Hello my friends today my guest is Commander Mark Divine. Mark is an amazing human being whose nickname when he was in the Navy SEALs, was Cyborg. In his class of 185 participants, 19 graduated and he was the number one of those 19 earning the Honor Man. He’s unquestionably a leader and a warrior and he teaches leaders and warriors.
We talk about how to transmute desire into certainty, how to achieve peace and contentment, how to live one day, one lifetime as a philosophy. I had the chance to hear first at a Tony Robbins event a few years back in San Diego. He later came and spoke to executives at our company and as part of that event he took us outside and had us all engaged in some PT, some physical training, and we went for a run and we did some of the stretching and some of these movement and breathing exercises, and I realized how much I’d missed that. Mark has written The Way Of The SEAL, Kokoro Yoga, Unbeatable Mind, and 8 Weeks to SEALFIT. I hope you’ll hear something in this interview from a man who has been around the world who has studied martial arts, meditation, all kinds of different trainings, but really gone beyond all of that and looking deep into the heart and the mind and the soul to find really what it means to be alive and effective as a leader in these challenging times.
00:03:04 – What’s life about?
00:04:38 – Ringing the bell in SEAL training.
00:09:01 – A moment of clarity.
00:30:04 – Officer candidate.
00:41:27 – Daily routine.
00:50:47 – Five mountains.
01:04:48 – Growing up.
01:23:14 – 50 hours of nonstop mental training.
01:26:23 – Lightning round.
01:39:49 – Questions about writing.
Bryan: 00:00:56 Hello my friends today my guest is Commander Mark Divine. Mark is an amazing human being whose nickname, when he was in the Navy SEALs, was Cyborg. In his class of 185 participants, 19 graduated and he was the number one of those 19 earning the Honor Man. He’s unquestionably a leader and a warrior and he teaches leaders and warriors. We talk about how to transmute desire into certainty, how to achieve peace and contentment, how to live one day, one lifetime as a philosophy. He also has started Kokoro Yoga. He has The Unbeatable Mind podcast. I had the chance to hear first at a Tony Robbins event a few years back in San Diego. He later came and spoke to executives at our company and as part of that event he took us outside and had us all engaged in some PT, some physical training, and we went for a run and we did some of the stretching and some of these movement and breathing exercises and I realized how much I’d missed that. Mark does 300 burpees a day in 2018 he personally did 120,000 burpees as part of an effort to raise funds to help end veterans who are committing suicide. Mark has written The Way Of The SEAL, Kokoro Yoga, Unbeatable Mind and 8 Weeks to SEALFIT. I hope you’ll hear something in this interview from a man who has been around the world who has studied martial arts, meditation, all kinds of different trainings, but really gone beyond all of that and looking deep into the heart and the mind and the soul to find really what it means to be alive and effective as a leader in these challenging times. Mark.
Mark: 00:02:39 Thank you Bryan it’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.
Bryan: 00:02:42 Mark. What’s life about?
Mark: 00:02:45 I guess it depends on who you are. Um, if you’re asking me for my perspective. Life is about fulfilling a specific calling or duty that you have and for learning and growing to your fullest capacity as a human being in this life, you have one shot at it one day when lifetime.
Bryan: 00:03:06 It sounds so simple when you put it that way.
Mark: 00:03:09 I know, well, I’ve been working a lot on simplicity, Bryan. It’s not easy to be simple. Um, it’s actually become kind of a practice for me. And that’s why I’m a little nervous about a two hour podcast. I think I might run out of words.
Bryan: 00:03:24 Well, if at any point you want to be done, we can be done. And that’s kind of a Navy SEAL principle, right? Training, right? Like, cause in fact that’s one thing I wanted you to tell me a little bit about. Well, the first time I heard you, you were on stage at Tony Robbins’ leadership academy. They’re in San Diego and yeah, you shared.
Mark: 00:03:47 By the way, the thing I love about Tony is I don’t have to do anything. Everyone is so amped up. I could come out and stage and just, you know, speak drivel and everyone would be like yeah!
Bryan: 00:03:57 Yeah, they do an amazing job creating and keeping state for sure. But your message, it really moved me. And one of the things that you shared about that time was you talked about the intensity of your training, uh, to become a Navy SEAL and in the buds training. And you talked about somebody who was in the program with you and you were both running to the water and the next thing you know, you look over and he’s running backwards toward the bell. Will you talk a little bit about, I know I’m just jumping right into a story there, but I’m reminded me cause you’re saying, you know, maybe we quit the podcast anytime. It’s always an option,
Mark: 00:04:38 I do have a ton of stories to tell. And I love telling stories, especially if they have a point. This story is about my friend Bill who I went through officer candidate school with and um, who was really gung ho to be a SEAL. And it has to do with clarity of purpose, which is, you know, kind of harkens back to what you asked me earlier. Like what’s the purpose of life or what’s the meaning of life, why do we exist? And one of them I think is to be clear about our purpose and then to act boldly toward it. Well, Bill thought he was clear about his purpose, but he clearly wasn’t clear about his purpose because he spent several years training to be a Navy SEAL. By the time I met him in officer candidate school, he was literally, able to run circles around me and uh, you know, we, I could beat him in the pool. So it was a competitive swimmer at Colgate University, but you know, he was a good runner and he has great PT. You know, he could just bang out 120 pushups in two minutes and crank out like 22 pull ups and like just destroy the minimum standards. So all sides where this guy would sail through SEAL training and you know, he had a college degree from Bucknell University and great guy, you know, really all around. Great Guy. Still is of course. And uh, the very first day of our SEAL training class, we know the first day is all shock and awe. The whole thing is shock and awe every day. But the first day is shock and awe because of what you bring to the table. Right? The instructors aren’t doing anything different. It’s just everyone’s scared shitless and so you, you just make it to be much worse than it is. And so I was, um, I was really getting into it. I was deploying the skills I had learned over the past four years. Um, and we can talk about this more, but predominantly, um, on the meditation bench and Bill was deploying whatever skills he had learned and they weren’t working for him. And um like, you mentioned earlier about an hour and a half to two hours or whatever into this crazy kickoff session, which was just all hell broke loose and we’re instructed to hit the surf and get wet and sandy and it was about a hundredth time we’d done that and he turns around and just starts running toward the bell. And the bell signifies, and when you ring that you’re done, you quit. And, um, you know, the, the soft underbelly of this is that in that dark moment, right? He couldn’t remember or couldn’t answer the question why he was there anymore. And to be fair, I’m glad he solved that puzzle on the very first day. Right. Otherwise, you know, he could have been in for a long and torturous road to figure that out after he, you know, got through hell week or maybe I know some guy who quit like on the last day of buds because he finally figured out that he did not want to go to combat and not want to be a SEAL. And I had a guy at SEAL team three who quit on us and wouldn’t go to a Desert Storm and basically faked being a conscious objector. So, you know, these are examples of lack of alignment. You know, this guy Bill was a great guy, but you know, when I talked to him later that evening, I said, Bill, what the heck happened? You know what I mean? You, for the last six months we’ve been training together and you’re gung ho and there wasn’t any, I didn’t see any chink in your armor. But the chink in the “why” armor is not on the outside of an individual, it’s on the inside. And of course I couldn’t see inside Bill, but inside he was all, um, you know, out of alignment. And when he had to answer that question, why am I here? He couldn’t answer it. And what he told me was in that moment I thought to myself, I really meant to be a veterinarian.
Bryan: 00:08:16 And he got clear in that moment.
Mark: 00:08:18 He got clear in that moment. You know, my hope is that listeners don’t have to go to SEAL training to get that kind of clarity in their life, but it does work by the way.
Bryan: 00:08:27 Well I know it’s, it’s sometimes small things and the small things can be the most significant things, but I was also impressed when I heard you speak. You shared a little bit about a moment, like it kind of a regulatory or an insight moment of your own where you saw a poster. I think you were in New York City that changed your life. Will you talk a little bit about what you were doing before that? I think you’d earned an MBA. You were a CPA, right? So you were going down this path of the corporate world, the financial world, and then you had a change of heart in way or maybe a moment of clarity. We will you share about that?
Mark: 00:09:01 Absolutely. Since you asked so nicely, you know, I was, um, barreling headlong into finance through accounting, through public accounting and consulting. You know, I grew up in a small town in upstate New York. My family has a business family. We have a business called Divine Brothers, which is over a hundred years old. Um, you know, it’s, it makes machinery and stuff, you know, equipment for industry. It’s about 300 employees and not insignificant, but nothing like LH, Miller companies. But I was expected to come back and be part of the family business. Maybe you can resonate with that. There was some, you know, expectation that was hard coded into our family dialogue and certainly wasn’t. Um, there was no like exploration of, of career options. No discussion of what could be possible for the future of, of us as siblings. I had two brothers and a sister, but there was a lot of what you shouldn’t be or what you couldn’t be. And military was one of those, right? The Divines aren’t military people. The military is for, for when you know, you’ve got no other options or you know, for people who really are failing in life. That was kind of the story at any rate. So, and Colgate University was also a liberal east coast institution. It’s a great school, but there wasn’t anybody in there who was going into the military. I think there was like one or two people every year go ahead in the military or do something like that might changed since I went, you know, eight, 1985. So at any rate, I kind of followed my herd of friends down to Manhattan and they were getting jobs with like Morgan Stanley and CitiBank and uh, and then also these big eight accounting firms, which are now like big four. And so I got hired by Coopers and Lybrand, which is now Price Waterhouse. And they had a program where they’re hiring liberal arts graduates who have no accounting experience and sending them to NYU to get a master’s degree in accounting. And then, you know, from there you’d be qualified to become a certified public accountant. So I thought that was pretty good deal. Now my parents of course were thrilled because they think figured, you know, I’d get three or four or five years, a great work experience, diverse background, public accounting, finance, whatever, you know, I come out of it with at least a master’s, but I was already planning on getting my MBA and I’d be a certified public accountant. I’d have all those experience and credibility and I could come back to the family business. It was like a win, win, win. So that’s what I did. I went barrel down there and I got into NYU, started going to school and started working full time. And because I wanted to keep my physical training up, I found a martial arts studio and there’s all story about that was an option for me. That was, uh, you know, as you alluded to you earlier, I was a physically fit person. Um, and I was, I had one unique attribute and that it was something for me. I looked at as a lifetime pursuit. Right? I already looked at that way when I was in my early twenties you know, my late teens and early twenties there was nothing that was going to keep me from being physical because it was just so part and parcel how I experience life. And um, and so living in Manhattan, you can imagine how hard that is, right? I had to get up super early and run the streets to the park and you know, I was always twisting my ankle, just a nightmare, you know, dodging traffic and breathing that air. It was horrible. But then at lunchtime I would sneak away and go to the gym and then I was looking for something to do in between work and my night classes. That’s how crazy my schedule was. And I remembered that a martial art that, I’m sorry, my freshman roommate got into the martial arts and I remember how much he had transformed during the four years of my college with him. And he literally was a different person when he graduated and where I was just a little bit older, I didn’t think I was very different. And so I was intrigued by that. And so I, I found a martial arts studio that was a couple of blocks from my house or my apartment on 23rd street. And, uh, that was where I found my first true mentor the name, uh, Tadashi Nakamura, I talk a lot about him because I owe him a great debt of gratitude. He was a zen master, but he taught his zen through hard physical training through martial arts. So he’s one of the legitimate authentic masters, like a true gift. And uh, I recognize that pretty quickly. You know, once I got in there, I noticed there was something different about him. The way he carried himself and his spontaneity and his, his lightness but his intensity, right? Something that I thought could be emulated, but it has to be earned. It’s really interesting. So I started training under his guidance and one of the most important aspects of that, if not the most important, was sitting on a little wooden bench and meditating. So I took up the practices zen meditation.
Bryan: 00:14:03 This was your first exposure to meditation?
