Q&A with Mark Divine
This week I am going to take a pause and do something different. Some of you may know that I run an online integrated warrior-leader development program called Unbeatable Mind. Part of this program includes a higher end coaching / mastermind group that I get to do private webinars and Q&A calls with. I have come to really enjoy these sessions because I get questions I have never considered, and have the opportunity to think about my training and philosophy through the perspective of the people who are using it every day. Since I also get a lot of questions on social media, but rarely have time to address them, I decided to take some of those questions and answer them in this BLOG! Here we go:
From @Chase_Call1 via Twitter:
Q: Is Grinder PT a set of workout videos where you follow along? Or just movement standards? Looking for a daily challenge.
A: Hi Chase! Grinder PT (or GPT for short) is a SEALFIT team training method that includes a number of mostly body-weight exercises performed to a specific standard, and led by someone trained in the protocol (a SEALFIT coach). It is also very effective as an individual training method.
We use Grinder PT at our SEALFIT Academies and Crucible events such as KOKORO Camp, as well as at our HQ gym and it is one of my personal favorite tools for integrated fitness. Key elements of Grinder PT include team communication training, mental toughness development, strength, stamina, endurance, durability and work capacity development and awareness training. It is particularly effective for practicing SEALFIT’s “big 4 skills of mental toughness.” I know that all these outcomes may seem like a lot, which indicates just how effective this training method can be when done well and with the right intentions.
Oh yeah, and we also have a video series of select killer Grinder PT workouts led by myself and HQ staff. It can be found here…
From @abundantfamilyfarm via Instagram:
Q: How do you focus your energy to overcome the temptation in the moment? Looking for what you do specifically.
A: I believe that the quality of our lives can often be dictated by the quality of the questions we ask ourselves, and our ability to believe (and take action on) the answers that our higher self provides. So when tempted, the process I use is to take some deep breaths, connect with my higher self (a process that can be trained), observe the mental and emotional gravitational pull toward the object or subject of temptation. This craving, or urge, is natural since we are wired to move toward pleasure and away from pain. As I observe this movement toward pleasure (such as “I really want that second piece of chocolate cake”) or away from pain (such as “I don’t feel like training today”), I insert a question: is this good or bad for me? How will I think about myself or feel if I do this? What impact will this action have on my reputation? My energy? My health? My relationship? This becomes a moment of mindful meditation with some internal dialogue. As I note the responses, I associate opposite pain or pleasure with the thoughts. So, if I am tempted to skip a workout, I will answer the question “What impact will this have on my health and my peace of mind…” honestly, and then I begin to associate pain with missing the workout (to counter the pain formerly associated with doing the workout). When the pain of “not doing” exceeds the pain of “doing,” then I am motivated to do it. This takes some practice, but is pretty darn effective, in my experience.
From Marco via Linkedin:
Q: What is the name of the theme song on the Unbeatable Mind Podcast and who sings it?
A: This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions. The song is titled Lock ‘N Load by Madison Rising. They wrote it to commemorate the long line of SEAL operators, from the UDT to today’s SEALs. They are a great group who really support the military and readily gave us permission to use the song. By the way, we added the “Aroo, Aroo, Aroo” at the end…the warrior shout from the movie 300!
From Eddie V. via Facebook:
A: Well, reading a book is the first level of training and what I call the “first download” of the content. You downloaded source information, that doesn’t mean by any stretch that you fully understand it at a deep level. So, the next step is to connect deeper with the principles through personal experience, aka training, where you learn that you don’t really know much about them. This is the “second download” of information, which can be humbling but is a critical step on your journey of self-mastery. At this point, you would feel compelled to connect to the source of the knowledge by attending a live training event if one is available.
