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
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 [unclear 00:01:55] 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 [unclear 00:02:06] to the target or you can swim the five miles in the
ocean or whatever; you know, whatever you need to do, given your
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...
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
Ari: ...and I needed something that was harder...
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?
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
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 [unclear
00:04:51] 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
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 [unclear 00:06:54] 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
Ari: Sure, ok. So, and, and then I'm just sort of—as a sort of side [unclear
00:08:07] 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
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[sic] 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
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.
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.
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—
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
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
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
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.
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 [unclear 00:21:08] 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
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.
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
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
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 everybody 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
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 negativity 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
anything, 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!