Mark: 00:14:05 My first exposure. You know, I, I had done visualization for sports training at Colgate. I had spent, you know, eons of time alone with my thoughts in nature, hiking, walking, running trails, uh, swimming. You know, I do, I’ve done, I did a ton of stuff that other people would consider meditation or in that category. And um, to be fair, I probably did too at the time. But it wasn’t until I sat down in the bench and was still that I realized that this is a whole different level here. So I started, you know, zen bootcamp with Nakamura. At any rate, this story could go on forever, but you asked me a very specific question and it was about that poster. So to, you know, I’ll fast forward and we can always come back and retread this ground. But about two years into my meditation, I had completely transformed my concept of self. I had literally began to investigate this stories that led me to New York and into this MBA and CPA program. The stories, my origin and who I was. And you know what I was meant for. I’m not going to, you know, claim that I solved all the riddles. You know, that would be arrogant. I, but I’d started a crack open, you know, the, the, the shell around my ego and begin to look inside. And what I saw was not the same person that I was living, right? I, I was living some sort of fraud story, but what I saw in there, I actually kind of liked, I liked who I was in those moments of total silence. I also liked the, um, the sense of self that was evolving of me as a warrior and a leader. And I didn’t feel that in my career and I didn’t experience what I thought was my potential or possibilities.
Bryan: 00:15:58 Mark, just, I want to jump in real quick there and ask. I love to hear you say that you, you liked what you saw when you looked inside. Where my experience as a coach is that, and maybe this is just this selection bias, people who come to me because they don’t, but my experience is that many people don’t like what they see when they look inside. What, why do you think it is that you liked what you saw? And many people don’t like what they see when they look inside.
Mark: 00:16:26 I never identified with the, the what, right. So I was doing these things and I knew I was doing them for a reason and I never asked why. And when I sat down on the bench and I began to look at what I was doing and then asking why, I began to see the patterns and the stories and the belief systems that I had been fed and realize that I was doing these things for the wrong “why” it wasn’t my why, someone else’s why, but I didn’t identify with that. I didn’t look at that and say, oh, I’m a bad person because I’m doing these things for the wrong reason. What I looked at his, I said, I’m just doing these things because those are the patterns that I was fed and I have now a great opportunity, the great fortune to change those patterns, to change the story. And that’s what meditation taught me. It’s not like Nakamura taught me these things with a pen and paper and you know, with lectures and everything, it was all insight. It was all the meditation. Now to be fair, Bryan, there was, uh, you know, there is a certain amount of torment in getting to that clarity. That’s why I said two years in, right? It literally took me two years of consistent sitting on that bench and multiple trips to the zen mountain monastery to be able to concentrate for long enough, to be able to drop and turn the flashlight in on myself and to be able to see more clearly and, and to get through the self deceit, you know, the, the tricks of the ego. So at any rate that’s, you know, to answer your question, I think that’s one of the most important first steps is for people to stop identifying with the thought patterns and the belief systems and, and to look for a deeper truth inside them and to realize that all those things are just things, you know, a thought is a thing, a belief is a thing. So you objectify all that crap. And then once you objectify, you can, you can then recreate, create another object that can be your belief system or another thought pattern that can believe the or, you know, a foundation for action. And so I decided to have the thought pattern based upon these recurring imagery and sensations that were coming up that I was meant to be a warrior and a leader. And it’s not like I sat there and said, I’m meant to be a Navy SEAL. I remember this is 1987 we didn’t have all the movies and all the TV shows back then about the SEALs. I had like a couple of books from Vietnam that I later learned about. And, um, so I just had this growing sense that I was meant to be a warrior and a leader and that I was a misfit in this corporate suit and tie. And you know, that I was passionate about things that conflicted with the decisions I had already made. And so then I had to ask myself the question, well, if that’s all my deeper truth and what the hell am I going to do about it? And, um, you know, am I going to settle for this because I’ve already gone down this road and my family wants this and society thinks this is great and these letters will serve me well, blah, blah, blah, blah. Or am I going to be true to myself and, um, you know, follow the road less traveled so to speak. And the meditate, the more I meditated, the more confident I got that I had to, I had to follow that calling or else I would be miserable. And I remember I start because of my visualization training, I brought that into the mix and I would visualize myself like 10 years out as a CPA partner, law firm or back home running the business. Then I would visualize myself 10 years out, you know, as a a leader in a special ops unit or you know, doing something ridiculously cool like that. And I was like, well of course one of those looks a lot better than the other. And so I was like, okay, you know, I could see myself doing that, but I don’t really see myself doing that. I don’t like myself. I don’t like the future version of myself when I look forward to see myself, you know, in those other roles or that other career path. So I, you know, I just kept stoking that courage that this, this is not only the right thing to do, but it is an imperative thing to do, to align with my calling. That is when, when I had that clarity, Bryan, that is when I was walking home from work one night or walking to the Dojo, I can’t remember exactly the circumstances and I was taking a different route and I walked past the Navy recruiting office and there was a big poster on the wall outside or inside facing out and the title of the poster was Be Someone Special. And it had pictures of, it didn’t say anything about the SEALs. It didn’t say US Navy SEALs, like all the, you know, today, they just really hyped that up for marketing purposes. The SEALs were secret back then. It just showed SEALs doing SEAL shit. They’re guys jumping out of planes and locking out of submarines and the little you had to look real closely to find the sniper in the hindsight. And I was transfixed and I said, whoa, that is wicked. That is it. Right. That’s what I’ve been seeing. And uh, so I went to the recruiter’s office is kind of the next day or so. Wow. And that’s a whole other story.
Bryan: 00:21:24 Well, what I love about that, I love that you broke a pattern by going home a different way and then you encountered something that you saw a moment of like recognition or connection with. And it was like, I mean, in some ways, um, like I said earlier, the small things in life are often the most significant are these little things, these relationships that the roommate who meditated or, or did martial arts, right? Or seeing this poster in and then going into the recruiter’s office. It’s, it’s amazing. I mean, how different might life be if you had just taken the same old route home that night?
Mark: 00:22:01 True. That, you know, um, it probably would have fallen in my lap some other way. I mean, I think that the universe, you know, does provide the synchronicity and line up to support you. When you get that clarity and you start moving forward, you know, boldly toward it, the obstacles start to fall away. And conversely, you know, if you’re not on that path and you’re treading down the wrong path, you’re going to find all sorts of obstacles, all sorts of misery. And so one path leads to peace and contentment and you know, the fulfillment of your innermost desires, the other path leads to perhaps the attainment of great success and up loam and, and resources and you know, material things. But often times that lifetime of quiet desperation, you know, that I spoke of. Yeah. So you know, tread the tread the path that leads toward your calling, but you got to slow down and sit in silence and really cultivate a relationship with your in herself to really know what that calling is. Otherwise you just too busy, too distracted. There’s always another thing to chase after all he’s another degree or another accomplishment or another job project slash you name it, insert whatever.com or another addiction. Right, exactly.
Bryan: 00:23:22 You know, in one, one thing too that I’m, that I’m really impressed by with your story is, and it sounds like this was just such a natural part of who you were in the same way you were active and then you know, you are drawn to, to be introspective and to be still and to cultivate this meditative, uh, way of being. Is this one about visualization where you know, visualization is, is we know is incredibly powerful, but I’m, I’ve kind of stopped being surprised when I lead people through a visualization and people will say, well I can do it. Or it doesn’t work for me, you know, or something like that. And in your book In The Way of The SEAL. I love that you talk about at least three forms of visualization. You talk about the difference between guided meditation, mental projection and mental rehearsal. But I’d never thought of the distinctions between, you know, different forms of visualization that way. But while we’re on this topic, would you be willing to share a little bit about visualization for anybody listening who might want to cultivate this? Because again, and I’m hearing your story that you were using visualization to look ahead 10 years ago and go, oh no, that’s not my life. You know, that’s not the life I want. And I would love to encourage others to use that consciously and not just allow their imagination, you know, their fear to paint, uh, like a crappy future, but instead to take responsibility of that and, and use visualization intentionally.
Mark: 00:24:46 Right. Most people have the capacity for imagery and uh, and it’s called fantasy, right? And it’s so, people when you access a memory, you know, if I were to say to your audience right now, think about, you know, think about a couple of years ago, the most exciting thing that happened there last year. And when they access that memory, it’s going to be in imagery, you know, and then you’ll attach maybe some internal dialogue to it. But for the most part it’s imagery. And so it’s interesting when I, when I teach visualization and I have people say that I didn’t see anything, it’s, it’s really because their mind is so distracted with fantasy that they can’t construct an image, right? That is directed, meaning they haven’t trained that muscle in their brain and that part of their brain to do the creative visualization, which is imagination and creativity. The easiest way to learn visualization is just to visualize things that you’re familiar with, right? So one example is to visualize the alphabet as you go through from A to Z and then back from Z to A, this is by the way, a great way to improve your memory and to visualize the letters in like really bold and maybe each letter in a different kind of color or, or structure. Um, another way is, you know, to visualize like a piece of fruit and then you know, just to see things in that piece of fruit, which are ridiculous. You know, like a little worm coming out with a hat on and sunglasses and you know, he starts talking to you and flip you the bird or something like that. So those are fun little tricks to start activating your creative visualization skills. Um, visualization first became popular as you alluded to for sports psychology and practicing things, right? Rehearsal. So visualizing for rehearsal and you can rehearse event or a skill in your mind and the, the benefit is that you, there’s a neuro biological effect that it has on your body, body mind system, um, where you’re greasing the groove of that event or that practice is if you’re doing an in real life, the big difference is, you can have perfect practice in your mind. So one example of this is, um, well there’s the practice of things. So when I was, uh, at Colgate University the first time I really use visualization for great effect. I was asked by my swim coach to visualize my race, which was the 200 meter breaststroke. And to do it at night with a stopwatch. And I did it. I almost quit. It was very hard. I couldn’t get more than a few lengths before in my mind started thinking about something else. And then I, that’s when I learned that visualization is a fantastic way to develop concentration because my coach said, just stick with it. Trust me, you’ll get better. And because I respected him, I did and I did get better. So every time I practice I was able to concentrate longer and longer until eventually I was able to swim all lengths of my race, all eight lengths, I’m sorry, of my race and once I was able to swim all eight links to my race without losing the concentration on the visualization, the time that I was getting started, this settle in at the same roughly the same spot and it was three seconds faster than my fastest time in the pool and I thought that was pretty cool. Like maybe that’s the time I’m supposed to be swimming, if I could get out of my own way. You know what I mean? Yeah. At any rate that the, the tail end of that story is, that all happened my sophomore year. There was a parallel thing going on where I was trying to get into the London Economic study group and I was able to get in. That was just through pure persistence because I wasn’t qualified to go, but somebody dropped off and I insisted on being on the waiting list and going to every single meeting and befriending the professor. And then one kid went on a bender and didn’t show up in the last meeting and he got kicked off and I went. So I didn’t swim my junior year at all. Didn’t touch the water until I came back in the spring and I ran into my swim coach and he’s like, hey Mark, you want to go jump in the pool for our championship meet? And every, every bone in my body screamed no and my mouth said yes. I was standing on the block, you know, and the gun goes off and I jumped into the water and I’m swimming this race and I’m thinking to myself, I think I’ve been here before. And when I touched the pad, you know where the timer goes off. I sure enough had the time. I had the time that I visualized, I hadn’t even been in the water, you know, for over a year. So that gave me great confidence that there’s something to this visualization. Like you’re creating a new reality inside and then you’re practicing it. You’re becoming it. So my second cool experience with visualization had to do more with that future me where I wanted to create a future and give myself the most plausible chance of that future would become real. I call it now winning in my mind before stepping into the battle. So when I decided to become a Navy SEAL, I went to the recruiters and I submitted a package and everything, but it was going to take many, many months. Right? It’s not easy to get into the SEALs as you might imagine this, it’s hard to get to the training, but it’s even harder to get in, especially as an officer candidate. You know, there’s several thousand people who want to go in every year and they select, you know, you know, a few hundred.
Bryan: 00:30:00 And you applied to be an officer candidate. So you weren’t content.
