Mark Divine: Life Lessons From a Navy Seal & Developing An Unbeatable Mind | 180 Nutrition

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Mark Divine: Life Lessons From a Navy Seal & Developing An Unbeatable Mind

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy:  This week welcome to the show Mark Divine. He is an expert in human performance which is displayed in mental toughness, leadership and physical readiness. His work is based on an integral warrior-leader model that he developed and tested on over a thousand special operations candidates worldwide. The integrated training, which involves physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual training, has resulted in over a 90% success rate for the Spec Ops candidates. It is now taught to executives and corporate teams, tops sports teams, top athletes, professionals, first responders and warriors from all walks of life.

Mark is the founder and leader of several highly successful enterprises including SEALFIT (Physical and mental training), Unbeatable Mind, LLC (Executive Mastery Development), NavySEALs.com and USCrossFit. He also co-founded the Coronado Brewing Company in Coronado, CA.

Mark served as Adjunct Professor of Leadership at the University of San Diego and has authored four books: “The Way of the SEAL,” published by Reader’s Digest Publishing, “8 Weeks to SEALFIT” and “Kokoro Yoga” by St. Martin’s Press, “Unbeatable Mind” and the “SEALFIT Training Guide,” both self-published.

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downloaditunesListen to StitcherQuestions we ask in this episode:

  • I’ve heard you say the career change (accountant to Navy Seal) came from the silence. Please explain.
  • For anyone wanting to create change in their life and be their authentic self, what advice would you give them?
  • How do they ‘qualify’ someone to become a seal?
  • What is Sealfit?
  • You’re passionate about breath work. Why?

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Full Transcript

 

Guy

[00:00:30] Hey, everyone. This is Guy Lawrence, of course, and welcome to the latest episode, I’ll get my words out, of The Health Sessions, where we are connecting with leading global health and wellness experts every week to share the best of the latest science and thinking, and empowering everyone to turn our health and lives around. Our awesome guest this week is Mr. Mark Divine. Mark was exceptional on the show. It was a shame we just couldn’t get more time with him. What he has to say, there’s always so much wisdom and depth of knowledge there.

[00:01:00] Obviously we’ll get into with Mark, what he does and who he is, but the small synopsis version was essentially, he is an ex-Navy SEAL, but more important as well, what I was fascinated with Mark was his transition from being an accountant and actually wanting to be more congruent with who he was and what he wanted to do in life. He made that change and moved and became a Navy SEAL, and from there after the SEALS he [came on 00:01:01]. He’s written a couple of bestselling books called Unbeatable Mind, and The Way of the Seal. He is a sought after speaker for corporations. He also runs an Unbeatable Mind program and events and seminars. I’m certainly going to try and get there next year. We do discuss that at the beginning of the show as well.

[00:01:30] Essentially, Mark Divine has been there, done it, worn the t-shirt, and he practices what he preaches on a daily basis, and it’s no accident why he is so successful in every endeavor, but on top of that why he is so humble with it. It was a pleasure to sit down with Mark for 45 minutes and be able to share this with you today, guys. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy. I will mention that his WiFi for some reason dropped out at one moment, so we were in mid-flow of conversation and it dropped out, so we’ve done an edit. It just picks up the conversation again, so it’s still in the same context, but if you’re wondering what the hell was going on there, that’s why. You know why now.

[00:02:00] As always, guys, share the love if you can. If you’re enjoying our episodes, just simply subscribe to it, five star it, and if you can figure out how to leave a review, please leave us a review. Honest review, of course, if you’re enjoying the podcast, because it just helps us get the word out there and also get picked up internationally as well. Anyway guys, thanks. Thanks for listening, giving us 45 minutes of your [inaudible 00:02:21]. Did I say that right too? Anyway, oh my god, I’m going to have a meltdown. Let’s go over to Mark Divine. Enjoy.

[00:02:30] Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Good morning, Stuart.

Stu

Good morning, Guy.

Guy

Our fantastic guest today is Mark Divine. Mark, welcome to the podcast.

Mark

Hi, guys. Thanks for having me. Nice to meet you.

Guy

I appreciate it, mate. It’s a pleasure. Going off on a tangent as well, I saw you had the seminar last weekend. Is that correct, The Unbeatable Mind? How was that, by the way?

Mark

Annual Unbeatable Mind summit, which is like our tribal gathering. It was epic. Man, unbelievable.

Guy

Yeah, it looked amazing. I actually only discovered that a few weeks ago, and I thought, “Boy, I would really love to go to that.” I’m going to make sure that gets on my hit list.

