Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed


Clint Murphy Mark Divine


Mark Divine, Clint Murphy

Clint Murphy  00:00

Mark, welcome to the growth guide podcast. For our listeners who may not know you. Can you provide them with a Coles Notes version of your history and feel free to talk about your pivot from being a CPA, which is something I’m also doing at this stage of my life much later than you did?

Mark Divine  00:19

That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s kind of a fun place to start. Unlikely CPA actually was much more comfortable and had a lot more fun in the Navy SEALs, if you can imagine that. But I’m from upstate New York, small town and went to a place a university up there called Colgate University which is considered lower Ivy. So pretty good school athletic focused. I was a competitive swimmer and rower there and a triathlete. I grew up spending a lot of time outside and just loved you know, that kind of outdoor lifestyle, much like you Canadians in British Columbia, and up in your area, especially when I grew up in the 60s and 70s and 80s. We didn’t have a lot of distraction, Internet, and what happens today. So you know, I really enjoyed spending time outside and spent a lot of time with my sports. When I got was finishing up Colgate, my all my peers were heading down to New York to get jobs, I was actually groomed to kind of come back to the family business, which is in upstate New York. I’ve been around for over 100 years. But I saw that the jobs these guys were getting and it looked kind of fancy, right, you know, their suit and tie, and they’re making a lot of money. So I thought, Hey, I wonder if I could do that. And so I took a flyer and put some applications in with some of the same companies and I got picked up by even though I was like a 2.8. And all these companies were hiring, you know, no Harvard MBA types. But someone saw something in me a company called Coopers and Lybrand, which became PricewaterhouseCoopers. You’re familiar with them. And it was a program called the Masters of Science and accounting program is a cohort. So there were like six or seven universities, seven of the Big Eight firms back then there were eight of the big accounting firms participate in so we went to NYU as a cohort to get our masters that kind of because we were all liberal arts graduates, none of us had an accounting undergrad because Colgate didn’t even have an undergrad program. So their thinking was, hey, we’re going to we’re going to hire undergrads who are liberal arts students, we’ll send them to get their masters accounting, that will qualify them to become certified public accountants, if they pass the exam, then what we’ll have is a potential for a more well rounded partner, who’s not just a technician. And ironically, it did work like one of my best friends from Colgate came into the program when he was at Ernst and Young, which was actually Ernst and Whinney at the time. And now he’s global chairman and CEO of Ernst and Young, his name is Kamala Sylvia, he has to prove their point, but he may have been one of like 10 of the 75, who stuck around. Anyways, I ended up getting my MBA in finance, got my CPA exam. But the most significant thing that happened to me during that four years while I was working for Cooper’s and I switched over to Arthur Andersen was early like within months of me getting New York I was, there was something unique about the way I grew up. Or maybe it was just my spirit that said, I wouldn’t ever stop training. I just felt like I was a lifetime. Trainer, athlete warrior. I didn’t really know what it was, I now know that it was my connection to the developmental science of yoga. Like I think that in a prior lifetime, I obviously I was a yogi, because that developmental path says, you know, it takes 1000 lifetimes to find yoga. And Yoga is a path of you know, and I know this is probably jumping right into this, people are going like, Wait, where are you going with this? It’s the way that I understand it. And it’s not the stretchy, bendy studio yoga that we’re talking about is the science of total development of the human body mind spirit system, which requires deep dedication to physical and mental health and optimizing the mind to unlock the vast potential. So I didn’t recognize that wholeness, but it drew me to martial arts when I got to New York. And I was like, because I was running in the morning and I was going to gym at lunchtime when all my peers were going to get in their high carb lunch. And I was trying to find something to do in between my work and school at night, which was that down at the World Trade Center, in my view. And so I had a two and a half hour block and I was thinking, What can I do? What can I do? I got to train and I stumbled across a martial art studio. And turns out the Grandmaster was a Zen master. And Zen is yoga. It’s the same thing. Zen came was the Japanese version of Chon, which is Chinese version of concentration training or dharana, which came from the ancient yoga traditions of Indian Tibet. And so I started practicing Zen at 21 years old along with the martial arts and also continuing my athleticism as a triathlete. And