Mark: 00:30:04 And I was a civilian. Most officer candidates, they take maybe 30 a year or so come out of officer candidate school are not officer candidate school but Naval Academy and ROTC, right? So they come out of those, they call them a session sources and they take like one or two a year from the civilian world out of officer candidate school. And that was my route. So I had like statistically about as good a chance as being selected for the astronaut program. And so I said, okay, well I’m going for it. Even the recruiter was trying to discourage me, don’t get your hopes up Mark. I’m like, okay, well I’m not working on hope here, right? I’m working on like strong desire and certainty and I want to turn that desire into certainty. So I completely shifted my training plan, you know, cause I needed to do certain physical things differently. But then every morning when I woke up I would sit on that little wooden bench of mine and I’ll go through my meditation practice and at the end I would visualize myself for about five minutes. I visualize myself going through SEAL training, all the way up to the day of graduation and just kicking ass and taking names and I just went on blind faith Bryan. But I remembered how powerful visualization was for me from my practice. And I thought, well, if I could practice an event, why not practice being a certain type of person? And I had a very similar experience about not, and this is not easy work, right? It takes daily consistent and persistent practice, but about nine months seems to be the magic mark, at least for my life. It was. And nine months in, I had a sense of like certainty kind of wash over me, that the desire to be as a SEAL was replaced with certainty. And literally that very same week, my recruiter called me and said, congratulations, you got one of the two billets to go to officer candidate school with a follow on to SEAL training. And when I showed up at SEAL training, I had the sense that I had been there before and now there are a lot of details as to how I navigated that training. But, uh, you know, 185 of us showed up 185 total studs and six months later there were 19 of us and I was the Honor Man in my class, number one graduate and I’m 100% certain that the visualization played a part as well as, you know, the training I had on that bench to control my mind and emotions and to be able to radically focus on the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. And to know my why. So visualization is really powerful. Now a couple of other points. So I’ve, I’ve talked about two types of visuals. Well one is just a practice visualization itself and then two is to practice a skill with visualization and it will improve your skill and that’s been scientifically proven or been proven academic institutions. Anyways, the third is to practice becoming who you need to become to fulfill your life mission. And I will add that this really doesn’t work if you’re not in alignment with your life mission, right? So I don’t think you could just visualize yourself to be a millionaire, just to be a millionaire. You know, I think that you could visualize yourself serving, you know, a hundred million or a billion people with your unique gift to the world. And if that makes you a billionaire, you know, multimillionaire in the process. Great. So visualization has to be for the right reason, supporting, you know, your why in life for this future me version to work. And then you can also do mental rehearsal of your mission or project or plan. And this is one we use in the SEALs all the time. We call the dirt dive. And so you, we would visualize ourselves as a team, you know, basically going through every phase of a mission or operation. And we would visualize basically what it took to win and what victory looked like and, and, um, and what the acceptable outcomes were with regard to our, um, to the obstacles and we call those contingencies. So we would, you know, make sure that every, every, and this is powerful Bryan for a team, um, because you want the team to have the same mental imagery as they’re conducting a mission, as their executing in the field because otherwise you could have people going off in all sorts of tangents and also lack clarity when you know, that starts raining in the clouds command and all of a sudden it’s not as certain as it was yesterday. Well, if everyone’s got the same mental imagery and they’re in alignment around that, then it’s much easier to keep everyone in sync. So that’s, um, a third, I guess, or a fourth way to use imagery, which is really powerful. And then the fifth or the sixth, holy cow, I’m losing common here, which is extraordinary for growth is what I call the recapitulation. And this is where you use imagery in a past state to reconstruct a new memory with emotional energy as well as the imagery so that you can release regrets and overcome, you know, the shadow aspects that hold you back. And that’s been a big part of my work, uh, over the past, you know, 20 years has been using imagery for that purpose and uh, it, you know, I don’t think you’re ever done really. Yeah. Cause shadow work is, is extraordinarily important and it’s, there’s just layers upon layers upon layers of that.
Bryan: 00:35:11 With that, you know, recapitulation, this might be a little different, but I think a lot about, um, something my mom told me about my dad, you know, who has a very successful entrepreneur. I often wonder, you know, I could see his work ethic and I could see a lot of his habits and routines, but it’s not always easy to know what the cognitive and mental and emotional processes are going on. But she told me that he, every night as he was falling asleep would revisit the day he had just lived. Yeah. He would remember who we meet, who we met, what their names were. You know, what he did. And I wonder if he did that in a way that it, because this is getting to a question actually about what you said with recapitulation, with recapitulation is what you’re talking about going back into the past into like difficult or traumatic experiences and reliving them from a more powerful persona or is it merely re-experiencing, you know, kind of maybe like my dad did. Just to recap each day, how do you use it or have you seen it? How have you seen it be effective?
Mark: 00:36:13 The answer is both. And so the, the, the first and most important is to use it for recrafting an, uh, uh, a new story of your life. And that requires that you go back and understand the patterns like you were talking about that, that kind of created the subconscious programming and the emotional behaviors and emotional stuff that comes up in life. So that’s what I mean by the term shadow. And, and most of that is, is implanted or transferred either epigenetically or in the first, you know, 10 to 15 years of our lives. Now thought so for my patterns had to do a lot with our families beautiful dysfunctions. In, everyone’s got their version of it. Even families that seem utopian, you know, there’s some dysfunction lurking. Right? Um, so that’s the kind of a heavy lifting part of recapitulation. And yes, in a sense you go back not to relive it because you don’t, you don’t, you know, you don’t get rid of negative shadow by focusing on the negative shadow, but you’ve got to identify it and then objectify it. And then you can essentially, um, recode it with positive imagery and with energies such as forgiveness, courage, you know, love, contentment. You know, it kind of like being okay with this being an incident but not defining who you are. So this is one reason why therapy often fails because you go back and just rehash, you know, old events. And then to just grease the groove and make them deeper and deeper. But if we can go back and identify it and literally like pull it outside of ourselves and see ourselves as you know, Oh wow, you know, we were just dealing with incomplete information and we did the best we could and maybe it was a complete disaster, but it’s not really who I am, it’s just the situation and I was, I was dealing with best I had and also the person who may be perpetrated some wrong in me, guess what? They’re flawed too. And they were dealing with the best they had. So the whole thing was unfortunate, but you know, it was time to let it go. And two and then two, you know, one version of this hat you know I’ve used is where I go back and visualize my current version, which is a much wiser and older version of myself, you know, experiencing it alongside the younger version, which might be like my six year old self or something like that. And like literally putting your arm around a little guy and be like, you know what dude, this wasn’t your fault. You know, it’s time to be whole again. Let go. And then you, then there’s some more practical work at bout just identifying what emotional patterns that those incidences, it’s usually a series of incidences if not a whole experience of life that you know, then becomes a repression or projection or denial or something like that. So what are those patterns? How do they show up in your life? And then to rewire that emotional reaction, right? And so that you, you know, the original event has been reprogrammed and now you get to rewire all the emotional reactions and it’s, it’s really fun work. Wink, wink, nod, nod. Um, but it’s super powerful, right? That Ken Wilber says, now, you know, you gotta, you know, waking up and growing up, I remember we had this conversation are, are this two parts of the puzzle, but then you got to clear up your past in order to show up fully in the world. And I believe that 100% because that’s been the story of my life. And of course, like I really can’t apply anyone else’s life, but it’s worked for me and it works for my clients. And we’ve trained a lot of people on that. Now the other thing is what your dad did this super powerful. So that to me is our, our evening ritual that we teach at Unbeatable Mind has a day, a day recapitulation. So the idea is the morning ritual is to prepare to win your mind. So you go out and kick ass and take names and then at the end of the day you look back and you go through the day again just like your dad did. And you both look for the things that went right and the good things, right? So you have this positivity effect. You don’t forget all the, you know, all the positive things and the momentum you’ve gained. And then you go also look for the things where you know you could have done better or you just flat out screwed up and you do a mini recapitulation where you, where you just let it go and you figure out what is the lesson, why did this happen? What did I learn from it? And I call this eradicating regret. So you go to bed, you sleep like a baby, you have no regrets. So every day becomes a self contained journey, uh, with these two bookends. And um, that’s where are saying one day, one lifetime comes from like every day is an opportunity to really become your fullest version of yourself. Like the Buddhists said, you can find enlightenment in a single breath if you pay attention. And so why not us go through the day with absolute discrete preparation in the morning and then a discreet kind of ending that kind of book ends it with the insights, the learning isn’t their regret eradication. And then, you know, if you’re fortunate enough to wake up the next day and do it again, then you just do it again. And every day you get a little bit better at this. And this is one way that we develop serious momentum in our lives. And visualization is a big important, you know, it’s an important part of both those practices, both the morning and the evening. We’re looking forward in the morning, we’re dirt diving the day, we’re looking back in the evening, recapitulating.
Bryan: 00:41:27 I currently have in my day, in my daily routine. I do a three minute visualization and I’ll generally do it on being the best version of myself. You know, having a successful business, a happy family, you know, that kind of thing. Um, when you talked about this kind of the future version of yourself, the best, the best version of yourself, when you visualize, I realized the visualization doesn’t always core, correlate with time in the, in the physical universe, right? I mean you can cover a long time frame in a short period and it can be intense and all this, the intensity has a lot to do with it. You know, some of these other factors. But when, when you do some of those future self for the future pacing kind of visualizations, how long do you typically spend and is there anything else you do to enhance it to you do it with music? Do you make sure you know it’s a certain time of day or anything else that you do to help intensify or make the quality of it is as strong as it could be?
Mark: 00:42:21 There are a couple of things I’d like to say about this great question. So I always have a practice prior to visualization. So I have a breath practice which doubles as concentration training and then I have my uh, practice to connect to, you know, absolute reality, my version of that. And then I’ll visualize. So I’m usually 20 minutes in before I’ll start visualizing. So that’s how I intensify it. I prepare my mind to both stabilize the visualization and to receive it. I don’t need any music or any movies or imagery and like that. Right. That’s all superficial exterior stuff. I think that visualization is most powerful when it’s done with your mind, for your mind, by your mind. Second thing is visualizations like any thought and energy has substance to it. And imagine, you know, this is a really horrible metaphor, but imagine like every time you thought you’re taking, like every time you visualize something, which is a thought imagery, you’re taking a little piece of rigors tape and like sticking it in your mind, you know, or, or somewhere. And then the next time you visualize the same thing, you take another piece of rigors tape and you stick it on top of it and eventually you got this big ball of rigors tape, right? This and that’s what is representing energy. So every time you visualize the same thing, you’re layering energy and the energy that thought form eventually has like this magnetic power to it. It’s, it exists, let’s just put it that way. When you create something with your mind, it exists. Now it’s, it’s such a refined, subtle energy. And usually because we’re bouncing all over the place and we only think of things once and not very powerfully, that energy just dissipates, you know, or gets transformed into something else. But when you think intensely about the same thing over and over and over, and this includes like ruminating about disaster or you know, that’s why unhelpful belief systems that are accompanied with imagery are just so destructive. It will lead you to literally killing yourself.
Bryan: 00:44:41 The negative qualities of a marriage partner. Like just stewing on that, right? That many people doing that. Right. And then it’s no surprise those either continue as unhappy marriages or end in divorce.