Mark

[00:03:30] Definitely worth a trip. We’ve got some amazing thought leaders who come, and we do some great training. We integrate practice with inspiration with planning to make the next year amazing. That’s why we do it in December, which we acknowledge is an awkward time for some people, but we figure it’s important to do your planning before the end of the year and just really go in with a lot of momentum. That helps people to maintain that momentum, too.

Guy

Yeah.

Mark

It’s a pretty neat event.

Guy

Yeah, I have no doubt. Yeah, I was impressed with the lineup. Anyway Mark, look, we ask one question on the show to every new guest that comes on, and that is if you were greeted by a complete stranger on the street and they asked you what you did for a living, what would you say?

Mark

Well, it would be kind of awkward for a complete stranger in the United States to ask that. Usually they’re busy avoiding you [and avoiding 00:04:06] distraction [inaudible 00:04:07], but I would say that my passion is to train people to transform. What I mean by that is everyone’s got the raw material to literally transform themselves to do anything they want in life, and to perform at levels that are unknown to them today, and all the tools are with you right now. I can help you unlock that. That’s part of our training. That’s part of what I do. I love doing that.

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Guy

[00:05:00] Perfect. The more I’ve been delving and researching, Mark, I know you’ve sort of had your own transformations along the years as well. I think it’s easy to judge success and say, “Oh, it’s okay for them,” and not appreciate the kind of things that have to go on behind the scenes to make decisions that guide us through life. I was really fascinated that you spoke about a couple [accounts 00:05:00] on your own journey in life that were quite pivotal for you, because I know you started out as an accountant before you ended up becoming a SEAL. I was wondering, would you just mind taking us back on that journey a bit and sharing it with us? Because it’s very inspiring, and I have no doubt …

Mark

Yeah, it’s kind of an unlikely combination, isn’t it, to be an accountant and a Navy SEAL at the same time?

Guy

Yeah.

Mark

[00:06:00]
I think I’m probably the only one. Let me just say that we live our lives based upon the stories that we tell ourselves. When you’re young, and for some people, for their entire lives, they’re living a story that was kind of written and curated by their family and by the near social structures of their environment they grew up in, which might include things like church and high school football team, and some peers who bullied you or propped you up and gave you a big ego. Broken relationship or stunning relationships, whatever it is, those craft the stories, and in particular, our parents. Either their presence or their lack of, right?

Guy

Yeah.

Mark

[00:06:30] Presence. I was no different. The story that I grew up with in upstate New York was that we were a business family, we had a business that had been around since the late 1800s. There’s not a whole lot of those left in America, about a hundred. No, maybe a thousand, actually. It wasn’t so much stated that I would come back and be part of the family business or eventually run it, because I was the golden child, which was also not stated but it was very clear to me somehow, through the languaging of how my brothers and sister were treated versus me, and some of the actions that were taken.
[00:07:00]

 

[00:07:30] At any rate, to shorten this up so we have other time, I was pretty much conditioned to think that I was going to go into business and come back to the family business, and there weren’t really any other careers that were admirable to my family. I think a lot of people that are listening to this, even in Australia, are probably nodding their heads, saying, “Yeah, that’s true.” You know what I mean? If you come from a military family, that’s pretty much the thing. If your parents are doctors, then that’s pretty much the thing, or lawyers. There’s a little bit of a subtle story that’s written around that, and we need to break through to see our story and the role that is planning and shaping our lives, and I call that waking up.

[00:08:00] My wake up moments, I had a few of them, but the biggest one came when I was in Manhattan getting some formative training as a CPA. I’d gone to a good college and then got a job down in Manhattan working with Coopers & Lybrand, and then I shifted to Arthur Andersen. I was going to NYU business school to get my MBA, and training for my CPA exam, and working long hours, but I had stumbled into a martial arts program, and I met my first real mentor. This guy who was a zen master taught me how to meditate. It was a classic zen concentration practice. It was really the first time in my life where I had been taught to sit still, and to begin to pay attention to my thinking, and to begin to curate the quality of my thoughts.

[00:09:00] Through that process, and it’s a long process, as you guys are aware, it wasn’t something instantaneous, but over a couple of years I was able to begin to closely examine the thought patterns that were driving my behavior and my belief systems, and to understand the story that had led me where I was, and also appreciate that that’s not who I was, and that there was a different version of myself trying to emerge. I identified, through a process of discovery, that the emerging Mark was meant to be a warrior and a leader of warriors. When I began to investigate that, it led me down a path to be a Navy SEAL, and once I radar-locked on that, then boom, that was that pivot moment, the synchronicity. All of a sudden everything lined up, and boom, I was off to the races.

