In his book, Living with a SEAL, Jesse Itzler tells the story of being inspired by a certain Navy SEAL and consequently inviting him to live at Itzler’s home for a month. Itzler admitted being in a personal rut and wanted to shake himself out of his routine.
Day 1: “SEAL” asked Itzler, “How many pull-ups can you do?” Itzler squeaked out eight shaky pull-ups.
“Take 30 seconds and do it again,” SEAL said. 30 seconds later, Itzler got on the bar and did six, struggling.
“Take 30 seconds and do it one more time,” SEAL said. 30 seconds later, Itzler got on the bar and did three, at which point his arms were exhausted.
“Alright, we’re not leaving here until you do 100 more,” SEAL stated. Itzler was puzzled. “Alright, we’re gonna be here a long-time. Cause there’s no way I could do 100.” However, Itzler ended-up completing the challenge, doing one pull-up at a time. Thus, SEAL convinced Itzler that he could do way more than he thought he could.
The principle SEAL taught is what he calls the 40% rule — which essentially means people feel maxed-out mentally and physically, and thus stop, when they are at only 40% of their actual capacity. Going past this 40% capacity is when it becomes uncomfortable. Thus, SEAL’s mantra, “If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.”
I'm not sure what caught my attention and prompted me to read this article but it hits so many things right on the head when it comes to motivation and true satisfaction. Whe I look back at some of my proudest accomplishments, they are events or periods during which I worked "too hard" or "suffered" greatly. Yet when I came out of the other side I couldn't have been prouder.
This concept is embedded in Crossfit. Unlike most people, who check their smartphones between exercise “sets,” at Crossfit, you have a specific objective and you kill yourself until it’s done.
If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.
Now I know why I like Crossfit so much. It sucks...in a good way. That's why it's worth doing. Same thing with some of the harder climbs I've done. I remember being up on El Cap thinking that I never wanted to climb Big Walls again...and back I came a year later to climb Half Dome. On Half Dome I swore I was done with Big Walls...and a year later I was trying Lurking Fear up on El Cap. I guess I embrace the tough stuff. Here's hoping that attitude brings me success later in life.
For now, I encourage you to look for something that might seem horrible to try...and just tackle it and not quit. You will finish...trust me.
It will suck. And it will be worth it.