Mark: 00:44:53 Right. Totally. So the more powerfully you can create this imagery, the more clear you are about it and the more often you repeat it, and I mean consistently repeat it day in and day out, then the more potency it has. And then also, this is kind of like my final point, at least for now, is that it doesn’t matter how long you visualize, you can evoke the image just for a second and it’s got the same powers if you’d ruminate on it for three minutes because you’ve got such stabilization and such intensity with that focus. Right. It’s like blasting a laser beam versus, you know, looking at it with a flashlight that’s been in your closet for two years and the battery’s just kind of like a yellow bulb slowly going out. Yeah, that’s my experience with visualization. It’s an incredibly powerful skill. Everyone has it. Um, I can’t imagine, you know, that a human being wouldn’t have it, although I can’t guarantee that. I can’t state that with complete confidence. But you know, the brain has like five discrete functions, right? Critical thinking, which is your rational, you know, kind of Neocortex, kind of thinking, thinking, planning, designing, whatever and then you know, memory which we’ve already talked about. That’s a discrete function in the mind. And then dreaming is another one. And then, um, this idea of basically being able to create imagery and link it to a belief or to a memory that’s a discrete function of the mind. And then the fifth one, and these are like met a distinction or met a ways the mind works. There’s a lot of like subtler ways that you could kind of fit into these. And I’m not talking about like limbic system managing the autonomic nervous system and controlling your heart rate. That’s a whole different, I’m talking about kind of like the higher functions of our mind, not the lower functions. The fifth way is the part of your brain that just direction directly perceives reality. External or internal without active thought, without necessarily any imagery, without memory and without dreaming. And that’s the part that you’re tapping into are your training when you meditate effectively. And so when you meditate effectively, which takes some time to learn how to do a, again probably a minimum of a year, then that aspect is the part of you that can receive the intuitive, um, information and intelligence that your soul or your body mind system is trying to tell you. Um, and so some of this is coming from your gut, your bio, some of that information is coming from your heart. Some of us a more direct perception or an insight. I think ultimately that’s what intuition is. When you’re, you know, when you tap into that perceiving mind, the direct perception and you’re able to listen to the signals and then actually learning how to, um, make sense of those signals. I’ll give a quick example. When I told this story a few times, uh, when I was in SEAL training, I mean there’s so many examples from my SEAL training and practically every SEAL has reams of these and every special operator. But I was walking up to a firing range one day. We were just practicing are, are shooting and you know, we are at the crawl phase where we were basically starting back with 25 yard in a pistol shoot and then we’re going to, you know, go to long guns and running and gunning and stuff like that. But you know, it’s a two week evolutions that we were starting from ground zero again. Like we always did crawl, walk, run. And as I was walking I was first one up. Like there was a lot about three or four of us heading to the range and it was like six in the morning, super cold, you know, cause see frost coming out of my mouth every time I breathe or whatever. And all of a sudden I had this sensation that someone put their hand on my shoulder and said, hey, stop. And I paid attention to that. So I was like, Huh. I stopped. And I knew intuitively that no one put their hand on my shoulder, but it felt like someone reached out to put their hand on my shoulder. And as soon as I stopped, right, the, uh, round cracked off an accidental discharge from one of my teammates and the nine mil round, literally whizzed right past my ear to where it was so close, I could feel the wind from it, you know? And it was right in the trajectory of my next step. If I had taken that one more step, they would gone right in the back of my head. And I turn around and this guy, Chris is staying there, like literally pointing his weapon right at my back as if he was trying to kill me. But it was a complete accident on his part. You know, he just was, yeah. Clueless or maybe asleep still. But that was an example of probably my gut, my gut experiencing something that was like back, you know, what to you said earlier about time, time is, you know. Time’s a mysterious thing. It’s a construct of the human mind. And so there was this, you know, this experience that my gut had that preceded, you know, the actual event by just a few moments. And maybe it was picking up, you know, a thought that happened when Chris realized what was going on or who the heck knows. And I was able to perceive the information that it was trying to pass on to me. And that information came in the form of a feeling on my shoulder and a sensation that sounded like the word stop. There was no auditory stop, you know. No one else would have heard that. But to me it was loud and clear. You know what I mean. Many of your listeners probably had some sort of experience like this and if you discount them or if you think it’s like a one not kind of weird thing, then you’re not training your intuition. But when you pay attention to it and you’re like, ah ha, yeah, I get that, then you’re, um, you’re basically giving your intuition the power to speak to you more loudly and more frequently and you’re not like drowning it out. So, um, but there’s a lot of other things we could talk about on that. I went off on a little tangent there because it’s somehow we went from visualization to intuition.
Bryan: 00:50:47 Well, intuition is, it is one of the things that I had wanted to talk with you about and I love your five mountains. The physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual, right. Which what you teach. And I think it’s part of why I love your teaching so much because it’s not just, you know, manly man doing cool stuff, being tough, you know, this kind of thing. But it’s, there is a, an awareness or a sensitivity and a depth that goes beyond my experience. A lot of other people that are just like, you know, being bros out there in the woods or whatever, growing beards, no offense, I love love beards, but, um, I really, I really like, I really am am drawn to that and I appreciate that you, that you’re talking about these things because I think there’s a lot of people who are looking to cultivate a deeper sense of spirituality or to cultivate their intuition. But as a society, I don’t think we have a deep understanding of these topics or a really effective way to talk about them. So this is actually part of the conversation I hoped we would have already. Yeah,
Mark: 00:51:59 Yeah. No, that’s definitely true. There isn’t a real training or education around them in the general sense. Uh, unless you happen to be, you know, fortunate enough to be like an elite military special ops unit. And for a lot of people that’s just not a, you know, it’s not a realistic path. Um, those who spend a ton of time outside in nature, you know, like a hunting or stocking or just being in nature will naturally develop your intuition and those who spend, you know, a lot of time in silence, you know, let’s say if you spend a lot of time in like a silent retreat or on the meditation bench. Naturally you’re cultivating awareness, right. And that awareness has both an outer and an inner orientation, right. Outer awareness would be like awareness of what’s going on around you and you great the SEALs, you know, we would practice situational awareness so that we could gather more information and recognize pattern outliers. And that’s how you deal in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. It’s like you’re the one who can see the patterns evolving and act on them before they become, you know, the threat. Well you can say that as without. So within everything that happens in the external world has like a correlate on the internal world and to the correlate is like your thoughts and your emotions are the activity and are the roadside bombs on, on your inside world and so you develop great sensitivity around what’s going on and what you’re going to allow, uh, in and what you’re going to allow to be running the roof so to speak, in terms of your mind power. So the more work you do with that, the more sensitive you get to the totality of your mind. And we have a concept. You mentioned the five mountains and when you train these five mountains together, physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and what I call Kokoro or heart mind, then you create a, um, a growing and accelerating integration and the experiences of a wholeness right, where you don’t begin to look at your body or your life as a, uh, a bunch of separate things that are going on. Like, you know, a lot of people are taught to think they’ve got this, they’ve got their home life and then they got their professional life and then they’ve got their, you know, academic or sports life and they don’t really, you know, they’re different person when are wherever they go into these realms and they wear these masks and then they, you know, they ignore their physical, the power of their physical mind, their physical body as part of their mind. And then they get stuck in their head because they think their brain and their mind are the same thing. And their whole world is perceived as, you know, coming from the inside of what’s, you know, in your brain housing group, your cranial housing group. I mean, whereas when you begin to train integration, you’d begin to experience the mind more holistically, are holy and the experience moves out of your head and into your body and then out of your body and all around you. And um, you know, someone like advanced martial artists have written about this experience and it’s very real and it’s like something that I’m trying to like really wrap my own whole mind around and writing a couple books right now on, on, um, getting more into this concept for developing leaders. Like how do leaders kind of access whole mind. How do team’s access the whole mind of a team, it’s like incredibly powerful Bryan. You know, when you think about the power that you can access when you’re using that, that level of mind, which is beyond thinking, you know, you’re using intuition, trans rational, you know, knowledge you’re using, um, you know, the power of the heart, right? Which is, which is really, you know, missing a lot in our society. And that integration leads naturally, and this is another piece that you kind of brought up about me. People have said this and I’ve had to reflect upon it. But for me the being a warrior was my primary motive. Being a SEAL was a way that I could fulfill that in the world. And it worked pretty much because the SEALs are kind of an elite unit, not kind of, they are an elite unit. And I was able to get some advanced training that really helped me on my journey. But even uh, said saying that there was a point in time where I outgrew the organization where it was going to hold me back and it did hold you back. And so I, I left active duty and stayed in the reserves, finished up 20 year career as a reserve Commander. So I had about 10 years of each active and reserve ish and largely because I needed to continue my training in the SEALs, you know, aren’t teaching this stuff. Weren’t back then and there was really no time for it. And ironically, they now are they, they’ve been studying what we teach at Ideal Mind and what we’ve been doing a SEALFIT and I was done with the SEALs two weeks ago and now they’re bringing the practice of visualization and you know, mental control into the training. And also we’re having discussions about, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, the, the, the dialogue was around yeah, we kind of get this, we were starting to figure out how to make people tougher even though they come tough, but we want to make people really tough. But that doesn’t make them good necessarily. And so we, we want to be, we want to train people to be tough and good, good people, right? And so to me, the goodness comes from integration in particular, accessing your heart and your, and your intuition. Because as you become self evolutionary through that process of integration, then you, you begin to take greater and greater care and concern. Um, and it, until you kind of stabilize with a, you know, with great care and concern for the entire of humanity, the entirety of humanity, including mother earth. And, um, and so this is where some of the great warriors throughout the ages have said, you know, I, you know, I’m reluctant to go in the battle. I’ll be the last one to pick up the lance or the weapon. Having said that, it’s, it’s my duty. And so I’ll, but I will, um, you know, when I kill my enemy, I do it, you know, with love, right? I, I love my enemy. I don’t hate my enemy cause hating the enemy actually damages yourself, right? With this philosophy. So I have SEALs who love to go play whack a mole and they got all fired up and hating the enemy. And guess what? Some of them are big trouble right now, whereas the SEAL, the warrior of the future, you know, cultivates integration and wholeness and we’ll go do their duty to protect, serve and protect. But they do it out of, you know, sense of love, even for their enemy and for all of humanity. And so that’s, you know, that’s a powerful lesson, not just for the warrior, but for any leader. You know, cause I could tell you what, you know, a corporate chieftain and can do more damage to the planet and to, you know, civilization than a single navy SEAL. And um, so you know, corporate CEOs or business leaders or entrepreneurs who are not leading with integration and from the heart with a world centric care and concern are likely doing damage to this at this time. Right?
Bryan: 00:59:06 Yeah, no, no question. I mean, I’m reminded, I just, my wife just sent me an article, I’m a few minutes before we, we sat down to talk, and I didn’t realize this, but she said that luxury brands, there’s a lot of luxury brands, I guess Burberry just announced they stop doing this, but that they sent back the unsold goods. Then they destroy them and most of them incinerate them. So then it releases toxic chemicals in the atmosphere. But through all this material extraction, you know, the production, the transportation, the transportation back and the end. It’s like there are men and women sitting in those leadership roles right now choosing this as a practice to preserve some economic, you know, or some, some brand position. It’s like, it really seems like a form of insanity to me, you know, clearly not a heart oriented view.
Mark: 00:59:56 No, and also it’s like the collective conscious hasn’t examined it’s story. Right. So there, you know, there’s a lot of people out there is saying, you know, the story of the industrial age is broken and we can’t, it’s gotten us into big trouble. It was big, you know, big mess. And so obviously we need to begin to investigate that story. Like you’re talking about like the whole story of production and capitalism and economics is interesting, but it’s flawed, right? Yeah. I mean, how can you have persistent growth year over year every year? You know, I mean that things don’t work that way. There are cyclical and you know.
Bryan: 01:00:33 Not in the natural world.
Mark: 01:00:34 Not in the natural world. Right. And um, and why is it whoever thought it was a good idea to extract and then, you know, dump the refuse in the ocean. And I remember seeing an article just yesterday, they found some whale on the beach and they found like fricking 80 pounds of plastic in his belly. I don’t know if that was the exact number, but it’s a, it’s really sad. There’s garbage dumps the size of Texas in the ocean and I love these social entrepreneurs who are trying to solve that one, but man, wouldn’t it be nice that we saw that at a global level by just saying, okay, well you know, let’s, let’s stop using plastic and containers and let’s stop this kind of extraction and, and um producing, then throw away the waste kind of model. It’s not simple to change those paradigms, but certainly have to be moving toward that and I’m not endorsing, you know, the green new deal or anything like that. Right. Because right. This is, to me, this isn’t going to be solved by government. It’s going to be solved by every single individual taking charge of their own evolutionary growth and stepping up to a world centric point of view and acting with their wallet and with their words and with their accountability of their family and etc. Etc. Etc. Yeah, no doubt doing their part, doing their part, you know, instead of hoping that someone else is going to solve it for them. It’s not going to be, well, tech will play a part, but as human beings behind the tech that will deploy it properly and the those who are in a great position of power and have the wherewithal to change themselves, which is pretty much every, anyone who’s leading a big organization, then you have a greater responsibility. You have a great responsibility even to your shareholders to stop thinking this way. And to be fair, a lot of, a lot of them are, you know, a lot are, right Bryan? I think that you see that and I see that, which is really good. So I’m not like trying to ding anybody. I think there’s a lot going on in this area. I’m just kinda like throwing my hat in the ring and saying good, let’s, let’s step up our game by taking responsibility for our own growth and then, you know, um, practice a world centric, inclusive point of view. We don’t have to agree with everyone, everyone, but it certainly doesn’t help to fight them or to demonize him or judge him or be righteous. Right? Those are really negative qualities. And the more, the more negative qualities that we project, it’s just basically saying that were you know, were negative and we might put a positive veneer on that. But judgment and righteousness and um, you know, they’re all just forms of fear and so we want to step out of fear and into courage and feed the courage wolf.
Bryan: 01:03:11 I love it.
