot of EOD guys in, you know, who are coming back from the war saying, "You know, I—as I was approaching; they're walking down the road, and all of the sudden, you know, I got this strong sensation to stop, and the next footstep there was the IED, you know they would have stepped on and—this happened to me a few times, both in and out of the SEALs, and so I really believe in--in this idea that, you know, we have this latent intuition or intelligence of, of the subconscious and you know, connection to some sort of universal consciousness, and that we can develop it and, and use it, you know, for good, hopefully. Ari: Well, and there's a—I mean, I know that there's been anecdotal stories of people saying how they, they felt when a sniper had, you know, put their scope on them; or felt when they—there was a missile lock on a, on a— Mark: Right. Ari: Yeah. But, although that—I almost feel like that's less, sort of out there, because there—the idea that we sort of project energy out of our eyes, right, is not crazy. Mark. Right. No, it's not, and so if you've ever stalked animals, I mean, you know very well that you, you stalk a deer, you don't look at the deer, because as soon as you look at it, it feels your energy and will take off. So any hunter will know that that's true. So I agree with you; it's not that crazy. None of this stuff is really crazy; it's kind of—by everybody; it's just whether you acknowledge, and whether Western, you know, the Western Scientific Mind (the rational mind) will accept it and kind of work with it, or whether you want—whether it shuts it down. Ari: So, I mean, and I—I feel like I have talked to you about this for a very long time, but the, the thing that makes this so, so viscerally, like literally viscerally interesting to me, is not just about the Crohn's, but there's—you know, I deal with a lot of people with all sorts of inflammatory conditions, digestive disorders, and you know, chronic illnesses; and I—I see, time and time again, how stressed—and chronic stress just seems to be this, this major component; and what I've found is it doesn't seem like it's so much what happens to us in this stressful situation, right? But it's more how we come back from it, and how quickly we come back from it. Mark: Sure. I think there's two—there's two developments to stress, like you said. There's, there's the story that we tell ourselves about stress, right? Which hasn't changed in five thousand years, you know, so of course the physiological and psychological impact of stress is to trigger the "fight or flight" or freeze response, and our bodies haven't changed, right? That's pretty much, you know, that's handled by the, you know, the mammalian brain: everything is processed through the amygdala, and that's going to tell us: is it good or is it bad? Should we run or should we stay and maybe cuddle up, right? And—and so, and then—but, today we don't have tigers coming after us or you know, neighboring tribes as clubs unless you're in the military. And so, you know, but our body that still is wired that way, and so, you know: instead, it's going to look at traffic, you know, as a tiger; and it's going to look at over— overcommitted workload as the tiger; it's going to look at, you know, intense conversations, you know, fearful conversations as the tiger. Ari: Ok, we're back. We had a small technical difficulty, but Mark, you were talking about stress and how we don't have to run from tigers anymore. Mark: Right; and one of those tigers might be your computer shutting off. (both laugh) Ari: Yeah, right. Mark: So I handled it pretty well; I'm not too distressed. Ari: Yeah, me neither. Mark: (laughs) What I was saying is essentially, stress has a few components, you know: one is the story that the stressor is bad, right? That things are coming at us and it's all bad; and, what, you know, what I teach my students is a little pratna—PROCESS to really pay attention to the information that comes into you, both externally and internally; to witness it, and then to make a, a better choice, you know? So that we—you know, we develop a little space between the, the stressor or the impact of the stress; the thought that arises or the emotion that arises; and then there's this space, and that space gives you the opportunity to decide on your reaction. Now, this takes a little time to develop, but it's—it's immensely powerful when we do. So now we can decide whether to accept that stress or to transmute it into something powerful and positive. And then the second is: more active management, so that's very subtle mental management. The second aspect of stretch—stress and the way you can deal with it is to, to manage it; and I love where you're coming from with your program, because that's the —my first recommendation for stress management is to get really clear about, what I call "your one thing in life": what it is you're here for? Why, where you're driving for and how does that manifest itself right now in your life? And then to simplify everything else around you, just so you can focus on that one thing, you know, almost to exclusion. I mean, obviously it won't be to exclusion, but you really want to radically simplify your life, and I call that the "KISS" Principle: Keep it Simple, Stupid. Ari: Stupid. Mark: Yeah. And then the third is to then manage—actively manage your physiology and your psychology through breath control. And so I've—I have a practice we call "Box Breathing," which is about as simply as you can get, and it's one of the most profoundly powerful practices that once you learn, will literally rewire your physiology to literally, to be stress—“bad stress” free. And, yeah. So