will all while I was getting my MBA and CPA so I was a little busy during those years. Like, I know, it was the Zen though that changed that really had the transformative effect. Now we know a little bit now about neuroplasticity, and stage development of human beings and how especially in the earlier ages, like your brain isn’t fully developed until mid to late 20s. And furthermore, your brain can develop forever, never stopped developing unless you stopped developing it. And but what is development in the West, we always looked at it just as academic or skill development, whereas the Eastern models like Zen, and yoga were about consciousness development, like expanding your capacity to perceive more, to have broader perspectives to open the heart mind to open the gut, or the biome mind to be able to use these deeply empathic and intuitive skills for your decision making. And also insight or direct perceiving information that you just is not cognized in the normal, rational, linear way that the Western training of the mind would have you believe is the only way that thinking accrues. So Zen started to open me up. And I started having these major shifts in perspective, and I started to see that the story that I was living that had brought me here to New York, to become a CPA MBA to get make a lot of money, and then maybe someday go back and transform the family business and take it public. All that was a story that was fed me it was this part of my construct, it was all a mental construct that I had bought into lock, stock and barrel. And by sitting there and developing the powers of concentration, Zen accrues over time, and then also opening up into this mindful awareness space where I could, I could begin to watch my thinking without being engaged in it. And you start to see patterns and you start to see what you know, what’s real in your life and what’s not real. And I started have this deep sense that I had set myself down a path that wasn’t right for me. It was the condition path of my childhood in my family, and even my culture, and even my college. And so I started to ask better questions, and started to wonder, like, if not that, then what? If that’s not who I am, then who am I? And so I would go, a ponder these pretty deep questions of self awareness and kind of barreling into an existential crisis at 22 years old, you know, like my midlife crisis at 22. And like, go Holy shit, like, I’m heading down the wrong road really fast. And as my meditation matured, I was able to without trying, or I should say it this way, when the trying stop, I would find myself in a deep state of just pure nothingness, you know, wasn’t experienced, per se, it was just completely here, not checked out, radically aware, but not thinking, the Japanese call that mu m, you know, mind, it doesn’t mean you’re unconscious, it just means you’re there, but you’re not actively thinking you’re perceiving. And in those moments of just directly perceiving, or what I call the field of awareness, I started to experience sensations and imagery. And they were all of like, what I would call a warrior type, or warrior archetype. I started to feel like I was a warrior, I started to see imagery of me of me being a warrior. Now, this could be like, just fantasy, or it could have been a past life imagery, or could have been a future I don’t know. But I started to get the sense that I was meant to be a warrior. And so I started thinking about that as like, okay, so Navy Seal, or not Navy Seal, but CPA, is that a warrior? And I was like, No, I didn’t feel like a warrior to me. I mean, it could be as you know, you could like there’s certain individuals that are like warriors and CPAs. But I didn’t perceive it that way. So I started asking if I’m meant to be a warrior. How could I be a warrior? What would that look like? And this is where I learned about synchronicity, and reinforce certain other things that had happened in my life already, because as soon as I started asked that question, I was literally steered to a Navy Recruiting office while I was walking home from work one day I live walk past this navy recruiting office and suddenly I’m staring at this poster that said be someone special in the head Navy SEALs doing really cool shit. Didn’t say anything about the Navy SEALs, just guys jumping out of airplanes and free falling and they had this little mini submarine you know, guys locking out of this mini submarine in the night and little sniper in his hind sight, and I just sat transfixed, and I just knew that was as bad as it. That’s me, like, that’s me and that poster. So that’s us for a short story, cliff note version as a long version. I decided to become a Navy SEAL midway through my MBA CPA journey in New York. And it took about two years, right to actually get into the seals after Officer Candidate School. So in November of 1989, after that process, I finished up my MBA, I literally got my CPA certificate in the mail, I tested and pass my first degree showed on black belt test, and I left it all behind, went to Officer Candidate School. And then I went to buds in April 1990 and graduated his honor man number one in my class, never looked back.

