Embrace the Suck

Embrace the Suck

RESILIENCE is what carries us through life to reach our goals. Pain will always be with us, but if we can learn to lean into it and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, we can live a more fulfilling life.

Resilience is what Brent Gleeson’s book, Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life is all about. He writes, “To avoid pain is to basically deny our potential. We can’t develop psychological resilience without experiencing emotional pain and suffering.” Resilience is about perspective and embracing reality.

The most mentally and physically tough people I know constantly practice the fine art of building resilience—deliberately pounding away at the boundaries of their comfort zone in pursuit of their passions and causes greater than themselves. Simply put, they choose adversity over mediocrity and continue pushing forward despite the odds stacked against them.

By strengthening our minds, we can overcome obstacles and pave the way to an intentional life. Gleeson provides us with several mental models to help us navigate misfortune, pain, and uncertainty. One simple but effective model Gleeson offers for this is the Five-Step Root Cause Analysis. When we understand cause and effect—the consequences of our behavior—we can grow and move forward. Observe, learn, and grow.

Five-Step Root Cause Analysis

Gleeson uses the example of being laid off—the bad thing that happened to you. The High-Level Cause is at they had to downsize, keeping only the top performers. But as you dig deeper, focusing only on those issues you can control, like your actual or perceived underperformance, you can discover something actionable. Then ask what you did well and what you could work on and list them in step four. Then in step five, make specific goals that are concise, realistic, and time-bound, starting with an objective statement like “I will never lose another job for underperformance.”

A useful tool for learning to identify and then control what you can control. This personal feedback loop will “place you in a constant state of course correction and improvement.”

Of course, we need to be clear about our values. Your values help you know what winning looks like. “Essentially, any action or choice should clearly fit within your value lane markers. Deviation outside those markers typically ends in tragedy. You need to ask yourself what you are willing to do to live by those values and, even more importantly, what you are unwilling to do to avoid deviation.” Like removing temptations.

When working towards our new goal, we have to remove anything that stands in the way of it. “Remove every opportunity for temptation and distraction—any obstacle or competing priority. Maintain total mission focus.” Develop self-control.

Temptation is just a reality of life. Without it, there would be no such thing as willpower. Life will test you on a regular basis. So be prepared to ace the test!”
Only focus on what’s in your immediate control. Ignore everything else.
Maintaining focus on what is in our control and ignoring (or at least deprioritizing) everything else is a core tenant of the growth mindset and applies equally in achieving goals and overcoming obstacles in our personal and professional lives.

And as Gleeson points out in chapter 7, chose wisely what you suffer for. “Life is a series of choices.” Successful Seals training students make it through because they “accept it as a means to a better end.”

And he encourages, “If you stumble, find the root cause and move on. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in guilt, anger, or frustration, because these emotions will only drag you further down and impede future progress.”

Throughout the book, you will find many mental models with practical steps to move you forward. Models like Eight Failure Realities, Five Steps for Taming Temptation, Practicing the Things That Suck, Mastering Self-Discipline, and a model for Violent Execution, among others.

How willing are you to embrace the suck? Go to war with yourself.

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Overcome Fearless Success

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Setting goals at the start of the year means you will know exactly what you need to do throughout the year to be successful. By setting goals, it forces you to build a plan about how you intend to achieve those goals. By having a plan in place, you will wake up every morning with a clear idea of what it is you need to do each day. Just by writing down your goals, there is a 42% greater chance you will achieve those goals than if they just stayed in your head. It may seem like a small thing but actually creating goals every year and then writing them down significantly improves your chances of success.

What is a SMART Goal?

SMART goals were brought into the mainstream by Peter Drucker and they are now one of the most popular ways of setting goals, both by organizations and individuals. SMART is an acronym that describes a specific way of writing down goals. The SMART acronym stands for:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-Bound

The formula means that all of your goals will be incredibly specific, which is a key component of improving your chances of achieving any goal. To illustrate this point further let’s look at an example of two similar goals to see what one is a SMART goal:

I want to be more productive this year
I am going to wake up at 5 am Mon-Fri to work on my project that is due in 3 months

It should be pretty clear which goal is the SMART goal, it’s the second one. It gives a clear outline of what you will do, how it will be done, and over a specific time period.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

Now we will look at 5 examples of SMART that you can set this year to make it your most successful ever. You can copy these goals exactly as they are, or tweak a component of the SMART acronym to something that better suits you.