Guy

[00:10:00] Mark, I’ve got to ask you, mate. Sorry to interrupt. How do you step into that? If you have a) first of all, taken the time to start listening to your own story, and then you start and appreciate there needs to be a change come. I think a lot of people can relate to that, but then there’s also a lot of fear wrapped around that to actually make the change, because you’re stepping into a very unknown outcome when you’ve got a known outcome. Your path is laid out, you’re an accountant, you could be very successful and live a perceived happy life, but yet you’re going off. How do you overcome that, then?

Mark

[00:10:30] Well, it’s not easy. There’s a lot of energy, and in particular if we get into careers and get degrees and social feedback that’s positive, and I had all of those. I had an MBA and a CPA and lots of accolades, and people started to pay me pretty good money, but by taking the time, and this is a daily thing, taking the time every day to slow down and sit down. You don’t have sit down, but you could take a walk in nature, you can do something, but to connect with what I call sacred silence, to get into a … Let me say this, get out of your story mind.
[00:11:00]

[00:11:30] The story mind is your rational mind, your thinking mind, which is just one of the ways that our mind works. [inaudible 00:11:00] out of that and to let that just settle down, and to say, “Okay, thinking mind, I appreciate you, but guess what? I’m going to tell you to shut the f up right now, and I’m going to just relax and just see what comes up.” We get into what we call our perceiving mind, and that really is actually a different part of our mind’s system, a different part of our brain. We also get into our heart mind and our belly mind, and we begin to listen to the different seats of our intuitive self, belly, heart, and our insight center, and there’s a vast storehouse of information that we might call our wisdom.

[00:12:00] The wisdom part of us is pointing us the right direction, and so what I’m saying is that you’ve got to teach yourself to trust the higher, those internal voices, the instinct. I’m not talking about the internal voice that’s obsessive compulsive, saying, “Don’t eat this chocolate, eat this chocolate, don’t eat this chocolate.” I’m talking about a much deeper level. You know what I mean? Where you’re sitting in silence for 20 minutes and all of a sudden you just have this massive epiphany, like this, “Boom! A-ha,” knowing without knowing moment. You’ve got to experience that to trust it, and the only way to experience it is to either go out in nature or sit down on a bench and just meditate. When I mean meditate, there’s this very specific process, but let’s use that term generally now.

Guy

Okay.

Stu

Yeah. Wow.

Mark

[00:13:00] The more of those experiences you have, the more you realize that that’s the universe or your spirit telling you, “Hey, you know what? You’re going in the wrong direction, and we need to go in this other direction.” Bottom line, your life depends on it. What I mean by that is your whole life, the fullest life that you want to live, depends on you listening to that and courageously leaning into it, and then beginning to take action. Now, it doesn’t have to be massive action right away, where all of a sudden you have the insight and then you go in the next day and drop your resignation. No, that didn’t even happen with me. It took me nine months or a year to go from insight, to knowing that I was going to be a Navy SEAL, to [stepping forward with 00:13:16] the training.

[00:13:30] I have a lot of people who I train with, they ask this question. “Well, I’ve got a family to feed and I’ve invested 20 years in this career, but I know it’s not for me. What do I do?” I say, “There’s two things we can do. One is find deeper meaning in why you do what you do, and accept that. Accept that for now. Number two is find another way to express your purpose outside of your day to day work or paycheck work that someday might turn itself into the main thing.” It might be working on a non-profit.
[00:14:00]

[00:14:30] I had one friend, a guy from Australia actually, who came to SEALFIT training, and he’s still coming. He’s just so passionate about the work he’s done with Unbeatable Mind, and that he went home after a five day academy with us, and he had two businesses. He sold one of them and was able to just narrow his focus so he could do better in the other, and then he launched a non-profit to work with autistic kids. He had an autistic child of his own. See what I mean? He didn’t give it all up to go into work with autistic kids. He kept up and income stream, but he got less distracted, he decluttered, simplified, so he had time to focus on his passion and his pursuit while he was still earning money.

[00:15:00] Over time, he’ll be able to shift more and more of his time and attention to his main purpose in life, which is working with autistic kids, by building greater structure and systems so that he can have maybe someone else run his business more, on a day to day basis. There’s a lot of ways to slice it when we’re talking about this type of work. The point is to courageously lean into it, and you can only lean into it when you’re clear, and you can only get clear when you slow down and spend time in silence, and just begin to really work with the whole mind. The whole mind is [inaudible 00:15:13].

Guy

Totally.

Stu

[00:16:00] Brilliant. Fantastic. I wanted to ask a little bit, or delve a little bit deeper as well into your Navy SEAL background, and specifically the qualification process as well, to get through, because many many years ago when I was in my 20s, I had a very good friend, two friends actually, that became Royal Marine Commandos. Throughout that summer, I trained with them because they were going into their selection process and trying to get in, and it was so tough. We spent the entire summer running around the hills with backpacks full of stones, and just lifting crazy weights, and doing a whole heap of stuff. From accountant, then to going into the qualification procedure, I guess, to become a Navy SEAL, what do you need to do? How fit do you need to be and what standards do you need to meet to become a SEAL?