there you have it: there's my three-step process for managing stress. Ari: Yes, so now—and I want to point out to everybody, reiterate that you said "bad stress," so there is "good stress," and we can use stress as a tool, which is something that I've talked about before, and— Mark: Yeah, stress is not—stress is just stress. Stress is just a stimulus: it can be, you know, we call it "distress" if it's bad stress, or "eustress" is good stress, but you know, when I enter a SEALFIT workout, or you know, you recommend people doing Man Makers, they're adding stress to their body. Ari: No kidding! Mark: And then you, you learn to overcome that resistance, which is where you develop resiliency. Resiliency is about overcoming resistance and bouncing back quickly; and so the more Man Makers you do, the more easily you, and you know, overcome that resistance, that—you know, to that stressor. And then, you know, you grow from that: your, you boundaries are expanded. And, ultimately, you may come to enjoy a Man Maker. Ari: Right! Hey, that's true. So, so now—and, and that's, that made me think of something else, which I really would love to hear your take on. So, you—you know, we sort of went through this before but, you know, you were an accountant, which was probably one of the more stressful experiences of my college career was learning accounting; you've done multiple tours in some pretty bad places and you know, you've had all these experiences AND you're, you're a Ashtanga Yoga instructor as well. What—what is a "warrior" to you? Mark: You know, "warrior" is, is anyone who is committed to mastering themselves and willing to step up—willing to step up and lead others, right? So they take minds off themselves and put them on others; and that's—that's simple, right? The warrior's job is never done, and the warrior's never satisfied: they're always—is kind of like that, you know, that silly, you know, example of you know, the guy—I don't know where I saw this; it's probably in like "Three Stooges," where he goes to pick up—pick up the can; as he goes to pick it up, he kicks it. And so, the mastery, right? The "master", the "warrior" you know, wants to physically, and so he's always kicking the can because he's never quite there, right? There's always more. That's why we love SEALFIT and the CrossFit community and strength training, you know. Obviously your body will change as you get older, but guess what? You know, I have gotten significantly stronger in the last seven years and learned all sorts of cool skills, like muscle-ups and hands and pushups, that I was never doing in my 20s and 30s, and I turn fifty this year, and I feel stronger and better than I have, EVER, in my life. And I'm doing things I couldn't do as a twenty-year-old; and so, I'm always kicking the can physically and mentally, same thing right? There's—you're never really tapping into the full potential of the brain; I mean, it's estimated that we're all using about ten percent, and I think that where's you and our peers, you know, those of us who are trying to push the envelope here are helping people understand that we can crack the code and start to leverage, you know, all of our mental power and use it for good. And then, you know, so that's—that's—to me, that's what a "warrior" is: someone who's willing to master themselves, and then to take their eyes off themselves in that process, and start to help other people and expand that circle of who they're helping. You might start with one person; ultimately, you know, at the highest levels, it's going to be, you know, all of humanity. Ari: So, I love the idea of mastery of yourself, and it's, it's something that I—I've always really taken to heart. It's funny; have you— have you heard of "Zeno's Dichotomy Paradox"? Mark: No, but it sounds like I'm about to and I'm excited! (laughs) Ari: So, it's—it's an old, like Socratic—or not, not a Socratic; like Aristotle principle, basically saying that, to get—to get—yeah, so it's "Zeno (it's Z-E-N-O) Dichotomy Paradox", so basically: to get to any point, from one point to another, you have to get halfway there first. Mark: Right. Ari: But to get halfway there, you have to get a quarter of the way there; and to get to a quarter of the way, you have get an eighth over there. So, essentially there's an infinite numbers of tasks to go from point A to point B; and it's—to me, that's—I kind of think about that a lot when I'm always trying to figure out some way to get better. Yeah. Mark: That's brilliant! Yeah, that's brilliant. One of—one of the big four of mental toughness like, so: we—we push through and we're learning mental control to manage our stress, and breathing is one of those—one of those key things that we need to do: deep diaphragmatic breathing will, will kind of harmonize our physiology and our psychology. It's like a universal shut-off switch for, for the, you know, sympathetic nervous system or the parasitic nervous system; whichever one is the one that triggers the stress, and so, breathing is one of the big four mental toughness that I teach. The other are, essentially pos—positive self-talk or positive attitude and positive feelings: so I call that positivity. And then, of course, visualization, right: you gotta see it in your mind's eye. So essentially what I'm saying is: breathe into it, and then see it and say it to yourself, and then that way you'll believe, and your body will—your physiology and psychology will be aligned so that you can really believe it. But then in the action realm: you know, what leads to massive success is Zeno's Dichotomy, and I—I never knew it was called that, but it's what I call "setting micro goals," and