From multiple degrees, awards, certificates, and multimillion dollar companies this retired Navy Seal (graduated #1 in his class!) has absolutely incredible insight to share on success in life and business and how to create an unbeatable mindset.
He’s a straight shooter (no pun intended) and the most humble man I’ve ever met. He completely downplays his incredible accomplishments, but what amazes me most is truly his deep knowledge of and dedication to the the warrior mindset and way of life which has helped him achieve and succeed time after time.
Tune in today for this most incredible interview with this superhuman.
Here are just a few MAJOR mindset shifts you’ll learn in this video:
- 4 Tools that helps him graduate #1 of his SEAL class
- His very different, yet beautiful, definition of success
- Driving force behind his career changes
- How the study of a warrior mindset leads and guides him
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To Your Success,
Mark Divine Bio:
Mark Divine is from upstate New York with a degree in economics from Colgate University and an MBA in Finance from New York University Stern School of Business.
Mark was an adjunct professor of leadership at the University of San Diego, where he left a PHD program due to the Iraq war Reserve call up. In Baghdad with the SEALs again in 2004, he conducted a special study for the DOD on the role of the USMC in the Special Operations Community. Upon return home he decided to focus fully on his business and family.
Mark is an accomplished martial artist with black belts in Seido and Goju Ryu Karate, a military hand to hand combat certification in SCARS and senior ranking in Saito Nijutsu. He is teacher trained in Ashtanga Yoga, and created the innovative Unbeatable Warrior Yoga program taught to his students.
After working with thousands of special ops candidates and professionals developing mental toughness, Mark self-published his first book Unbeatable Mind in 2011 and launched the at-home study program www.unbeatablemind.com. He is also the author of The Way of the SEAL published by Readers Digest and 8 Weeks to SEALFIT published by St. Martins Press.
SEALFIT is uniquely effective at developing elite level physical fitness and mental toughness. The program has helped thousands to operate at an entirely new level in their personal and professional lives, and is used by military, first responders and sheepdog-like professionals of all stripes worldwide.
Mark is a highly sought after speaker for corporations where his Unbeatable Mind program is helping to forge mental toughness among business leaders. He lives in Encinitas, CA., several blocks from the SEALFIT Training Center, the 20,000 square foot facility where he enjoys training with his family and team.
Mark Divine on Mental Strength & Success in Life and Business
Jairek: Hey Everyone, Jairek Robbins here, I’m coming to you not from our amazing home in Florida, I’m actually at the Michigan with my wife right now, were getting ready to go see “flower weekend” here which is something she’s been talking about for months and she’s very excited to show me, so I’m excited to see it, but while were here, we have a special opportunity to jump on the goo with someone, I’ve been reading his book recently, his book is called “The Way of the Seal”, it is an incredible insight to some tools that I’ve heard about in my life, I might have heard from a seminar or two, but was presented in a way that’s so practical and so useful and so insightful just a direct application into my life, the way I’m going about my life, the way I’m going about my business, the way I believe a lot of you will be going about your business in your life that I think is incredibly useful to use, so I’m incredibly privileged to have Mr. Mark Divine join us… thank you sir so much for joining us on our podcast here.
Mark: My pleasure, Jairek, really stoked to be here, so thanks very much for your time too.
Jairek: Of course, it’s a privilege to have you. To get started, I would love if you wouldn’t mind, in giving everyone listening a little, brief intro on who you are, what brought you to this moment, in this place in life. That way they get familiar, in case they’re not. Hopefully they are, but in case they’re ones that are out there aren’t, they’ll get to know who you are and what brought you to here at this point in life.
Mark: So, I’ll just assume that nobody is, so we’ll start there. I am a former navy seal, a retired commander, I retired in 2011, but the interesting part of that story, you know a lot of people know about the seals, so I don’t need to dig into any extraordinary feats of courage or operational, tactical things that I did. I wasn’t on the Bin Laden mission, I mean I did a lot of cool things and those incredible time but one of the things that really propelled me into the seals, when I was 25, which is a little later than most people, was my experience with a really extraordinary grand master martial artist who got me involved in Zen meditation, and some other different types of trainings which for a young western guy in the late 80s at this time was mind blowing, it just not something I had any experience with even in contact with and at that time I was on wall street working as a CPA getting my MBA at New York University. I was doing everything right, right? 6 letters after my name, earning lots of money. My parents, you know we have a long standing family business that’s over a hundred years old. I was kind of being groomed to go back and run the family business and while I was doing this training, over 4 years, while I was getting my MBA, getting my CPA, working really hard. I started to experience this profound changes inside of me, insights were coming up and I was just shifting in the work of, whatever this grand master was doing, it was having profound impact so much so that it literally cracked me right open and it lead me to completely alter my life path and to join the seals because I perceived that I wanted to be an elite warrior and to lead people in those types of situation, so that lead me to the seals. Now, because of the training and the way I learned how to use my mind, through his initial kind of training and a lot experimentation. I was able to go through Navy Seal training as honor man in my class, now we have a hundred and eighty people at the start of my training class in 1990 which was class 170. We had 19 people graduate.