Mark

Well, you need to be fit. You know?

Stu

Yeah.

 

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Mark

[00:16:30] You need to be the top 1% or more. Training, there’s some stated standards that are ridiculous, and they’re just basically a first cut. They have to do with how many push-ups you can do in two minutes, how many sit-ups, how many pull-ups, and how fast you can run a mile and a half, and how fast you can swim 500 yard doing a combat side stroke, which is an underwater side stroke.

Guy

Wow.

Stu

Yep.

Mark

[00:17:00] There’s plenty of people who just crush those who fail SEAL training, because there’s a lot of other aspects, like your Royal Commando friend knew. You’ve got to have serious endurance, and loaded endurance, meaning the ability to move with load over long distances, and to do it rapidly, so rucking, running with weight on, like weight vests, doing weighted training like weighted pull-ups, weighted push-up, that type of stuff. Then of course all that is irrelevant if you haven’t cultivated the mindset.

Stu

Yes.

Mark

The mindset can be cultivated part and parcel with the physical training, which is largely what our company SEALFIT does. It’s physical mental training as a package.

Stu

Yeah. Yep.

Mark

[00:18:00] Ultimately, when you get to the training itself, what you find is that everyone is physically qualified, but not everyone is mentally qualified. That’s ultimately what the instructors cadre are looking to ferret out. Everyone’s met this minimum standards, and everyone’s physically fit and can swim and run, run the O course and all that, but who’s going to make good decisions under extreme pressure? Which is really hallmark of the mental fitness.

Guy

Right.

Mark

That’s something that I was fortunate enough to have a tremendous leg up on, because A) I was a competitive endurance athlete, and endurance athletes tend to have a little bit more of the mental game down than let’s say a short game sport athlete, like a football player or something.

Stu

Yeah.

Mark

[00:19:00] Strategy and tactics, the endurance athlete knows how to control their mind and the motions over long periods of time, so that’s going to be more in tune with what the [inaudible 00:18:34] needs. Then my martial arts training, because meditation is a process of mental training. It’s a progressive process of mental training, and it leads to the ability to control your thoughts and emotions in any situation, whether it’s sunny out or whether it’s the middle of a shit storm, and BUD/S Navy SEAL training is a nine month shit storm.

[00:19:30] Back to your question, you’ve got to do the hard physical work, but that’s meaningless unless you’re also doing the mental training alongside it. You have to do the working out and the working in. The two of them work together to create pretty much an indomitable body mind spirit when you’re being tested, which is what the training is all about, it’s to test you.

Stu

Yes, definitely, because I would have imagined that it’s super important to be able to dive into those control centers that then switch off all of the crazy stuff in your body, like the stress hormones that are raging, that stop you from sleeping because you’re so pumped all the time. Super important, I guess, to be able to tap into that as well.

Guy

Well, what’s the percentage rate, Mark, in terms of people trying to get into the SEALs and people that actually get in?

Mark

Depends upon where you start looking. Several thousand candidates go to the recruiter every year. About maybe … What’s the number? 1800 of them or 2000 go to boot camp. About 200 end up at BUD/S.

Guy

Wow.

Mark

That other number I’m not 100% sure of, but certainly less than probably 30% or 40% make it through boot camp, make it through the secondary program called BUD/S prep, but don’t quote me on those number. Then about [inaudible 00:20:42] the BUD/S. Some years it’s 180, some years it might be 220, but right in that range.

Stu

Yeah.

Mark

Make it through BUD/S, I’m sorry, make it through BUD/S.

Stu

Yeah.

Mark

There’s five classes a year. Each class has about 180 to 200, and about 200 a year are graduated or minted, so we’re talking about a 20% pass rate, but each class is different. Some of the classes, if there’s a particular challenging winter where the oceans are raging and cold, you might have a class that starts 175 people and graduates 9.

Guy

Wow.

Stu

Wow, okay.

Mark

[00:21:30] You might have a summer class that maybe starts with [185 00:21:28] people and graduates 40.

Stu

Yeah, yeah.

Mark

My class had 185 people and we graduated 19.

Stu

Oh, crikey.

Mark

[00:22:00] But there are other programs that have stats like that. I think it’s just a matter of … A lot of it has to do with the quality of the candidates coming in. The SEALs are pretty selective, and so everyone who’s standing on line is significantly qualified, like I said. Elite athletes, super smart, and so training pipeline is to ferret out the great from the very good, which is different than a lot of other programs where it’s pretty much a free for all at the beginning, and what’s left are the gems. You know what I mean?