Mark: 01:03:11 I’m calling my next book, Stare Down the Wolf.
Bryan: 01:03:16 I love it and you’re writing two more right now. That’s, that’s one of the things I want to ask you about. I’ve got, okay so man, time is passing quickly. I’m looking to gauge our time cause I’ve still got at least three questions I want to ask you in this section before we go to the lightning round, before I ask you about your writing, so three things I want to ask you about. I actually want to explore a little bit about identity with your name and I’m wondering in your experience, how much has your name had an effect on who you have perceived yourself to be, how others have related to you? Because first of all it’s a pretty cool name, right?
Mark: 01:03:52 Mark?
Bryan: 01:03:52 Both Mark and Mark and Divine. Right.
Mark: 01:03:56 Mark is not so special.
Bryan: 01:03:58 He was an apostle. Right? I mean he got a place in the Bible, right? So, so I wanted to ask you about your name and, and how it might have shaped your identity, if at all. I want to ask you about procrastination, if you experience it, and if so how you deal with it. And I also want to ask, how are you so damn prolific? Like you’re writing two books. You’ve already written at least four. You’ve edited and updated already The Way of the SEAL. It was just released a few years ago, right? It’s like you seem to be writing all the time and you’re doing blogs and you’ve got an award winning podcast. It’s like you’re everywhere, which is awesome. So the part of the answer to the procrastination thing might be that, but I wanted to ask you about that. Like how do you, how do you just get so much done? So those three things, if I may, I’m stacking questions now.
Mark: 01:04:48 Let me start with the identity. I don’t anymore have any identity around my name or anything to do with that. I don’t think, at least that’s my story. Growing up you know, I, I was, I came from a town of like 385 people, so it wasn’t so much my name Bryan. It was kind of the story of who we were as kind of the industrialist and upstate New York. And we lived in this mansion in this town where the town was built for the house. You know, it was built to service this house. The house is built for a Colonel Adam Mapa who was with a Dutch mercenary who, you know, worked in the revolutionary war as a hired gun. And he was awarded this land grant, which created this town. And um, and so everyone in the town was like really blue, you know, blue collar or farmer basically. And they all lived around this house, which is this beautiful mansion, national historic register and 385 people, like I said. And I felt like a fish out of water because everybody judged us as being kind of the wealthier, the Divines where those people who live in that house. And my parents sent all of my brother, the two brothers and my sister away to boarding school. So they got the hell out of dodge. And yet I always kept around. I think they liked having me around. Maybe I made them feel good. You know, it’s kind of a great disservice in retrospect, but I’ve gotten over that obviously. So there I was, you know, going into this, you know, this little podunk country, high school, public high school where that the biggest club was Future Farmers of America and I had no interest in farming even though I have great respect for farmers. And I think for people from my class went on to college at least right after graduation. So it wasn’t, you know, back then the Divine name was bad for me. Like I, I literally felt like a lot of judgment around being a Divine and, and there was a lot of, you know, feelings of almost open hostility because we were the haves and everyone else was the have nots. It was really interesting how that played out in such a small little echo system. So I never really thought much about it. And it’s interesting. It’s really more than the past 10 or 15 years where people have stopped me and like, man, I love your name. And the fact that I’ve gotten into our part of my calling led me to, you know, the complete warrior, which is more of the warrior monk, you know, who’s on a deep spiritual journey of himself. Then it’s starting to be more interesting. I’m like, huh, that’s wonder why it was given that name. I had someone asked me the other day, like we spent time at a retreat together and became friends and she didn’t know my last name. And then when she learned it, she did. She didn’t believe it. She was like, oh my God. Was that your, did you, when did you take that name on? I don’t know. This is funny that you asked that question, but um, this idea of identity, that was really important. Like one of the most powerful contemplation exercises is to ask yourself, who am I? Right? This comes from Ramana Maharshi, who was a great Yogi. And you know, you just ask yourself, who am I? Right? And you start with the obvious answers. And this is like contemplation and journal and meditate, contemplate, journal, meditate, contemplate, journal. And you start to think of all the ways you identify yourself. The name is classic. Bryan Miller. I’m Bryan Miller. Are you really? Like, what’s the substance beneath that? I’m a male, you know, 50 something years old. You know, I’m fit, I’m a former navy SEAL, MBA, CPA, getting my doctorate, you know, there’s all these different ways I could identify myself. But when you get right down to it, you’re not any of those. Truly, you’re not any of those. So then you have to look deeper. And so then you look into the inside and like, what or who am I really am I, you know, my, these thoughts in my head? Well those are insubstantial, am I these emotions now those come and go. Am I um, am I that story? No, I already talked about that. That story is, it doesn’t really exist. Huh? So now you’re getting into the real essence, right? And that’s why we call it an essence. The essence of the answer lies in your essential nature. So if you can begin to identify with that essential nature, that eternal nature, that you know, diamond in the heart and nature that knows you’re calling, knows why you’re on this planet, you know, is actually has the energetic connection to, you know, assuming you might believe in this or not, but in of your past, uh, past attempts at this thing called life, that’s, you know, that’s identity beyond, um, a thing and a name is a thing. I think that’s a profound meditation. And Ramana Maharshi, you know, use that single meditation, you know, and he, he said, you can find your way to enlightenment through this one practice. Now, procrastination. No, that doesn’t happen in my life because of this practice that I’ve talked about, right? So there’s a, you know, there’s the wake up call at five and I’m super excited to get up and to do my practice in a minimum of two hours. Today it was five. I have great fortune to be able to do this. Right? So that practice is basically to develop mastery over my mental, emotional, and spiritual self, so that I can radically focus on what’s important. And with that laser focus to be as productive as I can doing the things I’m supposed to do. Like this podcast for example, or I finished up a book this morning, the first draft of it. And, um, and so when I am focused, like it’s all in, right? Whether I’m in a training event or speaking or writing and I’m trying to, you know, I, I’ve deployed all the skills, talked about in the past, kind of naturally because meditation leads you to that. Uh, but you know, authors like, um, you know, the guy who wrote Deep Work, I’m trying to remember.
Bryan: 01:11:05 Cal Newport.
Mark: 01:11:06 Yeah, Cal, Call. I met Cal he is amazing work. And, um, you know, so when I work, when I focus, I just focus on that one thing. And I don’t stop until I’m done or done with what I planned to get done. And it’s, it’s incredible. And also I get in a Tony Robbins state, but I get into my meditative states so that I can channel or I can think, you know, from my higher self perspective. Um, and to be honest, maybe I’ve got some help. Right? You know, I, I don’t think that, I think we’re in this together. I don’t mean just help like in support structure. I mean like, right. I, you might have some guides or spiritual people who are like egging us on or feeding us ideas.
Bryan: 01:11:50 Putting their hand on our shoulder.
Mark: 01:11:51 And shoulder. Yeah, that’s a little bit out there. But you know, some of your listeners might jive with that idea. So I don’t procrastinate because, um, when, when, you know, I feel like I’m completely aligned with my calling and that, that as I develop and I and I hold an image of who I need to be to fulfill my mission in life, then I feel this great sense of urgency, right? The urgency is twofold. One is to master myself so that can evolve to my fullest capacity. And the other is to serve in a way that’s unique and uniquely mine in alignment with how I define that mission. So there’s no room for procrastination in that. Right. And maybe that’s the warrior in me. It’s like fuck it, you know, I got today and it might be my last day, so I better make it a good one. And then the third question, I forgot.
Bryan: 01:12:49 So it was about your, how you’re so productive, you know.
Mark: 01:12:53 But I think I just answered that. Yes, procrastination is the opposite of productivity. I, there are two sides of the same coin. So for, for me, productivity is really about this being very, very clear about what you want to get done. You know, for awhile I didn’t write anything because I was so focused on my business to try to get the business to the next level and clarify the vision. And finally I was like, okay, now it’s time for me to shift fire. And I had to, you know, I couldn’t do that until I had my team ready to take on, you know, 80% of the things that I used to do. And so that took a lot of focus. And so then I’ve got that and I’m working, um, you know, a few more twists and turns and we’ll get, we’ll get that all in place. And so now I’m able to turn my attention back to writing and speaking and, and, uh, we’re launching a video blog soon and stuff like that. And not, I’ve got a backlog of things I want to say and um, so I’m going to put them out right then. Why not?
Bryan: 01:13:54 That’s awesome. And at the same time, like realizing that an audience for this podcast is those who also aspire to write or to speak or to do podcasts or whatever. Sometimes when the answer is, well, I just do it, you know, it’s part of my calling. I wonder if that doesn’t help use practical answer, but, but I will drill into a few questions about your, your tactics. I know.
Mark: 01:14:21 Yeah. I’ll give you the tactics.
Bryan: 01:14:22 Okay. So man, I also realize now that I’ve got through those three stacked questions, I did one also ask about your movement, right? That was one of the things I loved when you and I spent a morning together in Hawaii and you invited some of our leaders in our family business to come out on the lawn and to do, you know, some different activities. And then you and I, when you went for a swim, I went for a nice wade, a view from the beach. But I realized in that moment just how much I’ve lost really a connection with that moving, playful, joyous. I sound really exuberant and I am remembering it, you know, that way it was just, it was just fun because when we’re a kid we have recess and then that gets turned off and PE, you know, eventually you graduate. So unless you’re really conscious about incorporating some kind of physical activity into your life, it’s so easy to be sedentary. But I’m so impressed by how it, it’s what you live is what you teach and it’s just amazing. And now that you do Kokoro Yoga, right? And this and what you have with SEALFIT and all that. Um, I don’t know what the question is here, but it’s something both about breath and movement. Just how, like why is it this is maybe okay. Why is it important?
Mark: 01:15:39 Well, it goes back to this idea of integration, right? We have this body, right? As far as I know, we only get one body, right? And maybe in the future you’ll be able to upgrade your body, but right now you get one and the mind is in, in, throughout the body. It’s not in your head. Right? And so if you cut yourself off from the body, then you’re, you’re cutting yourself off from the largest, most important experiences of life, which is embodied living, the full experience, both emotional and sensational and, you know, moving in three, four dimensional space and whatever. It’s just, you know, you’re cutting yourself off from the big range of experiences. Furthermore, um, uh, some of the most whole and complete people I know are the ones that, that have trained their bodies relentlessly, right? And so there’s certain, there’s certain thing about the human body that it in and they called [inaudible]. When you, when you begin to move in a certain way where the breath and the spine and all the joints are moving together and you’re get a sense for where your center is and how the breath moves the spine, which moves your center, which then moves your, your limbs and then you begin to experience the energetic effect of that or the Chi or the Prana flowing through your body. And so I’ve been extraordinarily inspired by, you know, advanced martial artists, Tai chi, Chi cang and Yogis who, you know, never left their body behind to be fair. Some have, and then they become incomplete than a lot of those kind of fall off the pedestal. But those, you know, and this is one of my kind of ways that I teach is through example, those who have embraced the body as an essential and integral aspect of their whole being and their whole body mind system and train it to move with grace and to move with life force energy. Um, then extraordinary things happen. Right? Longevity is one of the aspects of total health, total longevity. I mean, I don’t know what that term means, total longevity, but long lifespan with high quality of life, right? I’ve seen individuals, you know, hundred years old who have the physical structure of, you know, an average 50 year old, or I shouldn’t even say that they’re, they’re probably have the physical structure of an elite athlete actually. And they’re able to do things that in a 50 year old could do and they’re quite happy. Disease free, moving and grooving. That’s extraordinary, right? Men and women. So I think, you know, this is part of kind of where the, the Western idea of are, you know, the cultural story around the body is so flawed. It is as it is around health and wellness is so flawed. Your body when you begin to embrace it and move it properly. Um, is your source of health, wellness and your source for, for embodied learning where you can learn to learn really quickly and you need to move your body in order to grow. Because without the body, you can’t experience the full range of emotions and the sensations that you know, all your, your entire nervous system and your, your skin and your fashion. Everything is trying to tell you or to to share with you. So I take it very seriously. And you know, we spend a lot of time teaching integrated movement at our SEALFIT academies and through our unbeatable mind training and Kokoro Yoga. Kokoro Yoga is an integration of traditional Yoga Asana poses with Marshall movements with Tai Chi and Chi Cong with every session having heavy focus on moving with the breath and breath awareness training on breath for concentration on meditation and visualization. So this really hybrid integration of practices and it’s meant to be done as a personal practice, right? To get, um, to break down the idea that yoga or martial arts have to be a studio based thing where you have to have $165 a month membership and you know, always be juggling your schedules. So we teach people that no this is part of that part of your morning practice. So when I say I practice for two hours every morning, a good chunk of that is, is my integrated movement. And then, uh, about an hour of that is um, concentration, meditation, visualization, and I fit my 300 burpees in there as well Bryan.