Mark: Isn’t that crazy? And I was number 1 in my class.
Jairek: Wow, those are insane numbers.
Mark: I know. And so, the techniques that I talk about in the book “The Way of the Seal” is essentially, a caveman version of it, early version of those techniques it is what I used every day to get through seal training and not only did it make it fun, but it made it a sure thing for me, like I literally knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, I didn’t know I was going to be number 1 but I knew I was going to be wearing Navy Trident, I mean, there was just absolutely nothing, I had such a sense of certainty about it because I had already won it in my mind and in my heart and in my, kind of, very being. It was there, I already accomplished the task, I just needed to show up and put out every day, super cool!
Jairek: Wow, that’s amazing.
Mark: Yeah. We can talk more about the techniques and what that stuff is but, anyways, later on, in life, fast forward 20 years, I got out of the seals and around 2007, I just had this real earth sense that the next major unfolding of me was happening and that I needed to… I felt an urgent need to teach. Everything that I learned as a seal, as a martial artists and also I’ve gotten deeply involved with an authentic tradition of yoga. Everything, all those 3 tradition, contextualized as a warrior development, started to line up and it they made sense to me and I was like, oh shit, this is what I doing that lead me to be number 1 in my Seal class, lead me to be able to start multiple businesses, not all with huge success but kind of the skills to learn to pick myself up and dust myself off and to drive forward.
Jairek: One thing, you’ve laughed at, I don’t mean to interrupt you…
Mark: Oh no…
Jairek: But you’ve just said, many people know about the Seals, for those of you who don’t, this is kind of the elite of the elite group in the arms service of the Navy and like he said hundreds apply, 19 make it.
Mark: Yeah, thousands…
Jairek: These are people who have given it their best shot, these are people who are trained, who are the best at what they do. This is the best of the best of the best, all competing, and he said thousands of people actually apply, hundreds make it in and even nineteen make it out.
Jairek: So this is the most elite group out there if you’re not familiar with them. And, then the other thing you’ve just said is you’ve had some business success, and it wasn’t that big or that huge, if I remember reading correctly in your book, that not big of a deal to you was in the range of million plus in some of those ventures if I read correctly.
Mark: That’s true.
Jairek: He said, that wasn’t big of a deal, it wasn’t that huge, he’s talking about million dollar plus businesses that he’s creating a big part of opening and founding and growing here
Jairek: He’s a very humble man, obviously, I’m learning quickly here. Just to give perspective. I don’t want people to think, Oh, he started out a sandwich shop in the corner, he’s doing million dollar type business.
Jairek: The level he plays at, is that it’s not that big of a deal, he’s aiming for much more obviously, but he’s doing extra ordinarily well as he was doing these days, but I wanted to make sure that the context was there for people listening.
Mark: Well, I think it’s interesting, because I don’t necessarily judge the success of the business by the financial metrics. My first business was brewery, corned out a brewing company down in San Diego. It’s a 10 million dollar business, hugely successful, profitable and I’m super proud of it but it was a freaking disaster when it came to my partnership with my two partners who were also my brothers-in-law and it blew the family apart.
My wife and her mom haven’t spoken since then, I haven’t seen or spoken to those guys, not because I don’t want to, but because they’re very limited and kind of small in their thinking and they can’t get beyond our disagreement, which was me trying to uphold the honor, my honor, and to do the right thing for the shareholders and I talked a little bit about that in the book. To me, that was a business failure that had the seed of incredible learning, so it was a huge success and the business is a huge success but I made some big, big mistakes and it would only be a true failure if I didn’t learn from those mistakes, dust myself and move on, you know? That helped refine some of my thinking, because that was my first, so I went from being a Navy Seal, where my mission was clear, my teammates were even clearer, I knew I could trust with my life, every single person that I’ve worked with, we had a strong set of shared values, a vision for mission accomplishment and how hard we were going to work and the support we were going to give each other were extraordinary and suddenly, I get off after duty, and I go start a business in the quote unquote real world, and none of those factors suddenly were there for me, you know what I mean? And all of you guys who are in business and entrepreneurship, you deal with this every day, and so what I’m trying to with the way of the seals is to bring some structure and some clarity to thinking about how you can be radically clear with your focus and also with the team you attract and recruit and then how you develop so that you are with a team that is utterly trustworthy and confident and that you’re kicking ass and taking names together and you’re not in this murky ground of whether you can trust the person to your left or right, or whether you’ll get stabbed in the back or getting pulled down to the lowest common denominator because someone had a real negative play around your team, and I experienced all that in the brewing company and that forced me to say, okay, okay, how do I apply these more tactical skills of being a seal to my business my life because the first time around even though the business is really successful structurally and financially, I didn’t have all those things that I had as a seal, but when you do apply those tactics, that takes it into the team in the organizational level, the way of the seal principles, and that’s where we start, and I’ll say this one thing and I’ll kind of shut my trap here.