Stu

Yes. Yeah, yeah.

Guy

[00:22:30] Yeah. Could you give us an example of some of the processes, Mark, that might even distinguish the ones that make it through and not? Because you talk about creating conditions for mentally challenging scenarios. What would that look like? I bet there must be too many to talk about.

Mark

[00:23:00] Well, there’s quite a few, but let me just characterize it in the sense of that there’s a lot of different things that cause people to fail. [inaudible 00:22:53] sometimes that lasts for six months now for BUD/S, and then an additional four months for SQT, so 10 months before you get qualified and you earn what we call the Trident, the Navy SEAL Trident. 10 months times 30 days, that’s 300 days.

Guy

Yeah.

Mark

You get some weekends off, so there is some recovery, otherwise you’d just grind everyone down to a pulp, but I think that for a lot of people, they are not able to just take it one day at a time. They get lost in the sense that, “Holy shit, I’m only a month in …[inaudible 00:23:29]

Guy

Yeah, got it. Oh, he’s coming back on.

Mark

Hey.

Stu

Cool.

Guy

You’re back!

Mark

Yeah. Sorry, I had to move locations. I think my WiFi was acting up. [It's a fact, 00:23:43] Navy SEALs are slippery, they change their locations. Can’t see me very well, but that’s [okay 00:23:50]. Should I just get right back into it? I think I was talking about why people fail, right?

Guy

Yeah, let’s pick it up from there, mate. Absolutely.

Mark

[00:24:30]
Okay, so we have this issue of just the raw audacity of the adventure, and a lot of people’s bodies aren’t capable of handling it, so there’s a durability issue. Second reason is some of the challenges that are set up are designed to invoke fear and terror. A good example of that is [drown-proofing 00:24:26], tie your hands and legs together and then jump into the deep end of the pool and swim 100 yards. That gets a lot of people, because it just seems unrealistic to some people that that’s something that they could do. The reality is that it is fairly simple. There’s a fairly simple process to learning how to do this, and a lot of it has to do with mental and emotional control, relaxation. When you’re in that state, then all of a sudden it just opens up to you and you realize it’s pretty simple.

[00:25:30] That’s what they’re trying to … They’re trying to get you to these situations that are … If you found yourself in combat in an extremely uncomfortable environment, and I don’t use that word lightly, like people shooting at you, or you have to solve a problem like MacGyver with a bomb going off and shit, then can you do it? Can you solve that problem when the world is just collapsing around you? That’s what the SEAL program is trying to ferret out. Again, it goes back to my earlier statement. It doesn’t matter how fit you are. You’ve got to be fit. What matters is can you maintain composure under pressure? Can you maintain control over the thinking process, and tap into your intuition, and use your emotions powerfully as opposed to in a debilitating way? Can you do all that and still keep your eyes on your teammates so you can keep them safe, and focus on the mission?

[00:26:00] It’s not easy at all. That’s why not many people survive it. You have the injuries, but for the most part I believe most injuries, unless you get infected by some weird virus, which happens quite a bit, they’re psychosomatic. They’re manifested over a period of weeks after the individual has, at a subconscious level, kind of decided that this isn’t going to work for them, they can’t make it.

Guy

So they can save face and say they’re injured, almost.

Mark

Yeah, and I like I said, a lot of it’s not even conscious.

Guy

Yeah.

Mark

It just happens.

Guy

Yeah, wow. Do they actually train you for the mind aspect of it, or is it something you’ve intuitively got and we’ll see if you got it or not? Because I know you obviously worked on yourself before going into the SEALs.

Mark

[00:27:00] I would say it’s the latter, although they’re doing more and more … These days they’re starting to employ some of the principles that I teach. There’s a few hundred SEALs who have gone through my training. I think I’m the first person to train SEALs using breath control and meditation, mindfulness, awareness, visualization, concentration tactics, all the working in process that I now call The Unbeatable Mind, over the years.

Guy

Yep.

Mark

[00:27:30] Some of them now are instructors, and they’re starting to use even the same language, which is pretty cool. When I went through training, no. It was you either had it or you didn’t.

Guy

Right, okay.

Mark

For the most part, it’s still that way. They literally will have a class on visualization, but now I know some of the instructors. I don’t know if it’s built into the curriculum, but some of the instructors will take the students, and before the [pool comp 00:27:45], they’ll have them think about their micro goals, and they’ll have them visualize themselves succeed, and so they’re starting to work the skills.