Bryan: 01:20:01 That’s amazing.
Mark: 01:20:02 Which I, I look at the, the burpees, not, you know, it’s exercise, but it’s, it’s, it goes in this of integrated movement. Every, every burpee has a specific breath pattern, alignment of the spine, mantra, mental imagery, right. It’s a, it’s an, a complete practice. Every single burpee.
Bryan: 01:20:18 When is that, I know that was a challenge that you undertook in 2018 to do 120,000 burpees raise a quarter of a million dollars by inviting others to participate in this challenge is, do I have that right? Yeah.
Mark: 01:20:31 We had started a foundation a couple of years ago called The Courage Foundation to help veterans who are suffering from post traumatic stress in particular, those who have the risk of being suicidal, but you know, it’s hard to screen for that. So it was really for anybody. And it’s insidious because 22 veterans a day are committing suicide on average. So I wanted to do something to help. Um, so I figured, what can I do while I know how to move? And you know, I think I can inspire my tribe to kind of jump on board with something crazy. So I said, I, I challenged my followers to do 22 million burpees. Now I didn’t give it just a year, although we were kind of bracketing and hoping to get it done in a year and we didn’t, we hit 16 million. Um, probably because I just needed a little bit more reach, you know, got a couple of hundred people. If I had 400 people join me, we would have hit it. But I think I had a little over 200. So we did it in different ways. What I, a bunch of folks, including myself, chose a B hag number for the year and said, okay, we’re going to do it and then pledge for it. Right? So I chose 100,000 burpees and I decided to do it in 300 a day increments. I literally only missed five days. And I made those up and for, and so by the end of the year, uh, I had done, you know, with all the extra burpees, about 120,000 and then we had a football. Some football teams are like, Hey, we want to join and we’re just going to do as many burpees as a team as we can, you know, in four hours and raise money. And so we had one like company, a highschool raised like $7,000 and wow. Did like a ton of burpees. And so that’s where we’re, we’re continuing with this mission until we hit our 22 million and then we’ll shift fire. And we’ve, we’ve already raised over $200,000 and there’s been several world record, um, world records that came out of this. So my team, we had six people, three men, three women broke the world record for most number of burpees in 24 hours. That was extraordinary that we use every tool that I teach and it was utterly devastating. Like we just destroyed it. The old world record is 14,000 and this is only one person working at a time. Throughout the 24 hours we did 35,393 burpees. We were going just as strong at the end as where when we started and it was all because we are teaching, you know, treating it like a, you know, like a mission and we knew our why and we’re moving with the breath and we had an incredible strategy and we are all motivating each other and we’re using our big four skills of you know, breath control and positive self talk and visualization and focusing on the task. It’s pretty extraordinary. But I went down a little rabbit hole there, but yeah, so.
Bryan: 01:23:13 That’s amazing.
Mark: 01:23:14 Then here’s another thing about this is like I don’t ever just work out to work out, you know, to me that’s so old school. You got to have a really big why around your physical life, your physical training, you know it’s like the conversation I had with Erwan on Movnat, right. So the purpose of his move naturally program is to basically experience life more fully by moving in nature, learning to move like your body would want to move if we grew up in nature like you know like Tarzan. That’s really cool. That’s a strong why for me in the, in the SEALs I had to move for my mission, I had to learn how to move at a certain way and that’s what I taught SEALFIT athletes and warriors. Like how do you move you need, to be a special operator in a high level of fitness, in rugged terrain and all sorts of environments and to be able to sustain a high amount of intensity but also just slog for a long period of time. And that’s where the SEALFIT training model and the operator workouts came from or are developing strength and stamina on durability and work capacity and endurance and mental toughness through team training. It’s a very distinct training model and then challenging it through these long crucible, no sleep, you know, sleep deprivation type experiences like Kokoro camp, which was 50 hours of nonstop physical mental training, which you should be at Bryan someday.
Bryan: 01:24:37 I, I’m going to come to that. I told you in Hawaii, I hear that you do, do you do it every year and we do three times, two to three times a year.
Mark: 01:24:48 We just finished one Sunday.
Bryan: 01:24:51 That’s just my kind of challenge. I mean, yeah.
Mark: 01:24:55 That’s what my point is. You commit to that and then all of a sudden you got a, a strong why for the next 12 to 18 months for your training and it shifts your training plan and now you’re doing things that are driving toward that. You know, that this is going to make you a better person. You could even organize a charity event around it or something and bam, you know. There’s no quitting there and then you organize a team to support you and of course you’re going to be held to a higher standard and you got your team at your back. There’s no quitting there either. It’s such a different mindset than just going to the gym. Hopefully, you know today, which sometimes rarely happens for people.
Bryan: 01:25:29 Yeah, that sounds incredible. And for anybody who wants to participate in the, in the burpees challenge, they can go to couragefoundation.net and.
Mark: 01:25:39 Couragefoundation.net or feedcourage.org.
Bryan: 01:25:42 Or feedcourage.org. And make a contribution make a commitment to do burpees and then also through financial. Yup. Y
Mark: 01:25:52 Yeah. Well it’s an awesome event. It’d be really want people to do the work because that’s, you know, it’s more meaningful that way. You’re like, I don’t like to just give money to causes. I like to be involved the cause. I think more and more people are thinking that way too. I know you guys have been really involved in philanthropy and I think that’s a lot of it’s been hands on. I really like to see that about you and your companies.
Bryan: 01:26:14 Yeah, well no, it’s, it’s an amazing, um, cause that you’re, that you’re a part of here and inviting others to contribute in meaningful ways. That’s awesome.
Mark: 01:26:23 Hooyah
Bryan: 01:26:23 Okay. So I want, I want to transition now to the lightning round lightening. If you’re ready. Thunder. Okay. Please, please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a?
Mark: 01:26:45 Life is like an incredible journey. Incredible. Actually extraordinary. Okay. You just want one or two words, right?
Bryan: 01:26:54 Perfect. Number two, what is something at which you wish you were better?
Mark: 01:27:00 I wish I was a better communicator. I’m working on it, you know, I wish I was a better writer and speaker and communicate better and I wish I was a little bit more authentic and better person. So yeah, I’m going to work on that.
Bryan: 01:27:15 My Dad thought he was lazy. My mom reminds me of that.
Mark: 01:27:20 It think that is a sign of a really successful person is when the, you know, you get out of your own way and be like, oh my God. You know, the more I trained, the more I reflect, the more I realize how much time I wasted. You know, some of the buffoonery that I was involved in as a younger man and I’m like, Oh man, I better get busy and continue the work. Continue the journey.
Bryan: 01:27:43 Oh, you’re doing it. You’re doing it. All right. Number three. If you were required every day for the rest of your life to wear a t-shirt with a slogan on it, or a saying or a phrase or a quote or equip, what would the shirt say?
Mark: 01:27:59 Oh man, there’s so many. Uh, probably because I’m a Navy SEAL. They would say the only easy day was yesterday.
Bryan: 01:28:06 I love it.
Mark: 01:28:07 Which is the sign that shows up when you walk across the quarter deck to SEAL training. It’s a reminder that to not rest on your laurels. You know, whatever achievement you had yesterday, forget about it. Today’s the day to get busy.
Bryan: 01:28:22 All right. Number four. What book other than your own, have you gifted or recommended most often?
Mark: 01:28:27 Um, you know, there’s been a quite a few, but the one that really got me started on thinking about my thinking was Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill. So I really recommend everyone who’s, you know, looking at personal development and growth. Read that book I love about Napoleon is he wrote it in like in the 20’s and he included a chapter on visualization and it’s really powerful. Yes, it was a good book.
Bryan: 01:28:58 Awesome. Okay. Number five, you travel a lot. What’s one travel hack meaning something you do or something you be, you’re sure to take with you when you travel to make your travel less painful or more enjoyable?
Mark: 01:29:13 I bring my burpees with me.
Bryan: 01:29:16 Everywhere you go.
Mark: 01:29:17 Everywhere I go there are my burpees. And they don’t take up much space either.
Bryan: 01:29:23 That’s convenient. Do those in the TSA line.
Mark: 01:29:26 I hope everyone knows what a burpee is. But I’ve got to tell you that when, you know, every once in a while we’d have these interns come back when we had our SEALFIT training center in Encinitas and some of these, you know, like 16 year old kids who, you know, want to be navy SEALs. And so we um, we played little tricks on him. One of them was, hey, you know what, go in the gym and gather, get me a couple of burpees and bring them out here. They’d be for like 20 minutes. Looking at all the equipment I had a crossfit membership, you know, who knew exactly what was going on. And they’d be like, I don’t know. I think the burpees are in the closet. Go check the closet.
Bryan: 01:30:02 It’s like at some of our dealerships will ask the new technicians where the new lot, the lot technicians to go find the uh, the headlight fluid.
Mark: 01:30:10 That’s similar. Yeah. That’s funny. So my point there is when you travel exercise and you don’t need those gyms, I can’t stand going to this little hotel gyms. What you need is basically your body and to start moving your body. First thing when you wake up every morning and you know burpees and squats like you could do anywhere. It’s no excuses really. They’re phenomenal. Okay. And it has a big impact on your health while you travel and your mindset.
Bryan: 01:30:42 And your mood.
Mark: 01:30:44 And your mood for sure. Mindset and mood are the same thing in my book.
Bryan: 01:30:48 Number six. I feel like we might have just spent an hour and a half talking about this, but what’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
Mark: 01:31:00 Started to um, fast. In fact, I, I, I’m just closing out like a 60 hour fast. I haven’t eaten since what, Sunday night.
Bryan: 01:31:14 You did five hours today and you haven’t eaten since Sunday night? Holy Cow.
Mark: 01:31:17 Absolutely not. So I’m, I’m fasting and here’s something, I’m actually kind of scared about this, but I’m, I’m contemplating for my next challenge during a 30 day fast silent retreat and complete media blackout. So no food, no media and no speaking. I got to work my way up to this one. But that’s going to be, I’m pretty sure but since I’m stating it here publicly, holy crap, I’ve got to do it now. But uh, it’s been like rolling around in my head like, Huh, that’d be kind of cool. And maybe I’ll write a book about the experience. I’ll call it Living With a SEAL, which is good. My friend Jesse with Goggins and wrote a book called Living With a SEAL, so I’ll give him a little plug. And I was thinking, well, why can’t I write a book Living With a SEAL? It’s myself, you know what I mean? But it was just inside my head, you know what I mean? For 30 days, it’s pretty scary place to be. I’d invite you along, but there’s not enough room in there for both of us.
Bryan: 01:32:14 So that sounds like the kind of thing that if it took place on top of a mountain, like in a really beautiful temple.
Mark: 01:32:22 I’ve got to find the right place. Amazing. Fasting is really powerful for longevity.
Bryan: 01:32:30 I’ve heard, I’ve heard that. And even intermittent fasting.
Mark: 01:32:34 I do that too, I mean, intermittent fasting is part of my daily routine. But I mean then fasting, you know, where you go for 36 to 48 hours or longer. Super Powerful.
Bryan: 01:32:45 Yeah, I heard it cleanses like a lot of the like cells and reduces the likelihood of cancer and all kinds of other ailments. Yeah. Amazing. Um, is there a resource or a teacher or any, anyone that you’ve learned from or that people might find useful to also study when it comes to fasting?
Mark: 01:33:02 Guy named Doctor Chu or Chon, you can find that Unbeatable Mind podcast and he was an expert on fasting. I learned so much from him. I had already started doing it, but he really gave me a lot of the science behind it. So I can’t be certain of his name right now. You might want to research it or, or you know, people can go find it at Unbeatable Mind podcasts.
Bryan: 01:33:23 Awesome. Number seven, what’s one thing you wish every American knew?