The principle is we start with self-mastery, we start with developing the character to be a great leader and a good person and that radiates out to the team level, the we space, so we start with I then we move to we, then we develop our team to be exceptional and then we look at organizational structures and systems and we align those so the organization doesn’t block our growth but can support it and I’ll tell you what, when those 3 can align, the I, the we and the it, or the self, the team and the organization and support excellence, that’s when you got magic happening. And any entrepreneur who’s going to build a business, they have to take care of those 3 realms, you can’t let yourself go to shit while you develop your business, and so many entrepreneurs do, you have to take care of yourself, physically mentally, intuitionally and spiritually because that’s the center place that going to hold the team together and the team is going to be the framework of the organization is going to hang on.
Jairek: Absolutely. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Eric Thomas, or Dr. Eric Thomas now, he just got his PhD
Jairek: He is a gentleman who grew up in Detroit, he was homeless at one point, took him 12 years to get his degree and then he just kept going until he got his PhD, he’s very inspirational. He speaks to a lot of sports teams. I was just speaking with his team this morning and we were talking about that, how do you create that structure and it’s something I saw in one of your videos online. I’m curious to ask about this, in that organizational structure when you’re recruiting your team, when you’re organizing your community, how do you go about attracting the type of people and how do you go about communicating and creating an environment where even though there’s a leader, the leader looks at his community as of service and the community look to the leader in service.
Jairek: It’s something I saw, where even in one of the trainings I saw you guys do physically, where the person standing behind someone, like a strap was loose or a belt was loose, and it wasn’t the person who had the strap or the belt lose was in trouble, it was the teammate. They said, hey, why didn’t you help them fix their belt, you saw it, why didn’t you do anything about it.
Jairek: And it exists in so many teams and organizations and companies…
Jairek: Where I might be worried about myself but I look over and I see the fact that you missed something but hey it’s not my job so why should I care about it.
Jairek: How do you start to train a mindset, where people care about each other and their goals and their actions and results just as much as their own?
Mark: It’s easier to build it from the outset than it is to change the culture, that’s for sure. In the seal teams, this was just hammered into us, the team trumped the individual and then the mission trumped the team. So mission first, team second, individual third. The way it played out in your scenario, like for instance, if someone’s gear was all screwed up and it was going to compromise the mission, then it’s my responsibility to make sure that, that guy’s gear is squared away, right? And I know that, if I’m looking out for him and someone is looking out for my gear, right?
If you’re done with the training evolution, you take care of the team’s gear first, then you look to take care of your teammates gear and when you turn around to take care of your gear you can be sure that if everyone’s following this principle, it’s already taken care of because someone has already taken care of it for you. It’s an extraordinary way to operate. Now, in an organization, this is completely foreign in a way that, you know, in the past structures, right? So, one great model that worked toying with this Cabalocracy which is creating a flat organization where you have, it’s very much like a seal team organization where you have a circles instead of a hierarchal structure and these circles comprises of a real core function and the team members then have total transparency and total accountability to get the job done that the circle is responsible for. Each individual has a primary role which hopefully is aligned with their personality unique gift, like it’s what they love to do, they’re not doing predominantly what they don’t like to do, they’re doing predominantly what they do absolutely are meant to do but that doesn’t mean they don’t jump in and help out the other teammates when the task needs to get accomplished and so just like in the seal teams, you know, if we had a mission and my job was to do this as a leader, it didn’t mean I wasn’t trying to do anything else. I did my job first, some people supported me on that, but then when I had to go out and build a rubber duck or throw a bird out of an airplane with a parachute on it, you know, that was an all hands evolution, you can bet, even though I wasn’t required as a leader to get on and help out building that duck, that I had my hands on that and I was helping the guys out. So the leadership will get down on the weeds and get busy when they need to and that shows that they’re part of the team and they’re there in a more of a coach/mentor role, and now the team is working really well, they’re solving their own problems, they don’t need to surface every single thing that goes wrong up to the head shed, they really become a semi-autonomous, self-managing unit and only when there’s a sticking point, or if there’s a decision that they know truly is beyond their capacity, because of their financial impact or change of direction, only then do they go to the next level up and say, hey listen, we need a decision on this, right?