Guy

Got it. Right, yeah. Sorry, Stu. Just jumping in there, you mentioned breath work there as well. I only raise it because I’m curious to what your point of view of it is. Are you familiar with Wim Hof?

Mark

Oh sure, yeah.

Guy

Yeah.

Mark

In fact, I’m speaking with him tomorrow.

Guy

Oh, right. Well, tell him Guy from 180 said good day, because I spent a week with him in Melbourne in August.

Mark

Oh, cool.

Guy

[00:28:30] I went through the whole Wim Hof method, if you like. There were grown men crying by the end of day four, day five in there. I was one of them. It was so powerful. I was just curious to think what that breath work has meant to you over the years, because I know you do incorporate it and talk about it a lot.

 

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Mark

[00:29:30] I think it’s extremely powerful and necessary. The breath is the link between your body and your mind and your spirit. Breath has many elements to it. At a really simple level, it is fuel, oxygen. It’s fuel, and so learning to breathe properly will fuel our bodies more effectively. It’s like shifting from the sad American diet to maybe a paleo diet. All of a sudden you’re ingesting more high energy foods and less of the processed crap, and all of a sudden you have more energy. Same thing. When you develop muscles of your breathing, and you’re taking it more of a full breath and a conscious breath, you’re fueling every cell of your body, including your brain, more effectively and so you’re going to perform at a higher level.

Guy

Yeah, right.

Mark

[00:30:00] That’s number one. Number two is the breath is what controls, for a large part, our nervous system. At least it has a big effect on how we balance our nervous system, so we can trigger our parasympathetic nervous system, we can trigger our sympathetic nervous system, and we can trigger balance between the two. Breath control training will stimulate and manage our vagus nerve, which is really the arbiter or the executive [agent 00:30:03] of our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
[00:30:30] By learning to do breath work, we can then get back control and never let stress really control us any longer. That’s both acute stress and chronic stress. Chronic stress is the low-grade long-term stuff, so there’s very serious health benefits with breath control training, because we significantly reduce and then eliminate chronic stress, and we’re getting more oxygen and more of a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood, and all of a sudden anything that was ailing us starts to disappear over time. It’s really quite amazing, this free medicine.

[00:31:00] Then there’s the performance aspect. There’s the health benefits, but the performance aspect is when you’re talking about acute stress would be like Navy SEAL training. There’s a lot of acute stress going on where it’s like, boom! The bomb goes off, [hell week 00:31:00] starts, and now you’ve got six days of nonstop training where it’s designed to invoke the [fear wolf 00:31:07]. It’s designed to create situations where failure is imminent, and those trigger your sympathetic nervous system, fight or flight, constantly. If you can’t get that under control, it’s a spiral downhill to failure very quickly, so breath training and breath work is how we begin to develop control over the stress response.

[00:31:30]
[00:32:00] That’s the link between them physiologically, but then because the organs of our mind are the brain, the heart, and the belly, breath work allows us to A) calm those organs down so that they’re working more effectively and efficiently, and then B) to get us to create some space in our mind where we can then begin to curate the rational mind, and step into our non-rational. That’s where we begin to experience our intuitive selves, and that’s all experienced with the breath. We haven’t even stepped into meditation or concentration training yet.

[00:32:30] Then another aspect of breath is the energetic. This is something we’ve learned through the martial arts and yoga is that every breath you’re taking in, prana, life force, chi, qi, the Force be with you, Luke, energy, and so when you get more sensitive, you can begin to work, and feel, and experience that energy, and you can begin to store it, you can project it, you can recover with it. That’s a little bit longer process to train that. This why you see martial arts masters take 20 years to be able to really work with the energy at that level, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there and something that we can work with right away.

[00:33:30] That’s like with Wim Hof’s work, you learn the Tummo breath. Right away [this 00:33:03] begins to tap you into the energy, and then it has a physiological effect at a mitochondrial level. Combined with his cold work and a simple diet, could really generate heat and power, but you’ve got to [the work 00:33:19], and that’s why we call it work. It’s not a one-time thing. We use breath empowerments in our SEALFIT training and Unbeatable Mind, and it’s very intense, and it can be very emotional, so it’s not uncommon to see grown men cry because they’re tapping into their emotional body for the first time, sometimes ever.

[00:34:00] It’s different to do that once in a while. You can have an extraordinary peak state experience doing a 45 minute breath empowerment, or re-birthing, or Wim Hof, but in that [way 00:33:53] … That kind of an insight that that creates could wake you up and then change your consciousness, or change your state of mind, but it’s the daily work that’ll change your life. Does that make sense?

Guy

100%.

Stu

[00:34:30] It does. It does make sense. That breath work is a very important component of SEALFIT that you touched upon a few minutes ago, so I wanted to just expand of SEALFIT a little bit more and ask you why you created it, who it’s for, and what to expect once started.