those goals get smaller and smaller. So you have your big, your big target, which is connected to your "Why?" And you're moving toward that target: it might be a one-year target, or an eighteen-month target, or less. And yet, of course, you're not going to just, you know, work on that target; you're going to work on, you know, smaller targets that really line up to get you to that target; and then today, you're going to work on even smaller targets to get to THOSE targets; and right now, I'm working on even smaller targets to get to THOSE targets; and so, you just keep chunking it down, and that way, you can—you really never fail because you're working on these, these achievable micro targets; and now you're racking up all these micro victories and your sense of confidence and momentum builds tremendously; and you literally just cruise forward toward your goal, and you—you know, you achieve it well before you reach, you know, your set point. And it's a very powerful way to think: it's just to break things down into really simple, achievable tasks and just, just chew 'em up, one at a time. Ari: Yeah, and I—I couldn't agree more. I—it's so, it's so interesting for me to, to hear someone applying all these sort of methods in this way. So, the la—so, two more questions. The, the second to last question is: you mentioned this before as an idea, but you know, having that one goal, that one, one BIG thing: so, what is yours? Mark: My goal is: I actually have already articulated it in my definition of mastery. My goal is to—is to, is to strive to master myself, and then to inspire millions through—to master themselves through teaching and through my example and, you know, the other mediums that I can. So it's essentially to master myself and then to inspire others to master themselves as well. And of course, I include in that mastery the idea of service for everybody, not just for myself. That's, that's my one thing; hasn't always been my one thing, you know. When I first started thinking about these things was when I was a CPA; back then, I guess you can say that my one thing was making money and, you know, following the American, you know, corporate dream, and it was not fulfilling. And it was my Zen practice, you know, with my first martial art that really started to peel the onion on my, you know, subconscious and my belief systems; and what came out of that was, you know, actually I'm a warrior. I'm a warrior, you know, athlete and I'm a “warrior” warrior, like, I want to be a leader in a warrior discipline out fighting, taking it to the bad guy, you know, protecting, serving my country, that kind of thing. So that was the first manifestation of that. And as I've grown, you know, it's shifted to being a, you know, a leader, like a warrior leader, and then kind of more of a warrior, you know, philosopher I guess you'd say, which is pretty much where I sit right now. You know, we'll see whether—what's beyond, what's beyond that. Ari: Anyway, you know what I like about that, and it's something that I talk about a lot with my, with a lot of my coaching clients, is: your focus is on the journey (it sounds like)-- Mark: Yeah, it is. Ari: It's not nec—yeah, the goal IS the journey. Mark: Right, the goal's the journey and the whole point is about becoming a certain type of human being, and there is no such thing as perfect: there's only perfect practice and perfect training and perfect effort. And so we're working on that every day, you know; that's why, to me, training is, is so important. You know, in the book that I'm putting out in December: a lot of people are going to look at and think I'm absolutely nuts, because you know, I recommend this, what I call an "integrated training plan" along five mountains: physical, mental, emotional, intuitional, and Kokoro Spirit; and most people who train with me, when they first look at it, they say, "How can I fit this all in?" and I say, "You're already—you're already fitting it—a lot into your life, so what—what can you take away, and what can you weave this into?" Every physical training session can have all fi—a component of all five mountains in it; and so, start to train yourself in this integrated manner; then you accelerate your development, you know, and—and you really unlock some really un—some untapped potential. So, it's never a there—there's never a "there" there, like you suggest: you're always just growing and, you know, peeking over the next plateau, and then striving for that plateau, and guess what? Every plateau is a false peak when it comes to human development and human performance. We have no clue what the, you know, the potential is and what lays beyond the next ridge. Ari: Yeah, absolutely. So, the last question—I mean, I'd actually to ask about forty more questions, but the last question— Mark: (laughs) We'll have to do this again, Ari. Ari: The last question that I will ask—yeah! We'll, I—I would LOVE to have you back on the show, but the last question I always ask 15 15everybody is: what are your top three personal tips for, for being more effective every day? And I—you've already given us about twenty, but what are your personal top three? Mark: (laughs) My top three are to start everyday by connecting to your "Why?" And so, I have a morning ritual that I recommend my students and, you know, have them practice: it's really just the first—it's like kick-starting the engine of your life every morning. So, you know, how calm is it—common is it to just get out of bed and, like, pick up—pick up your iPhone? You know, grab a cup of coffee and pick up your iPhone, right? Or, or immediately launch into getting the kids ready for school and