Clint Murphy  09:52

There’s a lot to chew on in there. One of the things that you said that will be very powerful for the listener is When you said you started to be able to see your thoughts, and not identify with them, which is a great mental tool for people to be able to tell or bring into their life to add to their toolkit, what does that look like for you? And how do you help people be able to stop and say, Hey, let’s look at your thoughts that are happening, and only give permission to those ones that are real, not everything that’s coming in here. And you have an acronym for this, I believe, as well, I do.

Mark Divine  10:35

Yeah, the direct method, direct or direct. And that’s from the way the seal. That’s right, there’s a simpler one. But first, let me talk about it is both a tool as well as a really important developmental stage or attribute, right, that accrues to anyone who embarks on this type of mental development. If you don’t develop the skill to be able to stand off from your thoughts and emotions, then you’re always going to be caught up in them, you may have the metacognitive ability to through journaling, or planning to over time to see how your thinking and actions are kind of have gotten you into a situation. And that’s an important skill as well. But I’m talking about in real time, while the thoughts and emotions are arising, if you’re not actively constructing those thoughts, they are a pattern and that pattern get triggered. And, you know, they claim we have 60 to 100,000 60,000 100,000 of these thought patterns every day. And the default mode, which is why they call it the default mode network is for these just to play out thoughts just occur to you. And then the minute this that microsecond, they occur, they slip into memory and you take ownership of it, you say, Oh, I had that thought. The reality is these thoughts are just running through your head. And so it’s really crucial to develop the capacity to be the observer to witness them. So with that direct process, I say, first step yourself, the way I teach this is in your mind’s eye, using visualization first, you literally like create a partition of your mind like a hard drive, Partition a Hard Drive in the left and right hemispheres and you walk, you have a mental image of yourself as the observer, or I call it the Sentinel. Remember that in the book, the way the seal as you walk yourself over and you set up shop in the right hemisphere of your mind, this is all again, in your mental imagery works. And you set up shop like either as a sniper or just an observer with a spotter scope or just sitting on a chair watching and you’re looking over at lefty, Lefty being the rational analyzer thinker, you know where most a lot of these thoughts are coming from, or being perceived cognize, the cognize self. And you do this first in a practice setting, meaning like you do it as part of your meditation morning meditation, and I have a whole continuum of practice that I teach. This starts with the arousal control, then goes to the tension, controlling concentration, and then into this mindful awareness where you set up this witness. And over time, though, it becomes a real time, practice with you, wherever you are, like you can use it as a moment to interdict, like, something’s going wrong, pause, breathe, witness what’s going on, and then redirect your thoughts to something more productive away from the destructive patterns and liberate that. And then eventually, as you get really effective at this, then the witness comes online full time, and you are always in a standoff mode from thoughts and emotions, and you’re never getting engaged in them, and you can let what doesn’t serve, you just dissipate, or you can forcibly eject it. And you can then reinforce what’s positive and necessary, and or choose something else, right. So it’s a really powerful form of attention control, and also willfully directing your mind where it needs to go, based upon your circumstances or situation. And this has both obviously, short term immediate, like crisis response, benefit, and also long term life trajectory. You know, if you’re 1% off, you’re gonna end up in the wrong city type stuff. So you’re always able to course correct because you’re always watching is this the right action does this thing that’s happening to me, move me closer to my future, my desired future are further away, and course correcting and it becomes kind of a real time, day to day thing. It takes a little bit of time to develop the skill, but it’s incredibly valuable, both from a practical, tactical perspective, but also it develops in you a great sense of confidence that you can control what you need to control, which is your response to the world, to other people and also to your own conditioning. And most people are out of control. They’re reactive and the conditioning that they’ve been trained with their life through their family of origin and through schools and culture itself. leads them to be always in reactionary mode, always kind of on this tumultuous roller coaster of swinging wildly between pain and pleasure and fear and and happiness.