It’s an extraordinary process and it really kind of mimics what we did in the seals, it’s what we do here at Seals headquarters, but ultimately and I think really getting to the essence of what you’re talking about, it comes down to the character of the leader to humble themselves, to truly not have to have all the answers. In seal teams, the way that works for us, is that I command as a leader, and I might be the least experienced person on the team, yet I’m in charge. But if I go in there like a bull in a china shop, telling people what to do, I immediately lose all respect, right? I have to go in, with kind of an open heart and say okay guys, you’re the experts, so in this situation, you’re leading the charge and I’ll take hit if we make the wrong decisions, you know what I mean and I reserve the right to make a call if I have information that’s different that you but usually they lead, they say, check, we got it sir, we got your back, let’s do this and together lets crush it. You really humble yourself to not have to have all the answers, to open up to, maybe the decisions or the ideas will come from other folks.
Jairek: One way I heard it said a while ago, that was interesting is some people think of, hey, if you look at old school like kingdom, stuffs like that, one person thinks as an unevolved leader, I’m the kingdom so you’re here to follow my instructions, do as I say or I’ll kill you. An evolved king says wow, I’m here, therefore I’m responsible for everyone here, so let me know how I can serve you best.
Jairek: And I think this falls under that evolution where the person who’s the leader, wow, I’m here to serve the team and the mission, what can I do to serve and how can I best organize this to make sure everyone serve at the highest extent. It’s a really neat way of going about it. That’s awesome. Reading through your book, there are lots of different techniques from box breathing, to having mental clarity and the mental gym that you create, I don’t know which ones you like to share most often, but if there was one or two techniques that really stood out for you personally that helped you through some of the toughest times that…
Jairek: Obviously when I heard about seal training, there are some moments there, even in the camp you guys produce, the Kokoro Camp, I watched the video, the first thing you do is a 45 minute plank. I remember thinking, I remember yoga class, I got a 3 ½ minute plank, I think my arms are wobbling, my shoulders feel like it’s going to blow off, I didn’t even know what’s going on, so 45 minutes is logically, I’m trying to wrap my head around it, like, how do you make it through some of these things, it just seems insane physically, but I think as a business owner, I think, as a mother or a father, there’s going to be moments in life..
Jairek: Which pretty much feels like you’re going to pop. What are some techniques that can help people get through those moments? Some of your favorites.
Mark: There’s 4 that are iron clad and I use these 4 in seal training, I use them pretty much in everything and I start teaching them right away. In fact, I got an academy going on right now, and I’m watching them out in the grinder here.
And we did a 20 minute plank, the very first thing they did. I mean, they showed up at [8:30], checked in at 9 o’clock. I went in and said, I didn’t even say hi, I asked one of them to give me a number between 1 and 30, he gave me 15, I said, okay, out in the grinder, lean and rest which is the cushion position and we stayed there for 20 minutes, like I gave them a 5 minute bonus and they all did it. And none of them had ever done anything more than a few minutes, like you in a plank hold. And the way I got them through it, it was like I coached them through in the process what I call these big 4 skills. The first one, is breath control, so that’s where box breathing comes in, box breathing is a way that practice breath control, so that is essentially, really collapsing your folks to just the deep inhale through your nose and a deep, deep exhale and this essentially triggers your parasympathetic nervous system which is shutting off your fight and flight, so its calming your down. Most people get in those situations, they start breathing through their mouth and they are completely unaware, and they’re sapping their strength. So breath, is the first skill, getting control of the breath, slowing it down, breathing into your nose in through your belly, and getting a full measure of fuel and what not. Now, the breath also provides the link to developing mental control and I don’t have time to go through all that, but that is the ability to concentrate deeply on the right thing at the right time and to focus on it with laser precision, and then to ensure that the content of your mind, the right content, so it’s not being interrupted with negativity or doubts or fears or anxiety, okay? So you control your physiology with the breath and then your breath then links to your mind then we learn how to control our mind and we tune it with positive cues, positive language, which is the second skill. I call it positivity. The beginning of that is just changing the internal dialogue, it’s something your dad talks a lot about, changing both of this together can be the same as changing your state, when I went to one of your dad’s seminars, he was big on changing your state, while changing your state is changing your physiology and changing your mind, changing your thoughts and you can do that with how you move and how you control your body, how you control your breathing, and then they can control your thoughts. So for us, the skills are box breathing or breathe control and positivity. Now, positivity has, you know, I can spend weeks talking and teaching that, but that is the most basic level I call feeding the courage wolf which means using a keen awareness to always be paying attention to negative thoughts, negative energies and always interdicting them and shifting them to positive, to feed that courage wolf. The third skill is imagery, so if you’re in the lean and rest and you know you’re talking to yourself, like holy shit I can’t believe this, how long have I been doing this, my arms are shaking and you’re going to have all these imagery that comes up that is going to be like a train wreck. You’re going to be feeling weak, if you were able to take a motion picture of what’s going on in your mind it’s going to be a disaster, right? Doom and gloom. You’re going to be looking weak to yourself, so if you shift that imagery and you deliberately replace with super powerful imagery and the image that I had the guys use this morning was that they were a steel beam, right? So you’re imagining yourself as a steel beam, you’re breathing deeply and now you’re talking positively to yourself and the words I used this morning, I had a few of them, but one of them was, easy day, we’ve got this, who yah! Inhale, exhale, easy day, we’ve got this, who yah!, inhale, exhale.
