A blog overview of Jesse Itzler’s “Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet”
G. Michael Hopf once said “Hard times create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times.” Jesse Itzler chose to become a strong man by enduring the hard times that “SEAL” brought into his life. Mentally, physically, and spiritually, Jesse was tested in all of these aspects of life and had to rely on the following attributes:
• Control your mind
• Do not stress about what you can’t control
• Strive to be better and challenge yourself every day
• Take the risks
• Mix up your routine
• Enjoy the pain, you earned it
• If you can’t do the basics, you can’t do anything
• The journey is more important than the destination
• Never get comfortable
• Don’t let up
• Become obsessed
• Move to the next goal
Before you can focus on the physical portion of any task, you must first control your mind. This is where the energy will stem to push you through the tough times. Jesse had to control his mind when the “SEAL” forced him to go on a run during a blizzard and when they broke the ice on top of the lake they jumped in. He had to fight off his instinct of wanting to bail out and not accomplishing the task at hand. Jesse took control of his mind and finished all challenges that “SEAL” presented him with. This is much more difficult than the physical side of most tasks.
Do not stress about what you can not control. Keep your focus on the elements within your grasp and master them to the best of your ability. This will keep your mind clear of all distractions and put all your energy towards achieving the goal. Jesse ended up getting injured and was worried he would not be able to go for a run, “SEAL” ended up changing the task and replacing the run with a push-up exercise. This simple change relieved Jesse of focusing on his foot and zeroing in on the push-ups.
Strive to be better and challenge yourself every day. Do the extra work that will make you progress and be better tomorrow. Jesse embraced this approach to life with “SEAL” each day. He made Jesse step out of his comfort zone and add more miles as well as reps to each workout they completed together. This improved Jesse’s mental and physical game.
Take the risks. Playing it safe will not improve your way or status in life. If you continue with the same approach to life, then you will never progress. Jesse took a huge risk by allowing a stranger to move in and control his entire day. When “SEAL” wanted Jesse to accomplish a push-up challenge in between one of the most important meetings of his career, Jesse dropped down and completed it. Profusely sweating, Jesse returned to the meeting and sealed the deal.
Mix up your routine. Once a routine is set, your body and mind will go on autopilot. The tasks completed will begin to feel unimportant or of low caliber. It is important to mix up your routine and shock your system. A difference in your everyday activities will impact your mood and physical stature in many positive ways. “SEAL” mixed up Jesse’s routine by going on various lengths of runs, different running paths, and an ever-changing workout routine. Jesse saw a huge increase in his running and strength capabilities. This is all due to “SEAL”s approach to mixing up your routine.
Enjoy the pain, you earned it. Each time that I complete a workout for the first time or that I have not done in a while, my muscles will be sore the next morning. I have grown to enjoy that feeling because I earned it. It is a part of the growth that many overlook and do not want to go through. Whatever you go through, you will grow through. Jesse embraced the workouts and pain that “SEAL” brought into his life. Jesse had huge growth during his experience with “SEAL”. If you can’t do the basics, you can’t do anything. “SEAL” zeroed in on the form and hounded Jesse to complete each rep with perfect form. If Jesse’s form broke, then he would have to restart. This approach will encourage an individual to focus on the quality instead of the quantity of all activities they partake in. High quality and low quantity will get you further than low quality and high quantity.
The journey is more important than the destination. Most people get caught up in the destination and it takes away from their experience within the journey. Many athletes will come out and say “I wish I would have enjoyed the moment more” when looking back on exceptional events that happened during their careers. Jesse had this Epiphone when “SEAL” was pushing him through another extreme workout routine. He began to think that he was going to miss “SEAL” once he left and began to embrace all the tasks that they went through together.
Never get comfortable. Once you become comfortable, you become set in your ways and do not pressure yourself to become better. You must challenge your comfort zone and step out every day to become a better you. “SEAL” made sure to force Jesse out of his comfort zone and steadily progress his mental and physical state.
Don’t let up. Always push yourself to grow and improve. Once you reach a certain level of success, you have to add more reps and make changes to your routine. Do not let up on the hard work and effort. Jesse never let his soreness or tiredness from putting in his maximum effort each day with “SEAL”. I do not believe “SEAL” would let him get away with any excuses.
Move to the next goal. Once a goal is achieved, go down your list and have another goal to chase after. This will keep you in a constant state of progression. Either you are going forward or you are going backward. “SEAL” only knew how to go forward and implemented that focus in Jesse’s everyday life. Going backward was not an option and neither was just sitting around. Jesse was always in the process of improving his personal or career life while “SEAL” was around.
Jesse implemented every element listed into his life while “SEAL” was living at his house and I would like to think he continued them long after “SEAL” had left. Staying on the path of progress will require hard work and effort, but it is well worth the price. Otherwise, a “normal” and “minimal” life would be lived.