Clint Murphy  15:01

It’s as Viktor Frankl said it gives us that space between stimulus and response that’s really puts us in control of what we do versus our mind controlling us in our lives. In one of the beautiful stories that you shared there and talk about synchronicity I wrote about this in my newsletter last week, having not read the book yet. And so two wolves story. Do you want to share a little bit about that? How you talk to people about how to use that in their lives? First I wrote about last week.

Mark Divine  15:32

Absolutely. So the wolf is very potent animal. And for me, it’s very powerful animal in my life, because my first pet was a full wolf hat, my actually half wolf half million,white, beautiful white, blue eyed dog, and, and she was with me for the first 17 years of my life, the amazing dog. And later on, when I wrote unbeatable mind, this theme of the wolves kept coming to me, and even my training at SEAL Fit, I would know, let me let me say it this way, when I developed SEAL Fit, and I started develop these principles that I wrote about in the way of the seal, and then also unbeatable mind. I do a lot of the training, from my experiences with Zen. And then later with the, you know, deep yoga practice and Tibetan meditations, I’ve done meditation. So basically, the Eastern practices of breathing and visualization and mindfulness and concentration, and non dual awareness and all these things, and trying and trying and trying so many different things. And just discarding what didn’t feel right, or was foofy, and just finding what works for me. And all of that I was doing just for myself. But then when I started to transition away from being a Navy SEAL as a warrior, and I started to feel the archetypal urge to be a warrior, teacher, and scholar even I cited while these are things these are skills that I’d like to teach to other warriors, because it’ll make them better. Like it had an extraordinary effect on me like it made me honor man and my class and a phenomenal leader, because I was more aware, and I had greater situational awareness. And I was super common to pressure all these skills that were really valuable for Navy SEALs, yet they weren’t teaching them. And so I said, I want to teach these to my Navy SEAL compatriots and future warriors. So that’s where SEAL Fit was born. So when I started the teach, I originally was using some of the language and cultural context that I learned the skills. And these Navy SEAL candidates and other military operators who were coming through my training would just look at me and roll their eyes. And a lot of them also were Christians who were like, oh, that’s can’t I can’t do that. That’s, that’s against my religion. And they didn’t really know what they were talking about. But I respected them as they Okay, okay, so we’re not going to talk about yoga anymore. We’re not going to talk about any of these spiritual development or whatever, we just strip all that stuff up. And I’m going to do is just use English language and very practical names. And I’m going to describe what these skills will do for you to make you a better warrior, a better leader to pre resilient to basically make you more survivable. Right. And when I did that, I call the TAKING THE FU out of the Kung Fu. When I did that, they just lapped it up. They’re like, this is great, you know. So for instance, I started teaching, you know, box breathing back in 2006. If you Google box breathing, you’ll find my name all over it, and I wish I could have trademarked it, but that’d be kind of silly to trademark breathing that nobody was teaching it back then. And now you know, everyone’s talking about it. Even Brene Brown references in her book, she didn’t give me credit all she should. So that’s an example box breathing though, for me is not just one practice. It’s a series of like six or seven practices all kind of wrapped into one, one practice. Same thing with like the asana, the asana, most people think of yoga they think of a yoga studio with spin, you know, Lululemon and stretchy bendy. That is simply the exercise that the yogi’s did to prepare themselves for the deeper work of, of concentration, meditation, visualization, etc. So I call the exercise I call it integrated movement. And I developed a bunch of drills that took some of these asanas that were really valuable, especially as they related to spinal health, opening up the spine, working with the energy body, you know, the chakra systems. And I started to develop these a whole practice that I called choral yoga, but I didn’t call it that until later. I just said this is integrated movement practice, and it had elements of, of traditional yoga asana, and all of the practices had breathing and imagery work and meditation with movement. And so you see things from Qigong. You see things from Tai Chi, you see things from CrossFit and you see things from yoga asana, and they’re all of which can be done, you know, in your bathrobe, right next, you know, beside your bed or, you know, drive up to a park and there’s your studio right there. And that I started teaching that to the seals. And then I develop all of these tools and processes into what became unbeatable Mind a whole holistic system for optimizing and evolving yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, intuitively and spiritually. And that became the five mountains of development. So over time, as I started to teach these things in this very kind of westernized way, it turned into an entire system called unbeatable mind. And that’s where these books and stuff came out, because I was like, the system was having extraordinary effect on people, like the Navy SEALs, for instance, when 90% of the Navy Seals and special operate other special operators who trained with me, and did you know, adopted these tools and methods, 90% of them get through Navy SEAL training, most people know by now that the average hardcore guy who goes to try to become a Navy Seal, 85% of them fail, the 85% drop rate, well, 90% of our athletes were getting through training. So there’s something about this was really, really a powerful to the point that now the Navy Seals have adopted these tools and are starting to teach them at Budds, which is pretty cool. I lost sight of the original question, but.