And guess what, the 4th one is called micro goals, having a goal, okay, 15 minutes, I got to have 15 minutes, that is your micro goal, how are you going to make it through 15 minutes and you’ll need to rest? One minute at a time. So instead of just doing one minute at a time, which I think would have really not been a great way train this new group. I basically had them focus on something else for a period of time. For instance, I would have each go around a circle while on the lean and rest had them tell me their wife or being at the academy, have them tell me how they’re going to change the world by aligning with their purpose and those things. What was happening was everyone was listening to everyone else, while they’re listening they’re thinking, how does that relate to me, interesting. Wow, that’s cool, maybe I could use some of that, so by the time it got to them, it’s been two minutes and we’ve gotten through another two minutes.
Mark: So to summarize, those skills, which you recall every one of them from the book, breath control positivity, visualization, and micro goals, they are what got me through seal training. And what I’ve alluded to skill training being fun, and just dominating it, those skills were why, those were others, but those were the key. It’s extraordinary what happens when you just don’t think about these or read about them, but you practice them every day. In fact, Jairek I would say that’s probably the biggest thing or difference between what I do and everyone else does is that I’m not just trying to teach your some cool trick or some hack, I’m telling you this takes work, it takes discipline, training every single day, just like a martial artist doesn’t become a master just by thinking about it or taking a one weekend course. Its discipline work every day. It’s hard, but it can really be fun and really worth it. When you get over the initial hump of the resistance and then it starts to get really rewarding, really fun.
Jairek: I think there’s a curve that happens at some point, where in the beginning, when you miss it a day or two, oh I got to relax today, but as you start going, you hit a curve where you miss it in a day, something just feels off.
Jairek: It’s like my heads clouded, my visions weird, it’s like something’s wrong, what happened, and oh shoot! I didn’t do my thing today. And when you go through those 4 steps, and you go through the routine, it’s like the world is open again, I see life again, its amazing.
Mark: The more you master it, the less time it really takes because you’re able to anchor those states in and you’re able to like, for me, 5 minutes of box breathing, if I’m travelling, profound shift! I’ve got a whole process that I go through, while I do breathing, and then I’ll do the positivity, then I had my imagery and my imagery is all tied to my vision for myself and my business and I do some sematic movement, usually what I call warrior yoga and that’s all I need to do, I can it while I’m on a plane, I can do it while I’m driving, except for the movement part. I try to do it every morning, what I call a morning ritual, then I do an evening ritual, and then if I get an excellent workout in, which I try to do also every day, then I’ve had a good day, you know what I mean? It’s an incredible (?).
Jairek: Fantastic. You mentioned something that I think is important and I believe in it as well, especially since I’m recently married, I realized how much more important it is to have it right. A lot of people are starting catching on to the morning ritual and having a morning routine, why an evening routine?
Mark: I look at it like a bookmark, ultimately what we are trying to do is develop the capacity to use our mind more effectively, right? I mean, yes, it’s more than mind but the mind is the executive-action that’s driving this show right? It’s not like our body just happens to show up at the gym, you know what I mean?
Mark: Ultimately, we are training our mind. The morning ritual is about training our mind on how to use your mind in the future state, so morning ritual is about energetically preparing your body for the day, that’s preparing for the future, preparing the win in your mind by visualizing yourself go through every major thing that you’re going to do today and also ensuring that those things on your task list, those meetings, those projects are in alignment with your purpose and are going to move the dial forward so you’re not wasting time. For instance, if somehow a game of a round of golf showed up on my schedule and I have a few important projects to do, I would literally say, there’s my chance to send a text, send an email or call and say listen, I really can’t just afford the time to go play this round of golf. I haven’t played golf in 20 years because I can never justify the time. It’s just an enormous amount of time, for me.