Mark: 01:33:32 I wish they knew what we talked about in this podcast. That they’ve got the potential for extraordinary goodness and to accomplish whatever they want, if they’re aligned with their purpose or calling. And that, um, that we can lead the way with a world centric perspective to really help our, help humanity become more, you know, become the planetary species that is about to become. To marshal in the technology innovation and the singularity so that we don’t get blown over by tech, but can steward it effectively and to bring people in the world together to begin to eradicate a suffering. I think all Americans would benefit from knowing that they’ve got the potential to be a big part of that solution and not just outsource it to a government or, or somebody, you know, some other official.
Bryan: 01:34:27 Yeah. I wish every American knew that as well.
Mark: 01:34:31 Well we’re doing our part to help people understand that, but then they gotta do their part to step into that role.
Bryan: 01:34:38 No one can do your burpees for you.
Mark: 01:34:40 No one could do my burpees. I can’t outsource the burpees, can’t outsource the meditation. I can’t outsource the important things.
Bryan: 01:34:48 Yeah. Okay. So at this point, um, before we head into just a few questions about writing, I do want to, I want to pause here to do two things. One is to express to you my gratitude for spending so much time with me and with everyone who’s listening. One way that I’ve endeavored to show that gratitude is I’ve made a small micro loan. So I’ve gone on to kiva.org and on your behalf. I’ve made $100 micro loan to a conscious company in Kenya called Biolight that is providing solar lighting systems and cookstoves to charge phones and for low income families in Kenya.
Mark: 01:35:28 Thank you. Oh, cool. Yeah. Well done.
Bryan: 01:35:32 So that was, that was one thing. And then the other thing that I want to do here to make sure that I don’t just leave it to the end or maybe even forget it, which would be, is to let people know how they can reach you. How they can contact you, how to, can learn more from you if they want to. What’s the best way for people to do that, right.
Mark: 01:35:49 Couple of websites, markdivine.com is like general information about me. And you know, the things were up to you. Um, someone is interested in, in the physical training of SEALFIT and SEALFIT.com has information on our events and all the training or on the opwas and tons and tons and tons of free content. And then unbeatablemind.com is our leadership development program. That’s it. Five Mountain Integrated Training, the full spectrum training. So we have an events and online training there. Kokoro yoga has also found there. That’s our daily practice and my books are at Amazon. If someone’s interested in kind of what they heard today, then Unbeatable Mind is really my core foundational philosophy. And one of the books I’m writing now is kind of a sequel to that. And then, um, The Way of the SEAL is really my first leadership book, which is how to use these principles to lead and succeed at an elite level. So those are available to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. And a lot of people who come to my training, they kind of start with the books. I think that’s probably how you did it, right? You found Unbeatable Mind or The Way of the SEAL?
Bryan: 01:36:51 You know my first exposure was on it. It was that pleasant surprise of hearing from you at the leadership academy at Tony Robbins. That was the very first thing. Yup, and then it was the podcast, the Unbeatable Mind podcast, which I’ve loved and we’ve got the, yeah, the podcast is great and Way of the SEAL. By the way, I loved this book and one of the things I loved was that you shared your stories, but also just the way that you’ve structured it in a way that it builds on itself. It’s very readable and I actually really, really loved, I’m a, I’m a lover of quotations and you used a lot of quotations to begin chapters or to head sections that I’d never heard before and I actually have got a few written on my whiteboard. I love this one. I’d never heard the smoke jumper creed about “Do today, what others won’t do tomorrow, what others can’t.” I love that.
Mark: 01:37:42 Another t-shirt. If I could have more than one t-shirt, if you would allow me a second one, I would put that on there.
Bryan: 01:37:48 Well there’s a front and back you can do front. Okay. Yeah, no, that’s awesome. Okay, that’s fantastic. So people can reach you, they can buy your books. Um, they can come do a program. How many of the programs would people interact with you personally?
Mark: 01:38:07 Such a great question. Um, I really don’t get involved with the SEALFIT events anymore. I just don’t have the time. I try to make it up to the Kokoro camp and to check in and, you know, talk to the folks and I try to kick off our performance academies, but literally we’re talking about an hour or two. The one program, the two programs actually that I am all in on is the Unbeatable Mind Experience, which we run twice a year, March and September. And that’s where I basically download the entire training philosophy and teach everybody on, you know, the skills of concentration, visualization, meditation, you know, um, integrated movement and stuff like that. And then the other is our Kokoro Yoga retreat, which we do every year. It’s a one week or two week and also doubles as a teacher training, uh, certified 200 hour teacher training with the yoga alliance. So I’m involved in that quite a bit, you know, with my stepdaughter Catherine, who is my head Yogi. So those are the two that I’m really involved at. And then also private events. So we do a lot of private events with corporations and teams and a lot of these private events would want to hear things from the horse’s mouth. You know, that’s me. And, um, so I’m, I’m involved in a lot of private events or speaking engagements, but the public events, the Unbeatable Mind Experience and our Kokoro Yoga retreats, which are in August, that one’s in August.
Bryan: 01:39:28 Awesome. Okay. And people can learn all the questions. Thank you for asking. Unbeatablemind.com they can see all that. Awesome. Okay, wonderful. All right, so with the last few questions, how you doing? You still doing okay. All right.
Mark: 01:39:44 Dude. I could go for another two hours. Take a burpee break.
Bryan: 01:39:49 Yeah, I do want to, I do want to respect your time and I, I love this and I learned so much too. So, um, let’s, let’s do this. So I have, okay, the questions about writing. Well, what do you want to say about writing? What do you want to say to anybody listening who wants to do what you’ve done, which is to take their thoughts and experiences and maybe stories and research and put them in. Put them between two covers and share them with other people in a way that makes a difference, that actually gets out into the world. And that makes a difference for people. What, what do you, what do you say to those people?
Mark: 01:40:21 Um, do it for the right reason. So there’s so much crap being produced out there. Don’t, don’t contribute to that pile, please. You know, it just makes it harder for good authors or good, you know, people, stuff that people should read to be found. So know your why. Everything like this starts with the why. Don’t do it just because you egotistically want to be an author or you think it’s just going to help your business. You know it should be a burning passion to say something that you want to share and then do it. So that’s the kind of the first thing and then you a team. Just like anything else like Bryan, your podcast, you’ve got a team and I have a team here and the team is going to support you to do the things that you don’t want to do or shouldn’t do. Now maybe if it’s your first effort, you don’t have any money, then sure go ahead and get a self publishing course and learn how to do it yourself. I did Unbeatable Mind myself and I self published it and that that book has sold more than all my other books combined and it makes more money. You know, self publishing is a great way to make a lot of money. But if I hadn’t had the success of The Way of the SEAL and 8 Weeks to SEALFIT, which was New York Times bestseller, then I wouldn’t be selling a lot of those self published books. Right. And so if you can get a major deal, go for it. Right? Don’t turn your back on it. No matter how many authors say, don’t, you know, traditional publishing is dead. And I say, yeah, but right. I’m doing both. And every time I do a traditionally published book, it brings credibility. It, you know, there’s a lot of marketing muscle behind it and each of one of those books, you know, introduces them introduces the reader to one of my self published books where they become kind of a cash flow machine. But also the other thing is if you want to, if you’re one and done or if you’re, if you’re okay, kind of selling your idea and it’s like a one off thing, go with a traditional publisher. Like I say, great way to go, you’re getting an advance maybe and whatnot. But if it’s a, if it’s like so near and dear to your heart that like the content is not fixed in time. Like Unbeatable Mind for me, I look at, you know, Unbeatable Minds is evolutionary content and that’s why I’ve on the third edition of that book and I’m about ready to update it again after I finish the sequel because as you change the content suddenly, you know, like I don’t like it anymore. It’s stuck in time and I want the content to change because it, it’s got to represent your best work, your highest and best self. So with self published work you can go back and edit the content anytime you want. Yes, it’s a little bit of a process, but you know, like I said, I’ve done it three times from Unbeatable Mind and the book gets better every time I write it, which is really cool. Uh, you don’t have to go through a big rigmarole with your publisher or just write, you know, write a whole new book. You just update the one you have. Then you can create workbooks around it. You can create a whole series of books when you self publish. So there’s, you know, my point here is to consider publishing from a multi-perspective point of view. And it’s not, there’s not one way that’s right. And you know, there, there’s a lot of benefit in traditional publishing, especially if you’re kicking things off. And then there’s a lot of benefit in self publishing but in both cases, right. Or, you know, be serious enough to write a real book. You know, cause I’ve seen, you know, there’s like internet people like, um, somehow I’m on James [inaudible] email list and he’s a big blogger and podcaster and he’s promoting, you know, just writing these like 60 page books and you know, people have the time for it and you know, you can earn a ton of money just by putting some thoughts on paper and in self publishing it. And the problem with that is that most of that is crap, you know, and it’s just, and I’ve bought some of those books before and I’m just like so disappointed when it comes in the mail because it’s hard to discern just from, you know, Amazon doesn’t, you know, people buy the five star ratings or have all their friends go, you know, it’s, it’s broken system. So write a real book. Be serious about it and self, look at both self publishing and traditional. And then there’s the question I often get about process, like what’s your process? And I honestly have to say that my process has evolved in it changes, right? It really depends upon going what’s going on in my life. The first two books I wrote, um, one of them I had a co writer and that was because an agent came to me and asked me to write the book and insisted on a co writer. And so I said okay. And it was a helpful process because she, you know, she made my work better. It was, my story is my work. I wrote initial, I wrote every initial word, but there’s more that she cut out probably then what actually ended up in the book. And so she, she helped make the work really a lot better. And so it really helps to have a co writer, doesn’t have to be a named author, you know, it could be a, you know, a phantom writer or a ghostwriter or a process like scribe, um, is another great resource. So that you have someone to kind of like battle test your work and to make it better and puts your through the crucible of, you know, thinking about your own thinking and thinking about your writing and organizing better and you know, making it simpler and cutting crap out and you know, really helping you stay on track and then, then there’s the potential to like speak your story. That never worked very good to me. Like I speak differently than I write. Uh, I’m more stream of consciousness when I speak and I’m a more of a thinker and a creative when I write. I actually like when The Way of the SEAL I came up with some really, really cool models for [inaudible] planning, like the fits and the prop model. And I would never have come up with those if I had spoken, you know, the the chapter to a cowriter and ghostwriter and then him spinning it back to me. That ha that came from like a deep contemplate of process when I was writing, you know, with my own fingers, you know, so to speak. So you don’t want to avoid that. Because there’s, to me it’s really important to have a clutter of process. But for me, you know, my point here is learn how you, your best work gets done and then do it structure your process to do it that way. Um, I don’t have a set writing routine in terms of like, some people say they wake up every morning and they write from, you know, six to eight or they don’t, you know, they put pump out a thousand words. I don’t work that way. I have to basically put myself on deadlines and then I go deep. You know, whether it’s like a week here, a week there, or I go out to Utah and your neck of the woods. I have a little cabin in Eden, Utah, which is very quiet and I use it as sort writing retreat.
Bryan: 01:47:03 My sister lives there.
Mark: 01:47:03 Does she really?
Bryan: 01:47:05 Yeah, but you get some good writing done in Eden?
Mark: 01:47:10 I do. Yeah. And I’ve twice use that as my writing retreat where I go down there and just go deep. That works well for me, you know? And um, and you know, every, every book is a been a little bit different and some, you know, a little bit harder than others depending upon who I’ve partnered with or, you know, I’m trying to, I finally found a writer who can help me, really challenge me and I think it’s gonna work out for the next book or two. So we’ll see. But I, you know, when I say writer, I mean editor, you know, someone who’s like got the scalpel out, you know, you’re an author, but the author doesn’t necessarily write every word. And if you do, it’s rare actually. And I have done that. But, um, Unbeatable Mind was that doesn’t mean the other books are as good actually, they’re probably better in some ways because they’ve had that scalpel in that second set of eyes. At the same time don’t lose your authenticity and your purpose for writing the book. And so if you’re getting feedback that’s going to dilute your voice or you know, taking it in a direction that you don’t want it, then just don’t do it, you know? Yeah. Stay true. To your, your intention.
Bryan: 01:48:16 What’s the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Mark: 01:48:20 That’s writing is like a business in itself, you know, I know I probably spend 20 to $30,000 on each manuscript to get it to where I want it.
Bryan: 01:48:35 Just in editing or does that include like design, layout.