Clint Murphy  21:03

No worries.

Mark Divine  21:04

I went down a pretty deep rabbit hole there.

Clint Murphy  21:05

Which I love. Box breathing, for those who don’t know what it is, can you share a little bit about why we do it. Now. I’ve been doing it for about a decade I do it every day. I even like I habitually while we’re talking. I do it as a way to calm my mind when I’m listening. So what is it? Why do we do it? What are the benefits of it? 

Mark Divine  21:24

Yeah, first, I did remember the original question was about the courage wealth. So let me finish that not related to bucks breathing. So when I was trying to teach these seals, some of the mental skills, especially those that come from, like positive psychology, and also shadow work, right, like Shadow Work is is really powerful. But one of the reasons that talk therapy often doesn’t work is because it keeps the attention on the negative. And that what you give attention to actually grows in energy. And so I use that story of, you know, the Native American elder talking to the grandkids saying that there’s, there’s two wolves in you vying for your attention. The Wolf of fear lives in your head and The Wolf of courage lives in your heart. And they’re always fighting and one of the kids says, Well, which one wins and the elder says, well, whichever one you feed the most. So I have you know, a section in my book, you know, got to starve the fear Wolf and feed the courage Wolf, you starve fear by just not giving it attention. You ignore fear. Now, I don’t mean that like have someone in front of you carrying a hatchet you’re just gonna ignore the situation what I mean is things that you fear like the coulda, shoulda, woulda was the cancer in the wounds, you know that I’m not good enough, don’t give it energy, what you want to do is give energy to the opposite, like to start to move toward the opposite of that, and talk to yourself positively about doing that we stake your claim I used to say fake it, you make it you stake it to make a stake your claim that you can do that you will do that you are that and just keep giving attention to that and keep moving closer and closer, edging closer and closer until suddenly you are that and you’ve done that and you know that beyond a shadow of a doubt and fears was a false evidence or a false expectation that appeared real to you. So feeding the courage Wolf is a way to develop a positive mindset. And we know from Kinesiology and like Dr. David Hawkins work that negative energy is very very crippling right to the nervous system and to the your overall well being. And on the whole mind body connection we know that a little bit our science community and about Western or Vedic and, and Chinese medicine you know, we’re all about this like if you are talking negatively yourself, or if you think negatively about yourself, you’ve got a bad self image, then you are quite literally hurting yourself, your energy level is going to be stuck in a lower level of vibrational quality that vibrational quality is going to be either attract or allow disease or you know, dissemble meant to occur within your body, right? It’s not going to go well over the long term. Whereas positive energy and constantly moving yourself toward positive energy starting with courage, courage is the gateway to the higher stages of positive thought which would be like acceptance and forgiveness and love universal love those types of thing. It takes courage to step out of anxiety and fear and shame and guilt and jealousy and greed to go into acceptance and forgiveness and the higher level so it’s a courage the doorway so always feeding the courage, Wolf. Anytime you feel negative energy, or you’re engaged in a conversation that’s negative, like gossip or something, you just say no, I’m not going to do this. And you just step away, you mentally step away or you physically remove yourself, and you feed the courage wolf with positive dialogue. Now this is a form of mental training, but it requires that you’re also physiological in control of your body. This is where bucks breathing comes in. One of the reasons I’ll probably the main reason I should say that a lot of people fail or have difficulty with meditation, especially if they start with my Mindfulness is that their body is in a state of hyper arousal, from all the crush of commitments and all the content and social media and constant distraction that had been trained into us as human beings. So when I tried to teach meditation to my clients, especially the Navy SEALs early on, they were just agitated all over the place. They just couldn’t sit still, they were distracted, their eyes are opening their heads bottom Iran, they had that kind of monkey mind. So I thought to myself, and I went back into my research and talked to my teachers on the yoga side. And they said, Yeah, it makes sense. Because that type of training in the ancient days, like the Zen master would say, Okay, you’re not ready for that. So go wax on wax off, go paint the fence, right, go do the preparatory work to get your body in shape, and to get to bleed off all that stress. And then we’ll move into the concentration phase, and then we’ll move into the mindfulness phase. So box breathing is a very simple practice of controlled nostril breathing, where you’re breathing deeply into your nose to a count of five, and it can be four or three. But you know, generally, I say, five, and then you’re holding your breath for a count of five, and you’re exhaling for a count of five, and you’re holding your breath for a count of five. And it’s very simple. There are other breath patterns, you know, people will say that the 578 breath pattern is more common. Sure, but this is a practice meant to be foundational for also concentration, mindfulness and visualization training. And the five by five by five by five pattern is very, very balanced and stable. So it leads to a very, very calm, clear, balanced, stable psychology, which is perfect for leadership, especially under stress. Physiologically, what’s happening, the inhale through the nostrils does a couple of things. One, it slows the ear down, it breaks it into the two channels, which stimulate the energy systems called noddies, left, right? The right and it stimulates the left hemisphere of your mind. And right now it stimulates the right left, left, right, you know what I mean? Right stimulus left, left in this right. And furthermore, you know, the hair gets all the, you know, toxins and particles out of the air. So you’re not breathing that stuff. When you breathe through your mouth, you get a lot of toxins into your lungs, you’re warming the breath up, so or cooling it down. So it’s doesn’t shock your system, which helps bring your system into balance. The most profound thing or two most profound things versus though is it, when you breathe through your nostrils, you release a little trace amounts of nitrous oxide, which helps your blood deliver the oxygen to your cells, you don’t get that when you breathe through your mouth. And then probably the most important is when you breathe through your nose, it tends to lengthen and slow down the breath, and you use your diaphragm more and you relax your belly. And so that whole movement is a massaging movement that massages that vagus nerve, and the vagus nerve when massage activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the rest and digest and it counteracts the sympathetic nervous system, which is fight or flight. So if you’ve been trained, or you happen to have trained yourself to breathe through your mouth through lack of awareness, and especially even when you’re working out, then you are constantly in a state of sympathetic activation. And you can still perform fairly well. But you will have confidence, you know, compensatory things. So your hormones will be out of control, you have too much cortisol in your system, you’ll tend to not sleep as well as you could, you’ll be on alert, super alert, you probably drink too much coffee, you might have to drink some alcohol, or take some sedatives to go to sleep, all of these things are taking you in a very, very direct path, out of balance and into a situation where you’re going to be burned out or, you know, overweight or not performing optimally. So just the act of Buck’s breathing, can bring your body’s system back into homeostatic balance and bleed off all that excess stress that you build up. And also, what happens is when you’re in this constant state of hyper arousal, which our site society seems to, like force on people, your parasympathetic pathway tends to atrophy. Research just came out in the last year, year and a half about this, that system atrophy and you get stuck on like all on in sympathetic mode. So he imagined just the disaster this is for people, right? Box breathing gets you back physiologically in control, and guess what your brain is part of your body. So if your brain is back in physiological balance, then you’re going to have the feeling of being in psychological control. And you’re going to have less thoughts racing in your head, you’re going to be really capable of getting into that alpha, high alpha, low beta state, which is optimal for deep work for meditation, for visualization work. And so at that point, you can start to go deeper into the mental skills. 

