How to Be Tough Like a Navy Seal
Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from.
Agent Smith, The Matrix (1999)
Our bodies need stress. Our minds need stress. Our spirits need stress.
Yet we are seduced by the fantasy of a life of ease and comfort.
Our bodies, minds, and spirits don’t respond well in such environments.
If we don’t encounter enough discomfort naturally, we will seek it out.
And so, we have ultra-marathon runners, mountain climbers, and Navy Seals.
They take on these challenges for the thrill of accomplishment. But they also make themselves immune to the minor discomforts, inconveniences, and difficulties of everyday life.
One of the greatest benefits I received from playing sports was the knowledge that I could endure much more pain and discomfort than I thought possible.
Here is something that has never been said by a Navy Seal ever:
“Sorry, Commander. Yesterday was my leg day, so I can’t climb the mountain for the attack. But if you need someone to load weapons and munitions in the choppers, I’m your man.”
The more we expose ourselves to voluntary suffering the less we experience involuntary suffering.
We become tougher physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Voluntary suffering increases our stress threshold.
The ordinary trials we face no longer seem so daunting.
When we come across real difficulties, we can reframe them as adventures and as opportunities to grow stronger.
We are not likely to take part in midnight jungle assaults.
But we might find public speaking, the risk of embarrassment, and social awkwardness to be overwhelming challenges.
We can overcome the tyranny of these anxieties.
By exposing ourselves to manageable doses of these challenges, we can become stronger and more confident.
Even when we are surprised by involuntary suffering, we can reframe it as if we had chosen it.
We can endure much more than we realize. Voluntary suffering makes us aware of that.
We become confident in our ability to handle challenges, stay calm, and solve problems.
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