Mark

I originally created SEALFIT for SEAL candidates.

Stu

Right.

Mark

[00:35:00] That lasted about a week, because as soon as I opened up the training to SEAL candidates, I had all other special ops, including some foreigners. I think I had some Aussies come to my first academy, actually. Then I’ve had people from all over the world come, because I created it as a warrior monk type training, which is very rare. You could go to the Shaolin monastery, but the Chinese kind of beat you up, and they’re not very much fun to be with over there. [inaudible 00:35:06] so this is kind of like a Western version of that. You know what I mean?

Stu

Yeah. Yeah.

Mark

[00:36:00] That was one way to experience SEALFIT is through our academies. I used to do 30 days at a time, live-in, and we’d train from six in the morning until eight at night, working all these skills of physical and mental training, but I had to streamline that. Now we have three day and five days, but we get a lot of work done in that. SEALFIT is, in a sense, warrior development. We train physically, mentally, and emotionally, and it’s done in a team context, because warriors need to be able to develop a team, and they need to support their team and be supported by their team. There’s a whole education around that because a lot of folks in our society, Western society I would say, which includes Australia, are really not trained to work at a team level that well.

Stu

Right.

Mark

[00:36:30] [That 00:36:01] environment doesn’t do well, and even sports teams don’t do it very well. Maybe rugby does better than American football for sure, but the military, especially the special ops, they know how to do it well, and they understand how important the team is to be completely in sync, focused on the mission, be very clear what the mission is. It’s mission first, team always, and then you as an individual, you’re important too but you can always be replaced, and so it’s up to you to show up every day and prove yourself, and that’s a very different thing. We don’t rest on our laurels at SEALFIT based upon our past accomplishments. It’s what are we going to do today to prove our worthiness and earn the respect and trust of our teammates? Do it, and then go out and lead the mission, or participate in the mission as a good teammate.

[00:37:00] SEALFIT is all about training the mind, body, and spirit. The spirit of a warrior, the body of a warrior, and the mind of a warrior, and we do it through daily workout we call Op WODs. We’re creating a new program. The newest is called SEALFIT boot camp. I’m flying the colors on my shirt here, which is a simpler version that I’m hoping that way more people will be able to access SEALFIT. Imagine Crossfit without a barbell. It’s going to be intensity, intense interval training combined with strength, stamina, and durability, and mental toughness, meaning every training session, which will be an hour long, will mental training laced throughout it.

[00:38:00] The workouts will be named like Courage, and Honor, and Discipline, but we’re not going to teach people how to do a snatch and then have them do a snatch at 80 miles an hour and get injured. We’re going to use things like just pull-up bars, and sandbags, and dumbbells. We’re going to take that other stuff out, and you can play with it on your own, but it’s not going to be part of our boot camp program. This will be a way for us to get SEALFIT into schools, and into people who are maybe a little bit scared of crossfit and aren’t ready for our operator WODs, which are seriously advance PhD-level programs.

[00:38:30] Probably our most famous training is the crucible experience. We’ve got the academy. Academies are [live 00:38:14] warrior monk training, warrior athlete, warrior leader, warrior monk. We’ve got the daily workouts, which is the SEALFIT boot camp, and then the basic and the advance operator WODs, but then the most famous is the crucible. We have a 50-hour program, nonstop training for 50, that’s five-zero hours, called [Kokoro 00:38:34].

Stu

Oh, my word.

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Mark

[00:39:00] Kokoro means heart in Japanese. There’s no American or English word that we could find that really represented what we were trying to accomplish, but it really is … It’s modeled after hell week, the Navy SEAL hell week. There’s no sleep. It’s around the clock training, and it’s intense, and you’ve got to have serious commitment, and you’ve got to know your why for doing this training. There’s about maybe 500 people a year who tackle that, our Kokoro camps. It’s an extraordinary experience. It’s a real wake up call. We say there’s life before Kokoro, and then there’s life after. Everything after is just a little bit easier.

Stu

Wow.

Mark

That’s how we train with SEALFIT.

Stu

Could I book Guy into that last one that you mentioned? Because I think he’d do quite well at that. I’ll get the credit card out and pay you now. Let’s get him in.

Mark

I look forward to it.

Guy

I might surprise you, Stu. You never know.

Stu

Yeah, you might.

Mark

[Because 00:39:32] a lot of people aren’t ready for that type of training at SEALFIT, I created an Unbeatable Mind program, which is we have online training, and we have coaching and whatnot. That’s another great place to start.

Guy

Yeah, right.

Mark

That’s, “Hey, we want you to do the physical training. Here are some recommended approaches, but you don’t have to come get your ass kicked until you’re ready.”