Clint Murphy  29:45

Something that jumps out at me when you mentioned meditation, there are a lot of lot of our meditation teachers will say, Hey, don’t adjust your breathing while you’re meditating. Just breathe normally. Focus on your breath. I personally always do box breathing when I meditate because I just find combination of meditating with inbox breathing. And I replace counting numbers with my mantra, that’s I’m concentrating on my mantra. And my mantra takes about five seconds, Nami pad may hum. And I just repeat that.

Mark Divine  30:16

that’s a brilliant practice, that’s a stacked practice that you’re getting the arousal control. The attention control is the keeping your mind hooked on the mantra while actually hooked on the breath and the mantra, but that those become one, as you know, that’s where it comes from one thing. So that’s a concentration practice. So the attention control, that’s a skill, the other side of that skill is being able to hold your attention for long periods of time on just that. And then the third part of the skill is when your mind either splits attention, or completely wanders off the reservation, you can notice it really quickly and snap it back. Less so it back. So these skills are arousal, control, attention, concentration, and the bringing back are incredibly valuable, right for productivity. And also for just presence, the ability to stay with people, like when you’re in conversation, you’re not like, you know, checking your phone, or, you know, thinking about the next thing or thinking about you’re gonna say, but they are also what you stumbled upon is that was all that was the path, right? So the path, the way we teach it is, first you got to get your physical stuff in order, right. So that means dial in your exercise, dial in your nutrition, dial in your sleep, reduce your stress with Box breathing, and other stress management skills and get your physical structure and your basic psychological structure. slap sound insane. Now we’re going to go into attention control and concentration to really gather up the power of your mind that you’ve flittered and wasted by sending it to those 60,000 or 100,000 thoughts a day, that most people have really lost a lot of their power, or they certainly haven’t gathered up the power into a very powerful laser beam like thought stream. So attention control and concentration using a mantra or imagery is extraordinarily important to gather up all your power. So you can direct it like a laser beam on your object of attention, whether it’s a creative project, or reading a book or launching a business or just you know, your kids. But then after that, when you want to go to the deeper stages, by the way, you we then can work with imagery too. Because once you have that powerful thought stream of energy, now we can turn that inward and activate imagery, and we use imagery to clear up our past and to create a powerful visual image of our future or a memory of a future that is desired. We call that the future me and unreal mind. So that’s imagery work is also a former use of that mental power activated with imagery. But there’s a point in time where I found that in order to go like next level stuff, you have to stop all that efforting. Stop controlling your breathing, you have to stop the mantra, you have to let everything settle down. It’s not the place to start your meditative practice, because you just will simply get nowhere. But once you’ve developed the stability and the concentration power, like you have 10 years of practice, now it’s time to stop the efforting. Right. So so a practice would look like this. Like let’s say you have a 20 minute practice or a 30 or 40 minute practice, keep do the practice the box breathing mantra for half of it. And then allow yourself to just stop everything like a fly will your mind slowly spin down, the breathing will calm down. That just allow yourself to be breathed instead of taking conscious control your breathing. And as your mind starts to spin down, because you you know, floodlight, lots of light, pinpoint pucker and light, it takes a long time. It’s like a choppy ocean takes a long time for that to calm down. But when your mind is concentrated, and it’s like a laser beam, when you turn off the energy, the laser beam, all those other thoughts aren’t there. It’s just that one thing that needs to go away. And you have suddenly access to sacred silence. And in this sacred silence, you find what everyone’s really looking for. You find the reason we’re here you find source. And you can’t find it through efforting. You have to get past the efforting to surrender. The Yogi’s tradition calls it sthira suka Stears effort, suka surrender. You don’t start with surrender. You start with effort. So it’s important. That’s why Zen is important. But at some point, you got to stop the efforting and surrender. It’s like the you got to do it’s like yin and yang. Another metaphor is like our western culture is, is got some incredibly valuable components to it, but it’s 50% the equation, it’s all young, it’s all action biased. And because of that, we’re doing a lot of damage to the environment and quite frankly could destroy civilization if we don’t rebalance with the in with the recovery and the receptivity and the Creativity and the inclusiveness that a lot of the Eastern and indigenous cultures have. So we can train this in ourselves, as leaders, or as you know, just for personal development, through this non efforting just being okay with just being here. And the three ways that that experience of just being here now in present has been described, it’s called such a Nanda being, knowing and bliss. But it’s not knowing something, it’s just knowing this is not being somebody, it’s just beingness. And it’s not bliss and happiness is the peace that passes all understanding.

Clint Murphy  35:39

Most Beautiful, and that’s the calm side of of ourselves, we are going to pivot directions. Now on us here Mark is, in principle eight mantra I’ve always had in my life principle eight in way of the seal being think offense all of the time. Something I’ve always looked at it is I boil it down to one simple word, I’ve always used attack. And it’s just the way I tend to approach my life, whether it’s physical, whether it’s sport, whether it’s my work, whether it’s becoming a podcaster, I just attack it with energy, vigor and relentlessness as my way to move forward in whatever I do. And you had a big lesson when you were doing the scars training that taught you wait a second, I’m not practicing principle eight enough. I’m on the defensive too much. Can you tell us the lesson you learned and how you came up with this principle of beyond the offense, which makes me think a little Cobra Kai, like Cobra Kai, I stole that one from you.

