(read time: 4 minutes)
“You are in danger of living a life so comfortably soft, that you will die without living your full potential.” – David Goggins
How does that make you feel? Does it catch your attention?
The truth is this is my biggest fear.
When you’re a kid your path is by and large pre-scripted for you. For the most part, what you do relies heavily on your environment, on the rules society puts in place, and your parents.
But when you are an adult you carve your own path and create your own lifestyle.
There is a lot of pressure attached to creating a path and a life. What should we be doing? How should we be spending our time? How do you know whether you are creating a path that is developing you in the most optimal way?
I tried putting off real thinking about my path for as long as possible. I graduated from undergrad, tasted a dose of the real world and then went right back to grad school.
I think part of the reason I felt so uneasy without a preconstructed path, was because suddenly, it was difficult for me to measure “excellence and achievement”. Because of this, I looked to society to define excellence and achievement for me. At the time, every decision I made, had to be validated by an institution or brand. In other words, I let American society dictate my life direction and the way I chose to spend my time. This was my substitute for asking myself the right questions, understanding my core values, what was important to me and why, and defining success on my own. In reality, I should of done this for myself.
Upon deeper reflection, I realized that the real questions I were concerned with were these: Was I capable of more? How do I create a life where I am pushing my limits and living up to my full potential? What does that life path look like? How do I measure progress?
I realized, I was concerned with true growth.
Measuring progress and growth in the “real world” post-constructed path was disorienting.
It was as if I was a runner, who understood what her best time was for the mile and constantly judged her performance against it, but then all of a sudden I was expected to switch to mountain climbing. With no previous experience or knowledge or understanding of what my baseline was, it was hard to determine whether I was performing well.
Throw prestige into the equation and measuring progress is even more disorienting. It is easy to get caught up collecting accolades. It’s glorified. It’s celebrated. Most people become comfortable and satisfied. Some begin to view the trophy as the accomplishment and they don’t go out and DO. Few go out and create change. Some stop pushing themselves. Many become distracted. They become trapped by their concern of other people’s opinion of them. It’s a slippery slope.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading a book by David Goggins called “Can’t Hurt me”. Essentially it is his autobiography. Goggins is a retired United States Navy Seal, ultramarathon runner, and triathlete. In the book, Goggin suggests that the human mind is capable of more.
Goggins who dropped 100 pounds, just to be able to qualify for seal training, endured three Navy Seal BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition Seal) training sessions. He failed the first two times. He pushed himself through running on broken legs to get through his last training, where he was finally awarded with the Navy Seal title.
David Goggins believes in a term that he coined the 40 percent rule. That is, most of us give up when we’ve only given about 40 percent of our maximum effort. He says “even when we feel like we’ve reached our absolute limit we still have 60% more to give.”
Goggins raises a great question. How many of us are taking our potential to the grave?
More importantly, what can you do to change that NOW?
Goggins suggests that the way that we live our fullest potential is to push our limits and explore what we are capable of. Once you understand the rule he believes “it’s simply a matter of stretching your pain tolerance, letting go of your identity and all your self limiting stories so you can get to the 60 percent, then 80 percent and beyond without giving up.” If you do this, Goggins believes, “you will unlock your mind to new levels of performance and excellence in sports and in life and your rewards will run far deeper than mere material success.” Although Goggins likes to participate in ultra marathons, he explains that this mentality can be applied to different types of challenges.
So, I ask you, are you a zombie? Addicted to comfort? Stuck in a victim mentality?
If you are, pushing your limits in the anecdote. Want to accomplish more? Wake up earlier. Want to work out? Do it!
No excuses! We are all capable of more.
Subscribe to our Newsletter to be notified of upcoming posts!