Mark: 01:48:38 Design, editing, you know, the whole process, um, to include, you know, I’m not including my time, but there’s a lot of costs involved in doing it really, really well. Right. I mean, I think most people who put out books, books like I do or you know, you could ask Tim Ferriss when these guys, it, it costs money and it takes a lot of time and it’s a laborious process. And even though it seems like I’m putting out these books, like I’ve been working on mine, the two books I’m writing now, I’ve been working on, one was actually, it’s going to pretty quick process for about six months, but the other one I’ve been working on for 18 months and um, because it’s self published, I’m not on a deadline, which is probably why, but I wanted to get this other book done. So I pushed it back. But you know, as I wrote it, the book started writing itself and it started to evolve and, and I, you know, I learned to kind of through the process what I really wanted to say, you know, um, and so it’s going to be much better sometimes. You know, it’s just that long process where the book kind of writes itself and, and then other times you just get really clear your idea and it’s just like boom. It just flows right through you. You know? So the writing is really weird times.
Bryan: 01:49:52 The rare times that happens, I’m just always so grateful.
Mark: 01:49:56 I know, right? You want it to be like that all the time. But yeah, creativity is, is, um, you know, it’s a fickle thing and sometimes it’s just boom, like right there, like you said, you’re just flowing like magic and other times, most of the time it’s just a slog and you meet a lot of resistance. I love the work of um, oh, um, a no, what’s his name? Who is the guy who wrote The War of Art? Peter, no.
Bryan: 01:50:22 Steven Pressfield.
Mark: 01:50:23 Steven Pressfield. I love his work. And I read his blog and I actually interviewed him years ago at navyseal.com about The Gates of Fire, which is one of my favorite books about the Spartans and the battle of Thermopylae is phenomenal. But he’s got some great tools in terms of written kind of inspiration, I think, uh, the deeper or go professional is another one or something like that. I was in the war of art, either going pro or turning pro, right? Yeah. Yeah. And he’s got a blog called Steven Pressfield’s writing Wednesdays, which is well worth reading if you’re a, um, if you’re an author or an aspiring author.
Bryan: 01:51:00 I love his, his work too. Yeah. My last.
Mark: 01:51:04 The reason, the reason I brought him up is because he says the same thing that I just said. Basically that writing is, you meet a lot of resistance with writing, but if you’ve got a book in you, if you feel like an author, you’ve got to get it out. There’s no, like there’s no turning back from that calling. It is your creative expression. And if no one reads the book, you still got to write it.
Bryan: 01:51:27 Yeah. It’s kind of a fatalistic view point of it. I love it. Okay, so one last writing related question and then I have just one last breathing question. If you’re, if you’re okay with that and then we’ll wrap up. Okay. So the last writing question I have is, um, in your view, what are the qualities of a great sentence and how can we write more of them? Yeah.
Mark: 01:51:54 First of all, writing great sentences is not easy. Um, great sentences are the simplest, but also, um, really engaging, you know, so I’d like to think every sentence can tell like a little, it’s got a little piece of this story embedded in it. Like the DNA of the whole should be embedded in the part. Um, I can’t stand reading books, this is part of my judgment here, so I can’t stand reading books that are repetitive and you know, have just like so many words, right. When you can say it in one sentence, like it drives me crazy to read an entire paragraph when you know, it could have been said in one sentence. And that’s so common these days because people are just putting out stuff. So practice the kiss principle, keep it simple and just take out, take out, take out, take out and take out. Right. Like I said, either more than 50% of every word that I write is never makes it into a final manuscript. You got to be exacting with your scalpel. And then two, don’t be afraid to use a lot of action words and you know, expressive words. I did a creative writing seminar, um, down in Austin, Texas at this place called The Wizard Academy and it was really cool and helpful and they just teach, teach people and entrepreneurs how to be, how be expressive and creative and to write. And the fonder is advertising writer named Roy Williams. So he, you know, he knows how to write creative though, but you know, they don’t just leave and limit it to marketing. It’s all, you know, business and creativity and stuff like that. So, you know, get some training. Um, but also just make sure that you, um, express your most authentic self. That’s why I think all of these things are related that we’ve talked, talked about if you have a practice of meditation and that practice of meditation leads to great, much greater clarity over time and that much greater, that clarity is going to be expressed through your writing. And if you have a practice of journaling, well guess what? Journaling is practicing writing, but also your practicing thinking that you’re thinking, thinking about your thinking, and that’s going to reflect in better writing. So writing really is a, a process of becoming and sharing, sharing who you’re becoming. And I’m, I’m thinking, you know, even, you know, fiction writers are often sharing, you know, aspects of their personality. Even if it’s their shadow, right. And there and they’re telling a story, some heroes journey and they’re, and they’re right there. They’re telling their story often through their words. So commit to becoming the person you want to be and tell your story and the journey. And then what you’ll find is when that story’s done, another story will emerge. And so this is how you can put out 20 or 30 books in the next 20 or 30 years and have fun.
Bryan: 01:54:57 Story, stories be mountains beyond mountains, stories beyond stories. Right. Awesome. Okay, well thank well thank you for sharing that. Um, and I think, I think people will, at least those who have listened this long, who knew the, that the talking was asleep asleep right now. I don’t know. There’s some long commutes out there, some people that are in southern California.
Mark: 01:55:18 Snoring away.
Bryan: 01:55:20 So. Okay. Um, my last question, I’m realizing a personal curiosity question. I came and did a program in Santa Monica and went to Santa Monica a couple of weeks ago. Uh, this was back in February of 2018 for whoever might be listening to this in the future. And this guy taught me this breathing process I’d never done before that I’ve come home and I did it a couple times and then I was like, this could be dangerous. And I’m wondering, your experience, it’s a deep breathing is like 30 breaths in and out as intensely as possible. Then you, I believe it’s on the inhale. You hold until you just can’t hold anymore. Then you exhale and hold on the exhale and it’s like an altered state is totally freaking amazing, but I’m worried I might hurt myself. You have any advice like either avoid that or how to go about that safely?
Mark: 01:56:09 It sounds like Wim Hoff or someone.
Bryan: 01:56:11 Yeah, it wasn’t Wim that I did the program with and it might’ve been his technique. But in your view, is there any, anything we can do with breathing that actually could hurt us? Or is it all part of our natural organism? Like our natural function and its is okay to test the limits with that kind of stuff. I mean, I know you’re not a doctor and this isn’t that kind of advice, but what’s your, what’s your kind of personal view on that?
Mark: 01:56:33 That’s such a great question. I’m in studying breathing since and I sat down in that zen meditation bench and it’s a big part of our training and we always issue a warning, right? And so our breathing, um, our, our introduction for breathing, it starts with just breath awareness. And then we go to box breathing, which you know about, cause we did it at Tony’s event. Box breathing is extremely safe, right? And basically just inhaling, you know, at a slow and controlled pattern for four or five count, then you’re going to hold your breath and you’re gonna hold it in a lifting kind of lights, feeling not clamping down and creating any back pressure. And then you’re gonna exhale to a four or five cotton. Then you’re gonna hold your breath. And then you know, as you get adept at that and go beyond the physiological effect, then you get into the concentration and the mental development aspects of the box breathing. It’s very safe. There are other breathing patterns, you know, like that, that are, that are less safe or will that have different impact. Now what you experienced was a called a krea or an energy activation exercise. It’s not a Pranayama or in the classic sense, and I wouldn’t consider it to be a daily breath practice. Um, if you do it once in a while, uh, to create a special, you know, kind of state like to get into state, let to use Tony’s Robin’s terminology or like if you’re a navy SEAL candidate and you’re about ready to get into the freezing ocean, then that’s a great breath. That breath comes from the Tibetans, it’s called To Mo and it was designed to help them really keep warm their body up and maintain heat, you know, for long, cold nights. Now here’s the rub. Breathing, you know, when you begin to take conscious control your breathing, then you’re beginning to move energy. Breath, you know, breath has both um, the air like the, the oxygen and carbon dioxide aspect to it. And so learning how to breathe properly and controlling your breathing and like with box breathing has like an enormous benefit for health and also for, um, the longevity and health and also being, you know, be able to calm your mind down because it’s very physically calming your brain down, slowing the brain waves as well as activating your parasympathetic nervous system or your rest and digest function. It does that because of the diaphragmatic movement, which is massaging your vagal nerves in your earlier enteric nervous system, which is triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, which is good. So it’s releasing stress. That’s all very powerful. But you’re also beginning to work with life force or Chi or Pranas. So you’ve got to imagine that you know, this stuff when we think of is just oxygen is actually, you know, leighton electricity. It’s, it’s intelligent life force. So when you begin to work with breast practices, has this powerful, transformative effect on your mind. Now if you have mental patterns that are not healthy or are, or just say another way, our dysfunctional, then intense breathing, like what you experience can eradicate dysfunctional mental patterns and emotional patterns and, and literally causes people to become destabilized. And that’s happened many times. It’s not likely to happen to someone who’s very healthy and very physically fit. You know, I’ve got SEALs who love Wim Hoff and they do it practically every day. Uh, you know, it’s the same time. I’m still saying the jury’s out cause I, you know, I want to see him in five years. You know, or three years when I did my podcast with Wim Hoff, I got done with a podcast. I hung up and I thought, holy crap, you know, this guy is teaching like the seriously intense Krea as if it’s meant to be a daily practice. And you know, some people might go off the rails with this. So I went back and recorded a warning on it. My personal opinion is that that practice should not be an introductory practice. It should not be done every day. There’s really very little benefits of doing it every day. Having said that, every once in a while, once a week even, you know, you’re okay to do that. And we have those types of practices. If you’re getting ready for a workout or if you, you know, if you really want to just change your state immediately and energize, it’s no problem. But, you know, be careful what you ask for in doing things every day, you know, has a powerful effect, especially with the breathing, you know, to, um, to change your mind. And it could be in a positive or a negative sense. You got to understand what you’re doing with these practices. That’s why in a competent teacher is really important. I’ve got another friend, I’ll say one more thing. Stig. Stig is just an extraordinary human being. He’s an example of what, you know, what’s possible with people who had, you know, do these practices for a long period of time and just singularly focus on them. So Stig can hold his breath for 22 minutes, maybe 23 now. Cause he probably broke his own world record. And he’s been able to do that. The practice of Yoga, which is, you know, the way you and I understand yoga is a complete practice of, of mind, body, spiritual integration, uh, using breath movement meditation. It’s the control of the mind and through the control of the mind, you control the life force. And so he’s able to, through these practices, really kind of slow his heart rate down to like very, very slow rate and to dramatically reduce the energy needs of his body so that he can stay underwater for that long. You know there’s not a, there’s not a medical professional in the world who would have told you that that was physically capable for human being to hold their breath for 22 minutes and then get out and be fine. Having said that, Stig does have a pet monkey that is like a doll that he carries with them a little attached to this thing. Just saying it’s a possibility that the breathing has done something to Stig.
Bryan: 02:02:42 Hey man, whatever works.
Mark: 02:02:46 Well anyway. I don’t want to ding the guy I love. I love Stig. I’m just kind of being, yeah, I’m just being fun with him.
Bryan: 02:02:54 Well, the, the top performers in, in pretty much every field I’ve discovered, there’s some unconventionality associated, so for sure. Yeah. No surprise.
Mark: 02:03:03 I’m hiding mine from you.
Bryan: 02:03:06 We’ll Mark this. As I said before, this is really been a privilege for me. Thank you again for devoting so much time to talk with me. Everybody who’s listening to share of your, your wisdom, your experience to invite us to participate in all the good work you’re doing.
Mark: 02:03:22 Yeah, thank you.
Bryan: 02:03:22 It’s, it’s awesome. I felt there’s been a lot of fun. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Well I told you we do travel two hours. No, no worries.
Mark: 02:03:31 I know, right? Wow. Time flies when you’re having fun. Yes. Good luck with the podcast to see you kind of finding your calling and, and uh, aligning with your purpose. So it’s really exciting and I’m here to help you out and serve in any way I can. So,
Bryan: 02:03:44 okay, well please let me know how, how I can be of service to you. If anything ever comes up or you find yourself in Utah during the Jazz season, maybe we can catch a game together or something. So I’ll just keep in mind you’ve always, always got a friend in Salt Lake.
Mark: 02:04:00 Hooya! Thanks Brian.
Bryan: 02:04:01 Thank you. I’ll talk to you later.