Mark Divine  36:39

But they did. I had a black belt. When I went in the seals. I told you that so I got my black belt, traditional karate, Okinawan style, you know, it’s like, punch block, kick, punch, kick block, duck, says offense, defense, offense defense. And I was at Officer Candidate School, and had a Christmas break, went home to see my family up in upstate New York, and I’m out at beers Eve at midnight with my brother and I go to this bar, you know, and I’m, I’m 23 at the time. And you know, I had a couple of drinks, but I wasn’t like, doing anything. You know, everyone else is crazy. And I was in office again at school, but I had shaved head and you know, blah, blah. Anyways, the bartender like, I’m a nice guy, right? And so I smiled at the bartender, and I said, How are you? Nice to see you can I have a drink? And she just looked over to the corner and said, Jamie, we got another one. And I had, I’m like, that was very strange thing to say. And out of the blue, this guy comes flying at me, jumps me from behind, and starts to choke me out and literally blacks me up. My brother hadn’t come in and pull them off. Like, I don’t know what and what would happen. And so I remember like being shamed by that and stunned, I’m like, I’m gonna be a Navy SEAL. And I got a black belt, and I just got choked out by guy like, half my size, what the heck. And so, months later, several months later, I go to buds, basic underwater demolition seal school. And literally the first week we started training in something called scars, special combat, aggressive, reactionary system. Aggressive being the dominant word there. The founder was a guy named Jerry Peterson, who has a whack job but a brilliant guy, Vietnam vet who had been had trained in San su Kung Fu for, like 30 years now, and are longer claims that he used it while he was in Vietnam, you know, to destroy tons of enemies and even with groups at a time. Like I think he was making a lot of that up. But the point was, the system have sent anyone who knows martial arts sense who kung fu is, was developed by the Chinese mafia. So it’s like, talking about extreme taking the food out of the kungfu. There’s no kados or dances or flowery stuff or uniforms. It’s just like, very scientific street fighting with economy of movement. And so they understood and the way Jerry taught it was offensive mindset. And targets like you attack a target and you know exactly what’s going to happen when you hit that target. You know, I know what’s going to happen to the human body if I strike him in the throat, or in the side of the neck or in the back of the neck. And there’s three different systems that I attack there. If I stick them in the throat, I attack the you know, the airway system has shut that down of attack on the side of the neck, I attack the circular system and shut that down. If I attack him the back of the neck, I get the electrical system with the spine. And so the system was taught as a way to like immediately take control of any fight by setting up the your attacker to be completely in your control. So your attacker might be throwing a haymaker or coming at you with a knife, attack or even a weapon. And depending upon their body position, they’re exposing a number of targets. And what you’re going to do is you’re going to select the most vulnerable target. And you’re going to understand that move that target, it could do a lot of damage, but it’s going to cause your body to react a certain way. It’s going to either send them for like, if I hit you in the solar plexus or the groin, you’re going to like literally lurch forward, extend your neck, exposing second most vital target of the throat, to me, and so I’m already setting up as I strike with that solar plexus or the groin, I’m already setting up for that second, most crucial target. So every fight was done within two to three moves. And so we started training this. And within like, a week or two weeks, Jerry came to me. He’s like, Mark, you got to unlearn that karate shit. I was like, just I’ve just spent four years training this karate shit, what do you mean, how do I unlearn it goes, it’s gonna get killed, because it’s at least 50% defense. And he was right. And so but it was very took a long time to untrain that, and then we did this 30 day, instructor course later on, when I was at SEAL team, 330 days, 10 hours a day of fighting with Jerry nonstop to get a 300 hour instructor certification. And that’s when I really finally got rid of all the karate and took on this, this fighting style is very extraordinary. But I learned that what he’s really saying is with offensive mindset and taking out the defenses, anytime, in your mind, psychologically, you put yourself in a defensive posture, you’re putting yourself also in a victim posture, where you’re being acted on by somebody else, where you are basically waiting to see what the cause and effect chain, you know, brings to you. Whereas the offensive mind says that you’re always the actor, even if the action is no action. Way, way means action, non action. So we want to be able to act without any real actor is spontaneous action. And that’s never defensive. It’s always offensive. You’re always in control, you’re always in charge. You’re, you’re the lead agent, you’re writing the script, and you’re acting in the play. And if once you train yourself to do this, it’s very similar. It brings in the aspects of mindfulness we were talking about earlier, is like, the way to do this is to develop mindfulness, but not passive mindfulness, act of mindfulness, meaning where you’re completely paying attention. You’re mindfully aware, but you’re not going to get acted on, you’re not going to have someone take advantage of you. Right, you’re not going to let a negative situation come in and just passively observe it and say, Oh, now everything’s fine. Everything’s in balance. That’s the way the world is, this is just happening. What you say is, though, it’s not the way my world is, it may be happening out there. It may be in that person’s world for this to happen, but not my world. I am in control of my world. And I get to choose the outcome of my world. That’s what offensive mindset is.

Clint Murphy  42:54

I love that. And something that ties to that I often see with a lot of bright people. Is this analysis paralysis, if you will, I’ve always had a personal mantra smart enough to understand how most things work dumb enough to take the action mark, and you

Mark Divine  43:10

are limited by action alone. But yeah, exactly.

Clint Murphy  43:13

Well, that’s where we’re going. Because you talk about you break inertia with decisive action, right? What does that look like?

Mark Divine  43:23

That to this doubt, is eliminated through action alone, you can’t ever have a perfect plan, like relearn that in the seals. And starting in buds, like, you come up with an 80% solution as fast as possible, including a super messy one. But then you just move but when you move toward that plan to execute that plan, you’re just doing the smallest thing. Know the smallest arc to success, the most valuable that you can decide on but also the smallest piece of that most valuable thing. And then you just do that. Then you do that you pause, breathe, assess the situation. This is where the OODA Loop comes in, you observe to see what happened. What were the results? What are the enemy do what happened, the environment, what’s changed in myself, my team, you assess the situation you orient yourself to that you make a new decision based upon what’s the next most high priority target or action to take that has the smallest path to success, where I can stop and assess. And then you take that action. That’s called the OODA Loop. Gun in Colonel John Boyd came up with that in the context of aerial to aerial combat. So we use the acronym pause, breathe, think and act but that think is the OODA Loop. observe, orient, decide and then act. So I use also the term PBOODA pause, breathe, observe, orient, decide and act we love acronyms are fun. I love acronyms. Yeah. And so this is about moving toward your objective planning on the fly. But it’s in the context of a good enough plan just to get started. So execute and then the rest of the doubt or VUCA is eliminated as you move toward the target using this mindset of PBOODA, dots eliminated.

Clint Murphy  45:06

And then tying to that some where I’d love to end it with you, as we approach the time limit mark is, we’re going to talk a bit about principle four, because it’s one of the most important things I think people need to know. And we’re talking the way of the CEO principle for do today what others won’t. So I want to share with you two of my mantras and a bit of the way I live life, because I think they really align with the 20x factor and embrace the sock and then we can riff on it a little to help people take charge of this part of their life. So with the Embrace the suck, I often write, be willing to suck long enough to be good, be consistently good long enough to be great. And with the 20x model, I often suggest people build their get shit done muscle is what I call it by accomplishing different difficult things in life, which is why I loved when I read yours, you tied it to physical things, which is usually what I do as well, because I say, if you can do an Ironman, you can figure out how to get to the C suite at work. If you can do an ultra marathon, you can figure out how to start your own business, because you’re teaching yourself how to get shit done. That is harder than average. And recognizing that what’s difficult for me is difficult for you is difficult for the person that’s listening to us right now. And they have to start where they are with what’s difficult for them today. How does that resonate with that chapter for you? And do you want to touch a little on what you want to see for people to be able to do today? What others don’t?

