“The Demon that you swallow gives you its power, and the greater life’s pain the greater life’s reply –
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
If Joseph Campbell is correct, then we want to constantly wish for challenges and hardship… big challenges. The kind of challenges that will knock us down and leave us broken and bloody. This is always where our growth is; outside our comfort zone!
The vital next step after experiencing pain is choosing our response. Taking [‘response’ ability] for how we react to a stimulus. Warning: If you’re okay being mediocre, then following the advice which is meant for men and women who seek greatness will leave you anxious and depressed. Please, please, please ignore the wisdom in this note if you don’t plan on proactively choosing your response to the emotions you feel throughout your life.
For those of you seeking greatness, when you apply the learned skill (and it is definitely learned) of stepping between stimulus and response, changing your perception, and alchemizing your misfortune into fuel for growth, then your personal growth has no bounds.
What differentiates great people from average people is this antifragile mindset. Average people avoid challenges because they don’t have the tools to cope with the pain that obstacles create. For these people who choose a mediocre life, it’s better for them to avoid pain and discomfort because it will break them and leave them with PTSD. Better to dull their life with drugs, alcohol, and meaningless entertainment so they can happily ignore their call to greatness.
In contrast, great people scream for challenges. Nothing is a threat, only a challenge. They see the world differently; they are never the victim, always the hero of their life’s journey. They scream, “Bring it on”, “I love pain- pain leads to growth”, “I’m excited, not anxious”, “obstacles make me stronger”, to whatever comes their way. They are able to do this because they have trained their mindset to endure and celebrate whatever comes their way.
So, can we learn this mindset? Simple. follow these steps. When? Every moment, of every day, for the rest of your life. We will never arrive. Being great, like all things is a process not a destination. We will never be exonerated from this process– we either are growing or dieing!
That’s Mental training in a nut shell. Good luck and start ‘pining your trident on every day’, Navy SEAL style!
1. Read positive messages. Eliminate negative messages. Soak your mind in good thought until you have a propensity for good thought. What did you read this morning? Listen or watch something positive? Describe and reflect on it in a single sentence:
2. Practice Mindfulness to create more space to choose your response to pain, discomfort, and negative thoughts: Meditate, take a deep breath, exercise, whatever is in your practice to clear your mind, create more moments of presence to step between stimulus and response to proactively choose who you want to be.What did you do this morning to create more presence? (i.e.meditate,deepbreath,stretch,smile):
Take Action – Journal: No feeling will change until you change a behavior. The first and easiest action you can take action is to reflect and journal on your response to different stimulus. This is why I journal every day; we need to keep our identity front-of-mind throughout the day so we can chose who we want and how we want to respond to any obstacle in our path. I often find myself day-dreaming about the person I want to be throughout the Step two, I share it with the world to hold myself accountable.
Take Bigger Action and Measure/ Reflect – You’ve already journaled so you’ve hit your “floor/small habit” to start building momentum. Now, you will be more apt to choose your response when these feelings/obstacles are in placed in your path. Throughout the day look for obstacles. Celebrate catching yourself lost in thought and practice choosing your response. I’m guessing your coach will help manufacture these moments throughout practice i.e. running sprints, getting yelled at, argument with teammate, embaressed on the field, etc. a
A Joseph Campbell Companion | By Joseph Campbell