whatnot. That's common. But it's un—it's more uncommon to wake up and spend fifteen minutes or thirty minutes working on that operating system, right? And so, you know, I have a real quick practice which, essentially it covers all five mountains that I just talked about, and that is to check in with your "Why?" Like, what is your purpose in life? And how are you going to fulfill that today? How are you going to fill—you know, how are you going to move closer to it (I should say) today? So, you know, if your plan for the day is just to go play golf and that has nothing to do with moving you closer to your purpose, then perhaps it gives you an opportunity to readdress your plan, or to add something to it that's going to kind of slide the dial a little bit. And then, I have a gratitude practice, right? So, real simple, just a few minutes: just start to contemplate all the things that you're grateful for; and what that does is really begins the—begins to charge yourself positively and you know, there's no more positive feeling than gratitude and love; and so, we begin to, you know, basically, you know, tune our minds and our bodies positively. And then, I'll go into the third thing is go into a breathing practice: so I do—practice some box breathing; and now, go into a real short somatic practice, and mine is just a quick yoga: you know, five, ten, fifteen minutes yoga, depending on how long I have. And I'll end with a visualization, and the visualization is to, to see myself in my ideal state, kicking ass, taking names that day; overcoming all challenges and obstacles; and winning! So I win—I call winning in your mind before you enter into the arena. So, that whole process can take fifteen minutes, and you've already won. I mean, you go into the day and you feel great; your mind is tuned; your body's tuned; there's no way that stress or 16 16negativity is going to sideline you, and if it does, then you've got the tools to bring you right back on track. And you're connected to your "Why"; and every action—you know you got a space between the thought and the ac—and the reaction, so you can make good choices. And the sum total of your life really is made up of all those tiny, little choices that happen from moment to moment; and the—the color of the quality of the big choices dramatically, when those are good choices. So, those aren't exactly three things, but they're, they're certainly three embedded in this simple practice and, you know, you do it everyday. So... Ari: And what time of day does that usually happen for you? Mark: For me, it's, you know, around six in the morning; it, you know, I'm not so rigid (I used to be super rigid and get up at the same time, like 5:15 every day and work out and whatnot), but my training regimen is to wake up at, at 6:15 actually; and do my practice, and then, you know, either take my son to school or head off to the training center, where I have my, my SEALFIT training center and it's, to me, it's only seven minutes down the road—and then I train with my team from seven to nine, and do the SEALFIT Operator workout. Seven to nine everyday; and then from nine— Ari: I'm, I'm glad to hear that it takes two hours as well, by the way. Mark: Yeah, exactly! It's a ball buster; we love it though. It's such a phenomenal way to start the day: great, great energy, great stuff. And then I'll train again from nine to ten, doing mental training through yoga and, and Qi Gong and Tai Chi. And then, you know, I—from, from—you know, that's a lot of work and I don't expect everyone to do that, but I have this saying that I gotta "eat my own dog food," and you know, I have the opportunity to do that. I've worked very hard to develop, you know, this training model and this training center. And so, I train from seven to ten everyday; I don't take any phone calls: I don't take any meetings; and then af—from ten until six, I'll usually work, and I'll take a break in teh afternoon to do some more training for about a half hour, but I tell you what: I—it's unbelievable how productive I am after doing all that foundational work, you know. So it doesn't get in the way; if 17 17anything, it's it's really accelerated my performance and allowed me to accomplish some pretty, pretty neat things. Ari: Well, wonderful. Well, thank you so much for sharing those and, and everything else you've said. Where—so where can everybody find out about you, and about the book, and and anything else? Mark: Sure. Ok, well SEALFIT.com is the physical training program, and most—you know, you can find links to other stuff there. And then, UnbeatableMind.com is my mental training program that is really delivered kind of online. We have a couple thousand people in that program. And, TheWayOfTheSealBook.com is the book that is coming out December 26th. I'm really excited about it; it's been published by Readers' Digest and, they're—they're really excited about it. This book came out amazing, and it has a lot of the training that we've discussed, you know, in the book and it's going to be a really cool book. So that's coming out in December 26th; it'll be available everywhere: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and bookstores whatnot. That's called The Way of the Seal. Ari: Great; well now I'll put links to everything in the show notes, so again, Mark, thank you so much. This has really been exciting for me to talk to you, and and I hope that you'll be able to come back on the show again at some point. Mark: I look forward to it. I would love to have you as well be a subject matter expert to talk to our Unbeatable Mind community, so maybe we can have Michael set that up. Ari: Ok, great. Mark: Thank you Ari!