We all have fears.
A couple of days ago, I watched a video in which ex-Navy Seal, Mark Divine, explained his theory.
Just in case you don’t know him, I will tell you who Mark Divine is.
“At twenty-six he graduated as Honor Man (#1-ranked trainee) of SEAL BUD/S class number 170. Mark served for nine years total on active duty and eleven as a Reserve SEAL, retiring as Commander in 2011. His leadership of teams was so effective the government tasked him with creating a nationwide mentoring program for SEAL trainees. Not only did it increase the quality of SEAL candidates, it reduced BUD/S attrition rate up to five percent.”
He’s written several books, but I’d like to share with you “Unbeatable Mind”, a book that tells us a lot of interesting and pretty useful stuff for our daily lives (even if you, like me, are not a Navy Seal).
Mark says we all have 2 wolves inside our brains: our fear wolf and our courage wolf.
As a human being, you have 5 times more probability of feeding your fear wolf than your courage one. Because of that, if you don’t feed your courage wolf with direct, clear, and daily actions, fear will take control of your life.
This phenomenon happens in our subconscious, so we don’t consciously know it because it is not taught at school (as usually happens with these things/knowledge…).
We just think about personal development when we have problems, but it’s by taking care of ourselves every day how we can enjoy a wonderful life, full of fulfilling moments.
Our default mode is the fear wolf. That’s how we get into the negative loop, the one that takes us out of risky situations, the one that prevents us from evolving, becoming a better self.
Courage means taking more risks in our lives.
Fear is living in the past or the future.
We all have positive qualities, but the negative ones cover them.
How can you work on your courage wolf, and beat the fear one?
It’s not easy, as you may guess, but Mark gives us a whole bunch of techniques in his book.
First, you have to understand the root and deeply internalize these 2 main concepts I’ve said above:
- Courage is taking more risks.
- Fear is living in the past or the future.
Most of us aren’t Navy Seals, but we, unconsciously, are having an internal battle inside our brains between these two wolves.
That’s why you have to train mental techniques day by day so that you balance your body and brain to get stress out of you.
TECHNIQUE 1: Breathing, Focusing, Witnessing
Marvin recommends 3 easy-to-do steps:
- Breathing. Learning and practicing breathing techniques is how we calm down our bodies and minds. Whenever we breathe correctly is when we can move to the second step.
- Focusing. Being able to focus JUST on the present, forgetting about the past or the future, is how we undermine our fear wolf, starve it, and feed our courage wolf.
- Witnessing. If you just see your thoughts passing, but you don’t get engaged to them, you release pressure and avoid worries and concerns.
The last 2 steps must be worked on using concentration and meditation techniques. It is so:
- How we begin reacting on autopilot mode.
- How our body and mind learn to respond when any unpredictable situation happens.
TECHNIQUE 2: Think, Breathe, Act
When we’re facing an uncomfortable situation, Marvin teaches us 3 steps that I’ve recorded forever in my mind:
If you follow them, the probability of success increases dramatically, reducing failure significantly.
Those are the steps Navy Seals use when they’re in combat.
If Navy Seals are risking their lives, how the hell aren’t we going to be able to implement these 3 steps into our “stupid” daily scenarios?
TECHNIQUE 3: Avoid attaching to material things
At this point, I’d like to share a Buddhist story titled “Release your cows”.
One day, after the Buddha and a group of monks finished eating lunch mindfully together, a farmer, very agitated, came by and asked: “Monks, have you seen my cows? I don’t think I can survive so much misfortune.”
The Buddha asked him: ‘What happened?”, and the man said: “Monks, this morning all twelve of my cows ran away. And this year, my whole crop of sesame plants was eaten by insects!”.
The Buddha said: “Sir, we have not seen your cows. Perhaps they have gone in the other direction”.
After the farmer went off in that direction, the Buddha turned to his Sangha and said: “Dear friends, do you know you are the happiest people on Earth? You have no cows or sesame plants to lose”.
We always try to accumulate more and more, and we think these “cows” are essential for our existence. In fact, they may be obstacles that prevent us from being happy. Release your cows and become a free person. Release your cows so you can be truly happy.
This is not a message against consumerism. It’s a message about getting attached to possessions, making them the one and only reason for our existence. That’s what’s dangerous.
Getting attached to possessions feeds our fear wolf because we begin to worry about the risky situation of losing them.
We shouldn’t be worried about losing our possessions. It’s our joy, our fulfillment, our health, our happiness, that should worry us.
TECHNIQUE 4: How to be able to do risky things
Marvin has a degree in economics and even an MBA from New York University. He had a finance career before enrolling in the Navy Seals.
Was he scared?
Of course he was. He has no problem admitting it. He’s a human being like all of us. Nothing’s riskier and scary than putting one’s life on the line.
How did Marvin overcome his fear wolf?
Here’s for me the highest piece of wisdom (it’s Marvin’s, not mine…) inside this article:
Looking at the regret of not doing instead of the fear of doing.
He could imagine himself, as an old man, and the feeling of regret for not having done what he should have done.
He was more afraid of that thought than even dying in combat.
That’s how our minds work. That’s how we process thoughts, fears, worries, and concerns.
When we compare our lives with those guys who are in combat, suffering all kinds of risky situations, pain, anguish, real anxiety, is when we should relativize our lives, scenarios, and problems because they are as hard or tough as we want to imagine them.
Let’s enjoy our lives and always remember these 4 wise Navy Seals techniques:
- Breathing, Focusing, Witnessing.
- Think, Breathe, Act.
- Avoid attaching to material things.
- Looking at the regret of not doing instead of the fear of doing.
Thanks a lot, Marvin.