1. Journal every morning at 6 am For 10 mins For 2 months

If you are into self-development, you have probably come across journaling and it’s benefits. It can be a great way to reflect and plan for the future so is a great SMART goal to set for the year. We have kept this one pretty short at 10 mins every day because if you are new to journaling, it is better to start with a shorter period of time and build from there

S – The goal is to journal
M – Every day for 10 mins at 6am
A – A challenge, but achievable
R – Relevant if wanting to reflect and plan more
T – 2 months

2. Drink 2L of water every day for a year

We all know how good water is for us, but sometimes it’s hard to drink enough each day so setting a SMART goal is a great way of trying to drink more water. As you can see, the goal is specific in how much water we will drink every day. This is important as it is something that you can easily measure with a 2l bottle.

S – The goal is to drink more water
M – Every day
A – A challenge, but achievable
R – Relevant if wanting to be healthier
T – 1 year

3. Go for a run 3 times per week for 6 months

We should always include exercise into our daily routines as it has so many benefits to our overall well being. A goal many people set similar to this ‘I want to exercise more’. This is incredibly vague and doesn’t give any clear direction on exactly what you will do.

This SMART goal is an example of one where you could substitute the run for something else such as cycling or going to the gym. The key point is to be specific in what type of exercise you will do.

S – The goal is to exercise more
M – 3 times per week
A – Achievable
R – Relevant if you want to get fitter
T – 6 months

4. Get 7-9 hours sleep every night for 4 months

Getting enough sleep is incredibly important to how we perform the next day, both physically and mentally. It’s easy to stay up watching an extra episode of Netflix, but if you want to be productive the next day you need to get enough sleep. Although everyone is different, the science says on average we should all be getting between 7-9 hours sleep every night.

 S – Sleep more
M – Every day
A – Easily doable
R – Relevant if wanting to be more productive
T – 4 months

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk

5. Review your goals every day for a month

As this post is about goals, let’s include a goal about goals. It’s easy writing down your goals to begin, taking action to achieve your goals is the hard part. One way of improving your chances of achieving your goals is to review them regularly. We have set the time period as 1 month for this SMART goal to help build the habit. Ideally, you would want to increase this time period to every day, all year.

S – The goal is to check your goals
M – Every day
A – Tough at first, gets easier
R – Relevant if wanting to achieve your goal
T – 1 month

The above list should give you some good ideas of goals to set this year. Don’t forget they can be adapted to suit you better. For example, you could change the running to cycling. The key is to follow the SMART acronym for every goal you set as it significantly improves your chances of success.

Read more: addicted2success.com

I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on self-help books and seminars over the past three years. I’ve devoted thousands of hours reading blogs and listening to podcasts about personal growth and self-improvement with the goal of finding the answers that would “fix” me. After my divorce I became addicted to the idea that the answer to my happiness and healing was in a book, podcast or a blog. I kept waiting to read or hear that magic “Ah Ha” tip that would change my life forever.

“Hi, I’m Jasmine. And I’m a recovering self-improvement addict”.  When I was faced with several unexpected challenging transitions in my life, all in a very short period of time, I became compulsively consumed and obsessed with self-improvement and personal growth. Don’t get me wrong, some of the most powerful breakthroughs I have had in my personal growth have been due to a seminar I attended, a book I read or a life coach that I worked with. But it was as if I was never satisfied with what I read or heard, I wanted MORE MORE MORE!

What Is Self-Improvement?

Let’s start with talking about what self-improvement is. Self-improvement is wanting to improve upon your knowledge, thought patterns, or character by one’s own efforts. The goal is to reach a point where you no longer feel the need to improve yourself.

Comparable to nirvana. A transcendent state in which there is no longer desire. It’s as if some people strive to get a Self-Improvement PhD and life will be perfect. If you find yourself picking yourself apart and comparing yourself to others when you are reading self-help books, is that really helping? Can self-improvement be poisoning your mind?

“Things do not grow better; they remain as they are. It is we who grow better, by the changes we make in ourselves.” ― Swami Vivekananda

Can you be addicted to self-improvement?