Mark Divine  46:37

Yeah, well, that saying came from the smokejumpers crude. We do today what others want. So we can do tomorrow, what others can’t. And what it means is just do something a little bit more than have too much 1% rule, when it comes to your physical training, do 1% More when it comes to your deep work, do 1% More when it comes to the time and presence, your intention, you’re giving your family do 1% more. And then you have that a compounding effect, like compound interest, you have compound energy, you have compound attention, you have compound productivity. Now, the other piece of that so there’s the the day by day, we call it a one day one lifetime, every day is an opportunity to do more, be more, to be better, and to do better. And at the end of that day, if it’s going to be your last and life on the planet, your content, right, you’ve got everything you need. You’ve done everything you could do. And your content. Now you you hope for another opportunity. But there’s no regrets. This is a no regret life. Now, to be a warrior and a true leader. And to really bring out the best of 20x yourself, then you also have to do something hard. Because 1% could be like, perceived as okay, I can do that. And it’s not hard. You should also do hard like, you know, do something that requires you embrace the suck. Until that becomes joyful. And so this is a process your body, your mind will comply, you can train your mind to do anything you want it to do. And if you want your mind to look at hard work hard exercise hard obstacles as joyful and playful, then train it to experience those things is joyful and playful and also necessary. And you can’t live without it. Like I said, You will train my team, my community, I say you You will find your training to be as necessary as eating and sleeping, and joyful. Even the hard parts. So embracing the suck and and doing today with other ones also means that you will use in a crawl, walk, run principle, do hard things, things that scare you things that you have a lot of resistance around things that you even fear. And you’re going to do these in a controlled environment, you’re going to do them with a team. And you’ll do them with a training plan. Coaching, right and so you will have all the support you need. And what you’ll find is that there’s a lot of other people like you who recognize the power the transformative power of doing hard things, and doing them together with a team. And so this is why we developed our crucibles at SEAL Fit because I learned this navy seal hell week like most people don’t think it’s possible to be awake for six days straight training around the clock doing insane things. Not only was it possible, but I was deriving energy and motivation as the week went on during Hell Week. So we have a 50 hour version of that was SEALFIT called Kokoro 50 hours nonstop, physical, mental emotional team training. It’s extraordinary. We just finished up one last Sunday. We have a 24 hour version, a 12 hour version of six hour version of that to give people a structured challenge. So I say Okay, start small so every week, maybe on a Saturday do something that’s hard but not impossible. Like a three hour we called a Monster Mash or you know, just a little suck fest, three or four hours suck. Let’s go out for a rock with your weight vest on. You know, do something hard. Once a month, do something like twice as hard as that that once a quarter, like, bring it, and then once every year 18 months, you’re gonna do something that is like, holy shit, I’m doing that, you know, like, like a 24 hour suck fest or 50 hour or you know, do something really, really, that scares you. And it doesn’t have to be physical. Although when you can combine physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and a new team event, you get this really powerful accelerant. It’s like adding rocket fuel to your growth. You transcend and include your entire former version of self and you get you just skyrocket out of those things. And you never look back, you have this whole new perspective about what life is about why you’re here and what’s hard. So we say there’s life before our 50. Our event I mentioned is called Kokoro. There’s like before Kokoro and live after and afterward. It’s just so much sweeter. I

Clint Murphy  50:48

love it as a great way to end it. And we went decently wide in the topics there. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to make sure you get across to the listener as we wrap up?

Mark Divine  50:58

First of all, thanks so much for this conversations. Brilliant. Love your questions, and I appreciate you reading the book beforehand. Awesome. Sounds great to meet you. And for all your listeners. Like don’t think that because I’m a Navy SEAL that I’m talking about stuff that’s beyond reach. Right? And someone will say Where should I start? Like, what’s the number one thing I do tomorrow? Box breathe. And your coach Clint here is doing it. You should be doing it. 20 minutes a day in your morning ritual we call winning in your mind before you step foot in the battlefield. Just start box breathing for 20 minutes. And pin your mind to that breathing pattern or use a mantra Om Mani Padme own I’m Tomas via feeling good looking good to be in Hollywood day by day in every way I’m stronger and better who Yeah, hey, those are some of mine. And you will just from that you will have extraordinary transformation, your body will come back into balance or feel much calmer, your mind will be much sharper, much clearer, you have much clarity of thought and your heart will start to soften. And it will give you great motivation to continue your training and practice and using cleanse other tools to sharpen your saw. And if you want to learn any more about our work, you can find me at Mark or unbeatable or Those are our three products. So

Clint Murphy  52:15

that’s where they’ll find you. We’ll have all that in the show notes as well as a link to the book The Way of the seal. It was a great read. Highly recommend to all our listeners who are still with us at this juncture of the podcast. Thank you for joining me today. Enjoy the rest of your day, Mark.

Mark Divine  52:31

You too. Appreciate you, brother.

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