So the morning ritual is about preparing to win in your mind for the day and to crush it and using all those skills that we talked about. The evening ritual is about how to use your mind in a plus state. So hang with me here, in the evening ritual, we do some more breathing, this is more breathing to calm us down instead of charge us up for the day, so this is a slightly different version. A little bit of pose work to align our body, get the kinks out from the day. Then the visualization is what we call a recapitalization, which is a look back through the day and we go back and re-visualize everything that happened and we find the wins, we make sure we benchmark the wins in our mind or a journal and we find the things that we screwed up and we learn from them, we make sure we don’t drag those to bed like a kettlebell, so that if we have a negative programming of some subconscious thing to keep us awake and we basically use every day to gain momentum in our learning and our growth.
What is cool about this is that those two practice are deliberately training your mind like I said to use itself very effectively in a future state so that when you execute during the day, you don’t have to be in a future state. You don’t have to be in a sense of I wish I could, or I desire this. It’s no, you’re just working with laser-like focus on those things that are going to move the dial toward the vision that you had in your mind’s eye. And then in the evening you’re training your mind to work in the past day in a productive manner so that you could kill what doesn’t belong and choose what to bring forward in a positive form of a lesson learned and momentum, right?
Then you can also execute really well, really effectively in the present, the next day because you’re not having these regrets, these negative energy about what you screwed up the day before, right?
Jairek: That’s awesome. That’s very awesome. I heard I think it was Bob Proctor or one of these guys, they said something, the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night are the two most important things that cross your mind because whatever you think about last at night you’re going to sleep on and think about subconsciously all night long and wake up with to start your day.
Jairek: So this routine would make so much sense, to say hey, at some point you have to stop input of information that life’s pounding into your head.
Jairek: You shut off the world and hey I’m done. I’m going to go take time to clear my mind. You said having this routine physically, mentally and emotionally re-centers you. I like what you said about using what just happened in a really productive way, I forget the word you used, it started with an “r” I think
Mark: Recapitulation. You know, most of my training comes from some warrior tradition, obviously elite navy seals, yoga is a warrior tradition, most people think yoga is spandex exercise. Traditional yoga is not, it’s a science of the mind and it was used for warriors to prepare themselves like mastery, just like the martial artists use zen and the martial arts to master themselves. And so I’ve trained for 25 years in various martial arts traditions, 18 years in yoga, and then I was a Navy seal for 20 years and so a lot of my learning comes from those traditions and I devour any book I can find around those subjects and the ancient Toltecs had a tradition that a young man, like imagine us being 17 Toltec warriors and were really excited to join the warrior class, because that’s what we did, but before we can join the warriorhood, the warrior brothership, we had to do a recapitulation of our entire life.
Mark: And what this meant was we went backwards in time visually one day at a time and we visualized every single thing that had happened to us in our life and we made peace with it. We cleared the energy, made sure we understood the lesson. You had a coach, they had a guide who’ll work you through this, almost like a therapist, all the way back to birth, and it took about a year. Now, guess what they were doing during this process? Not only were they clearing all that energy, all that baggage, so that they were completely clear of heart and mind when they went into battle, but they were also developing an enormous visualization capacity and as you know the ancient traditions all leverage visualization for healing, to understand their purpose and where they need to go in life and to achieve the things that they needed to achieve. I look at visualization as kind of the next frontier for us all because it is like another language, it is the language of our subconscious, it’s the language of our heart, it’s the language of intuition and it’s the language of our spirit. Sensations and feelings are also part of that language, but visual imagery is a big one and we need to learn how to do it because just like you need to learn how to speak English or Japanese, you learn how to speak that language and so that where the mind gym comes in. It’s more effective to learn imagery and visualization if you create a mental structure like a classroom. You’re going to be more effective to learn English if you have a teacher, either online or a real classroom to go to. It’s the same with visualization, so the mind gym is to create your mental training space and every time you go there it adds a little bit more energy and structure to that so that you can go there and do your work and it’ll hold your attention. So it’s partly developing your concentration, partly developing your imagery and then when you go in there in your mind you actually do the work whether its healing or you know what or to visualize your future me, stayed of who you want to be and in your ideal state as a human.