The Webster Dictionary defines addiction as: A compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful, physical, psychological or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal.

When you think of an addict, you probably envision someone who is addicted to alcohol, drugs or sex; not a 40-something professional who is reading “Girl Wash Your Face” before she turns in for the night.

Placing importance on self-improvement doesn’t necessarily mean that you are addicted. When looking at whether or not there is an addiction, ask yourself this, do you keep repeating the same patterns and behaviors no matter how much you try to improve yourself?

According to Market Research, the self-improvement market in the United States was worth $9.9 billion in 2016 and is estimated to grow to $13.2 billion by 2022.

So, if it works so great, why are people constantly waiting for the next self-help best seller by Tony Robbins to be released or the next TED Talk by Brene Brown to go live? Wouldn’t you read one book, listen to one seminar and have achieved self-improvement nirvana?

The truth is that self-improvement, personal growth and self-care are all constant. That is why there are millions of book options and thousands of seminars with different approaches.

It is healthy to want to work on continuing to develop yourself, but do you ever take time to be in the present and appreciate who you are in that moment? Take a minute to process the tips and tools you have read and reflect on how you want to implement them into your life before you buy the next best seller.

I’m certainly not suggesting you should never purchase another self-help book again. But keep in mind, those books, blogs, podcasts or seminars, all they can do is give you ideas, suggestions and recommendations. It’s YOU that has to put all of it into motion.

Those tools are just someone else’s opinion on what you should do or they’ve done research on what “could” work for some people. They are just that, opinions.

If you have focused on self-improvement for quite some time and feel as if it may be taking over your life, I encourage you to take a break. In your efforts to continually improve, you can end up sending yourself the message that you are not enough, you are lacking, or that you are not worthy just as you are.

As you take time to slow down and look at all that you are trying to improve, it can be helpful to allow yourself to look at the ways you are succeeding in life and give yourself credit for even your baby steps.

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” ― Madonna

Accepting Yourself Does Not Mean Complacency

Just as placing importance on self-improvement doesn’t mean you have an addiction; accepting yourself does not mean that you stop growing or improving. Accepting yourself simply means that you are able to look at the big picture and acknowledge your strengths in conjunction with the areas you would like to develop.

Striving to develop yourself and work on self-improvement can be positive if you are balancing it with acceptance. It becomes toxic when it becomes your addiction. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you can’t still read the books, listen to podcasts and attend seminars to develop who you are. It means that you allow yourself to also see the amazing qualities you currently have, today.  

Self-improvement can become a never-ending project; you can always find something else that needs to be changed. To break the self-improvement addiction, you have to take a step back and decide to be happy with who you are now.

Read more: addicted2success.com

It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

Read more: addicted2success.com

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Elaine Kamarck on presidential responsibility:

“Despite of al he trappings of power—the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue, Camp David, Air Force One, never having to sit in a traffic jam (ever!)—the president is in charge of an entity over which he has fairly limited power. This is, of course, exactly the way the Founding Fathers wanted it. And yet, try telling that to the American public or to the world when something goes really wrong. As we have seen, large-scale governmental failure becomes presidential failure, whether the president likes it or not.”

Source: Why Presidents Fail And How They Can Succeed Again

II.

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magnes on how to be passionate:

“Mindfully living with passion starts with realizing that passion in and of itself doesn’t start off as either good or bad; it just is—a powerful emotion rooted in our biology and psychology. It’s not something we magically find, but something that we develop by following our interests and incrementally devoting more of our time and energy to them. The next step to mindfully living with passion is to become aware of its dark side. Only by understanding the pitfalls of obsessive and fear -driven passion—and taking deliberate steps to avoid them—does passion gain the potential to be productive. But avoiding pitfalls is not enough. An equal challenge is bucking current trends that favor instant gratification and instead actively adopting the mastery mind-set: maintaining drive from within; focusing on the process over results; not worrying about being the best but worrying about being the best at getting better; embracing acute failure for chronic gains; practicing patience; and paying full attention to our pursuits.”

Source: The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life

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Look for these ideas every Thursday on the Leading Blog. Find more ideas on the LeadingThoughts index.

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

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