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Run Toward Hard

Point to Ponder:

What area of/in your life do you run from instead of running toward?

Since the summer I've had my head buried in two books, one of which is Can’t Hurt Me by former Navy Seal, David Goggins. I’ve got two words—HOLY COW! This book is intense (and so are his word choices) and it smacked me in the face. I won’t give you all of the details because you’re going to want to read it, but David, now 44, likely overcame more obstacles than I’ve ever heard of. By the time he was eighteen, he experienced more mental and emotional trauma than most people experience their entire lives. Despite these challenges, Goggins still went on to become a Navy Seal, but this feat was only the beginning as he encountered grueling injuries and monumental hurdles. He went through BUDS School (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) three times, which is the maximum number of attempts allowed (injury and illness were the cause of not completing his first two tries). His life story is hard and in his book he shares the mindset that allowed him to push past obstacles and live a Maxed Out life.

I’ll be the first to admit, David is extreme and while reading the book there were times when I was screaming “STOP TORTURING YOURSELF!” but ultimately, David’s way of life, his mindset and his message made me believe every person can apply his approach to life (to some extent) and substantially benefit from it. In my words (and I think David would agree), we need to: Run Toward Hard. David advocates developing a "calloused mindset”, which is what happens when we consistently run toward hard—not just physical hard, but hard in all areas of our life. It’s allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable and pursuing the perceived impossible even when it's scary and hurts. Here are, what I believe, are David’s ten most honest, motivating and powerful excerpts:

1. Most of us are programmed to seek comfort as a way to numb it all out and cushion the blows. We carve out safe spaces—we take up hobbies aligned with out talents, we try to spend as little time as possible doing tasks we dislike…and this all makes us soft.

2. We live a life defined by the limits we imagine and desire for ourselves because it’s comfortable in this space. The limits we create and accept become the lens through which we see.

3. What you tell yourself is what matters. The most important conversations you’ll ever have are the conversations you have with yourself. You wake up with them, you walk around with them, you go to bed with them, and eventually you act on them—whether they are good or bad.

4. We are all our own worst haters and doubters because self doubt is a natural reaction to any bold attempt to change your life for the better. You can’t stop it from blooming in your brain, but you can neutralize it!

5. You’ll feel pain, but if you accept it, endure it, and callous your mind, you’ll reach a point where even pain can’t hurt you. There’s a catch, however. When you live this way, there is no end to it.

6. If you’re fortunate, life’s issues or injuries are relatively minor, and when they do crop up, it’s on you to adjust and stay after it. When distractions and setbacks occur, refocus your energy elsewhere.

7. The activities we pursue tend to be our strengths because it’s fun to do what we’re great at them. Very few people enjoy working on their weaknesses, so if you’re a terrific runner with a knee injury that will prevent you from running for twelve weeks, that’s a great time to get into yoga, increasing your flexibility and your overall strength will make you a better and less injury-prone athlete. If you’re a guitar player with a broken hand, sit down at the keys and use your good hand to become a more versatile musician. The point is to not allow a set back shatter your focus, or detours to dictate your mindset. Always be ready to adjust, recalibrate, and stay after it to become better.

8. The sole reason I work out like I do isn't to prepare for or win ultra races. I don’t have an athletic motive at all. It’s to prepare my mind for life itself. Life will always be the most grueling endurance sport, and when you train hard, get uncomfortable and callous your mind, you will become a more versatile competitor, trained to find a way forward no matter what.

9. The bottom line is—life is one big mind game. The only person you are playing against is yourself. Stick with the process and soon what you thought was impossible will be something you do every single day.

10. We are all leaving a lot of money on the table of life—without realizing it. We habitually settle for less than our best; at work, in school, in our relationships, and on the playing field or race course. When we settle as individuals, we teach our children to settle for less than their best…and the ripple effect flows into our community and society at large.

All in all, we can’t max out in life (and nor can our children) if we consistently seek comfort and run away from hard. If you’re a person whose most comfortable going slow, then run toward hard and and go fast. If you’re someone who likes to go fast, then run toward hard and find opportunities to go slow. Or, if you’ve been putting off a task, goal, dream, relationship or improving in an area of your life that needs improvement, choose to max out and Run Toward Hard!


Action Items

Challenge yourself and pick one thing you've been running from and start running toward it.


Weekly Prayer

Gracious God, Thank you for equipping me with everything I need to run toward hard. When I run toward hard and into scary and unknown, this draws me closer to you--deepening my need and dependance in You. Create a fearlessness and faithfulness in me that illuminates Your light. Amen

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