Jairek: That’s awesome, that’s amazing. One thing you said that is interesting is those young men going back and using this techniques. I think this is something that I don’t know if you every thought of it this way but I certainly related as a guy who’s in my thirties, looking at life, certainly knowing my strengths and weaknesses and growing as a man. I relate to your material in an interesting way when I read it, I remember my dad and I were in Africa and we got a chance to visit the Masai warriors and there is a unique ritual where a boy becomes a man and I think were missing in the United States or Canada or Australia or some of these first world countries were missing this transitions rituals, they just don’t exist and for some reason, when I saw your book and I started reading it, and looking at your camp and different things that you have available for people to go through, it almost came across to me, like wow! This is much more than just this. Like, this would be a fantastic transition ritual for young people trying to find themselves. Because mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, I mean, it prepares you for life. In a way that really, there’s not a whole lot out there that does it in this specific way. I remember, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, the ritual of the Mesai, just the two second summary, they literally have all the men dress up, paint their faces in warrior paints and at [2:30] in the morning, they sneak into the house of this young boy, who’s like 13-14 years old, they rip him out by the ankle, they threw a sack over his head, kidnap him, all the women cry like he’s been stolen by warriors or someone. They drag him out to the middle of the forest. When he gets out there they drag him, beating him up a little, they pull the sack out and he realizes it’s his uncle, his cousin, his brother, his dad, they have a little ceremony for him and then they leave him out there in the wilderness for an entire year and the purpose of him being out there in the wilderness is to learn how to provide for himself, how to protect himself and how to feed himself. The thought process is, if he can’t do this for himself, he can’t do it for the village and if he can’t do it for the village, he’s not a productive member of the community. Therefore he shouldn’t be part of the community.
Mark: Yea, right, it’s still (?)
Jairek: It’s incredible. I was like wow! I remember my dad elbowed me at that point, oh, there was a final test before my dad elbowed me. The final test was he had to learn how to kill and bring home a lion by hand. You’re 15 years old and you got to drag home a dead lion and by hand to show that you can protect the village because it’s a grazing village, it has cows in the middle then women and children in huts, then a picket fence and the men sleep on the ground outside to protect the whole village against lions at night, who were trying to get the cows. So if you can’t kill a lion by hand, you can’t protect the village, you shouldn’t be there, you’re going to be a liability not an asset.
So I remembered at that point my dad elbowed me and said, want to learn how to become a man, yet? I looked at him and said, you want to be learn how to become a man, I’m going to leave you here, then he started laughing but obviously you’re not trying to train people how kill lion by hand but I looked at what you’re doing and I read your work and I heard about the Kokoro Camp, different levels from mind training to the book level, all these different trainings you had and it felt very close to home to me in that sense, of this being an incredible asset to use even if you’re pass the young man age, you’re 50 years old but you’ve never went to that ritual yourself or you’re 20 years old trying to find some way to graduate yourself and elevate who you are, I think what you offer will be phenomenal resource for people like that.
Mark: Yeah, in fact that the only place that, that really happens unless you are lucky enough to have an incredible father or mentor figure who takes you to through your own boy to man crucible which does happen but it’s kind of rare. It’s really the military in particular, like special ops, so when I started Seal fit my original vision was to help young men become seals and we have an extraordinary success rate, 90% of the guys who come train with me, end up becoming seals. Contrast that with the stats of the average.
Mark: Inredible, yeah, so this stuff works, but you’re absolutely right, so as my vision has unfolded, I realized that what I’m doing with seals, I got a lot of coaches now, we got a lot of energy around, so it’s gone way beyond me, is a great model to bring into high schools and so were starting to take it through the sports teams and we do this six hour crucibles which are like mini-Kokoro Camp.
For the folks that are listening, Kokoro Camp is our version of El week, its 50, five – zero of non-stop physical training, no sleep, rigorous hard core, cold, wet, tired, sleep deprived, non-stop training and through that crucible experience you realize, a) you can’t do it if you just rely on your physical and b) your mind gets fatigued and tired so it’s not really about the mental either, although that’s critical, ultimately becomes a spiritual quest, right?
And then the second major insight is that you’re capable of so much more than you think you are, we call that the 20 X factor. Like you can do 50 hours, everyone on this call can do Kokoro Camp but they’ve got to train for it and the third insight is, you can’t do it alone. You have to be willing to ask for help and sometimes that’s the most powerful insight, whether your 50 or 15. We don’t let 15 year old go through that program but you know, not only do I not have to do this alone, I can’t period. And as entrepreneur, a lot of times, we go through this and we think, I’m a sole practitioner, not in the sense of trying to start a sole practitioner business but like the leaders tends to put themselves on an island and feel like they don’t have any support, even I did that for a little while in the beginning. That’s a big flaw because ultimately we need the support of our team, we can’t do it without them and we need to get behind them or underneath them and push them forward and prop them up and do all those stuff that we talked about earlier. So that’s what happens in the Kokoro Camp, its pretty extraordinary and there’s a kind of a streamlined version that we call the 20 X program, that is where we’re trying to work with the younger generation in the parietal (?). A kind of no shit threshold event between boyhood to manhood and there’s a hunger for it, I think in our Western societies.