Guy

[00:40:00] Yeah. No, I appreciate that. Thanks, Mark. Mate, look, I’m looking at the time. I’m aware that time’s getting on as well, Mark, and you’ve got another appointment, mate, so I’ve got one question that we ask everyone. That is, what are you non-negotiables to be the best version of yourself?

Mark

[00:40:30] Well, that’s easy for me. To me, what I call integrated training, developing my five mountains, physical, mental, emotional, intuitional, and spiritual selves, or domains of experience or intelligences, in non-negotiable to do every day. How I do that will be different every day, and a lot will depend on whether I’m traveling, or whether I’m back in my training center where I’ve got all the tools. That means that every day, I put my personal training toward mastery at the same level of importance as eating and sleeping. Those are the three non-negotiables, eating, sleeping, and training, and doing all of those well, all of those well. Does that make sense?

Guy

Yep.

Mark

[00:41:30]

There’s a way to sleep well and recover well, there’s a way to fuel well with macronutrients, micronutrients, breath and water, and then there’s a way to train your body, mind, and spirit system well. I work on refining all those and doing something every day, something every day so that those three pillars of performance are just solid, solid, solid. That’s a non-negotiable, and that’s one of the things I teach, because the whole thing is the warrior’s way is to master ourselves. Mastery is a journey, it’s not a destination, and mastery means that we have to work at ourselves at an integrated level, our whole being, physically, mentally, emotionally, intuitionally, spiritually.

[00:42:00] The reason self-mastery comes before anything else is because we can’t serve, we can’t serve our team and we can’t focus on the mission if we’re not optimized. That means to develop the potential internally, to win in our mind-body system internally, so that we can show up and perform with 20 times performance, or 20x performance externally, on the field of battle, or on the field of your corporate domain, or sports.

Guy

Yeah.

Mark

[00:42:30] Self-mastery precedes service, but they really are kind of like a hand and a glove. As you evolve as a human being, you’re going to be able to serve more powerfully. You’re going to be more clear about who you’re meant to serve and how. Back to our earlier discussion about purpose, your purpose will begin to unfold because you’re thinking better, you’re using your whole mind, your intuition is sparked and coming alive, and you’re getting more information from sources that are there to support you, and that are always there to support you but you’ve been shut off from them.

Guy

Yeah. Perfect.

Stu

Brilliant.

Mark: A little bit more than you asked for, but that’s …

Guy

No, that’s … Yeah, that’s fantastic. That’s inspiring me as I stand here, mate. I just want to mention that you have a [cranking 00:42:47] podcast, I’m fully aware. I’ve been listening to that in research for this. Where would people go if they want to check out your podcast, Mark, and check out more about SEALFIT, what you do, Unbeatable Mind, and everything else?

Mark

Sure. Just Google is a great place to start. Google Mark Divine or Unbeatable Mind. Our podcast is called Unbeatable Mind with Mark Divine, or Mark Divine’s Unbeatable Mind Podcast. I’m not sure which. Unbeatablemind.com, all one word, unbeatablemind.com has the podcast, has information about the Unbeatable Mind program. SEALFIT, all one word, S-E-A-L-F-I-T.com has my blog and tons of really great videos, resources and information on the SEALFIT program. A lot of people like to start with reading one of my books. I think for SEALFIT it’s 8 Weeks to SEALFIT. For Unbeatable Mind, it’s called Unbeatable Mind. That’s my core philosophy, and The Way of the Seal is my leadership book. It’s really Unbeatable Mind told to leaders, or for leaders. Those are probably enough places to start. We of course have a Facebook and Instagram, and Twitter and all that.

Guy

All the usual, yep.

Mark

[inaudible 00:44:04]

Guy

All the usual. Well hopefully, Mark, we’ll see you in Australia one day, mate, if you ever make it over this end with all your wisdom.

Mark

Yeah. We would love to do that. We’ve been trying to figure out how to do that for a couple years now, so maybe you guys can pull it together finally.

Guy

[00:44:30] Yeah. No, it could happen, mate. It could happen. Absolutely. Mark, that was tremendous. Thanks for giving us your time today on the show. It’s greatly appreciated, and hopefully we’ll see you back on the show one day as well, because I know we’ve only scratched the surface today, mate.

Mark

That’s right. Thank you very much guys. Super nice to meet you, and good luck with everything. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s awesome work.

Guy

Thanks, Mark.

Stu

Brilliant.

Guy

Cheers.

Stu

Thank you, mate.

Guy

Bye-bye.

Stu

You take care.

Mark

Yep. [crosstalk 00:44:41]

Stu

Bye-bye.

 

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