The Unbeatable Mind Retreat is such an event where you would connect with me, other Unbeatable Mind coaches and the team, as well as thought leaders associated with the Unbeatable Mind philosophy. At the live event (in this case the retreat), you will receive a direct transmission which will help you take your training to the next level…a “third download of knowledge.” Another benefit of the retreat is that you will connect with a team of other Unbeatable Mind practitioners, which will allow you to see how important a team is for accountability, motivation and problem solving. The team will help you take your training to an even a higher level…where the final downloads will occur turning knowledge into wisdom.
From @SpartanOwner1 via Twitter:
Q: Is the point of meditation to become identified with stillness/the witnessing mind? Is that a good intention to have for meditation?
A: I am glad you asked this question! Meditation is more than downloading a mindfulness app or using a Muse bio-feedback device. Meditation has many nuances and purposes. The first step is to use a concentration technique to develop focus and learn to sustain that focus over long periods of time. Next, we want to develop our awareness, which is essentially the ability to take in more important information while we are concentrating on something. This is how a SEAL can focus on a target, but also be aware of a potential threat when it pops up. This process uses a different mental exercise where you will identify and connect to your witnessing mind, and remain connected to that aspect of your mind while you perform other focused tasks. This skill is what the Tibetan Buddhist’s call the “simultaneous mind”. Finally, we seek to develop the ability to remain super present, without attachment to anything in the future or past, as a goal of stillness meditation. At this stage, our minds are prepared to leverage other techniques to develop spiritual depth, emotional maturity, and integrated enlightenment.
From @Guinness Turk via Twitter:
Q: Any suggestions on books about Shaolin Monks? Seem to be right up your alley.
A: If you want an American’s perspective, one book I enjoyed on the subject is American Shaolin, by Mathew Polly. It is a pretty funny, sometimes irreverent, look at the author’s year spent training at the Shaolin Monastery. The book takes a look at their training of the monks, their cultural attitude and what the monastic martial arts life is like for modern warriors. I get the sense that the modern Shaolin temple is not what it was like in ancient times. Today the students are training for performance, whereas in the old days they were training for war.
From bodywarefare_crossfit via Instagram:
Q: Anger sometimes is so strong that even breathing and silence can’t calm you down. If mantras and stuff do not help, what advice do you have for “first respond”?
A: Yes, anger can be a challenging energy to bridle. But don’t discount mindful, controlled breathing – that is an essential first step. I use the 3-breath rule – take at least three deep, 4-count tactical breaths, to interrupt your patterned response to whatever triggered the anger. Then, instead of going “silent,” I recommend doing something opposite of what you normally do. So, if your normal response is to tighten your body position and lean into someone with an angry face, consider taking a step back and assuming a neutral, quizzical look…as if puzzled that this anger is coming up.
Changing physiology and perspective is a good second step after the breathing. Next, activate the Unbeatable Mind witness process, whereby you will detect the negative input, interdict the dialogue and then re-direct your mind to something more positive. When this happens to me, what I end up doing is re-directing my mind to thoughts around being in control of how I think and feel, and that negative anger can only hurt me and others. Then I will continue to maintain a positive orientation by looking for an underlying hurt or grievance that was triggered. I will seek to understand what has happened, rather than just staying in the story of the anger. I will ask how I can learn and grow from this incident? How can I use that energy of anger to build, rather than destroy? I have learned that anger is neither bad or good, it is just energy. You can take the negative energy of anger and turn it into the positive energy of determination. A SEAL who is angry that things are not going well, will interdict and re-direct that anger to remain on target and focused, fueled by a deep determination to win.
From @badlucklacey via Twitter:
Q: Who has been your favorite guest on the Unbeatable Mind podcast and why?
A: There have been some extraordinary people on my podcast, and it would be really hard to single anyone out. I will say that Ken Wilber, founder of the Integral Theory movement, was terrific, and his work has influenced me a ton. And recently, I enjoyed Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, because his ideas got me out of a distraction rut and on to writing my next book.
That’s it for this round of Q&A, thanks for your attention and support! If you’ve got a question for me, post it on social and you may see it next time…