Jairek: Yeah, there’s nothing really here for it. And I saw that just in my own experience. Wow! This should be incredible to be in a position for people looking for that kind of traditional ritual, of that experience in life, to evolve through and to have an experience with its incredible. I want to thank you for being so generous with your time today and sharing so much and showing those specific steps with people listening in I’d love to ask two final questions. One, is just a personal thing I like asking people, which is, well, I’ll save that one for last, but before we ask that, I want to ask, just on behalf of you, for sharing so much, if people love what they hear and they heard stuff that stands out to them, they want to try one of these camps out, they want to learn of how to get more involved, they want to do the mental training, or the book, where do they go, where can we find you online?
Mark: Online, there’s two properties I have that are probably the best place. The main one is sealfit.com, no navy just seal, I hope I made that clear. A ton of really, really cool videos, a ton of content, my weekly blog, reams and reams of really cool free content. I highly recommend, everyone, give us your email in the opt-in form then we send out a lot more content and TV episodes every week, its super cool stuff and it’s all like really inspirational and I teach all these principles through that.
Now for people who want to go deeper I encourage them to look into my unbeatable mind academy which is an online course. It’s like earning your black belt online, and the first session is 12 months long and you literally work, you train with me in the silent course, and you have the option for a monthly call, a group coaching call with me, that kind of stuff. Then you have a community of other people who are working on these principles, everyone’s practicing box breathing, everyone’s practicing working the mind gym, everyone’s working on the positivity, everyone’s working on their goals and working on their ethos and their stand and working through all the different warrior disciplines that I offer and its super cool. If people want to get physical, that’s where the sealfit academy comes in. We have 3 day academy, you can come live with us on site out here in California, train for 3 days, we have 5 days, we have for special ops guys, we have a 21 day and then we have the 20 X programs around the country so a lot going on. There’s sealfit.com and then the unbeatablemind.com is the other one and that has less information, it’s more of a direct conduit into that course. And of course, I’ve got 3 books, one was the Way of the Seal that you read, another one called Unbeatable Mind and then the third one is my physical training guides called 8 Weeks To Sealfit.
Jairek: Very cool.
Jairek: Thank you and people watching us, just to recap there’s “8 weeks to sealfit”, “Unbeatable Mind”, “The Way of the Seal”, those are available on the website, also I’m assuming Amazon, Barnes and Noble, so bottomline, definitely buy those introduction, definitely check out unbeatablemind.com, sounds like a great program, I’m going to have to check it out myself. Also, the sealfit website is awesome and I maybe putting together a small group of people to come join you in that at some point in the near future.
Jairek: You warned me though, this isn’t something you take lightly, people get their ass kicked right out of it all the time they weren’t’ really prepared so if you’re going to do it, take it seriously, really put in the effort, really do the training, ready make sure you’re ready for it and its much more than just a physical experience, like you said it’s a mental, emotional, eventual, spiritual experience if you let yourself go over there.
Mark: That’s remarkable
Jairek: My very final question, and it doesn’t have to be anything crazy or special but I would like to ask people, what is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Mark: Gosh, how much time do we have left? (laughter) just kidding
Jairek: And that was the easiest question to wrap up with, usually it’s you know it’s this. I know it is really a big question but I save it for last, and I think its fine. Whatever stood out to you, just something that meant a lot to you, that’s helped you in some way or something that just moved you in a moment you need it.
Mark: I learned from initially the Grandmaster Culture, Makamora was his name, that our potential as a human is radically accelerated or radically enhanced when we can merge our heart and our mind in our actions and so this is the first person, you know the first time, for my little pea brain as a westerner 20 year old kid that anyone ever talked to me about heart, like heart-mind, the power of the heart to help you make wise choices as opposed to just clever intellectual choices and the questions how do you do that, the whole idea of merging your heart and mind is behind the word Kokoro, that literally means the warrior spirit or to merge your heart and mind into your action and I believe that this is so necessary for our business leaders today to be able to connect with their heart and when they’re making decisions not just think cleverly not just use their brain, because the brain veers towards negativity and the brain usually operates in first or first and second order dimensions whereas the heart can feel it’s way towards third and fourth dimensionality and you’re going to make very different decisions when you can merge your heart and your mind and use them together for decision making. That’s probably one of the most profound insights and lessons that I have learned in my life. And one I practiced and worked on every day because you know, it’s a lifetime of practice.
Jairek: Yeah, that’s amazing. I love that lesson. And it’s so, so important, so many of us people, I think, with box breathing and some of the techniques you shared, if you ever get caught in the moment where you’re struggling, and you use the technique you breathe, you focus and you drop into your heart, all of a sudden that answer becomes so clear, when before it was fuzzy, and you couldn’t figure it out, what an amazing lesson. I love that.
Well, thank you, thank you for taking the time to join us and show us such wisdom and insight with us. For everyone listening, please make sure to go to sealfit.com, go to unbeatablemind.com, pick up those books, join those programs, check them out online and thank you so much for tuning in to another amazing episode JRCTv, we look forward to seeing you all next week.