“Don’t get too comfortable. Ever.” Navy Seal
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. We’ve all probably read this quote or seen something like it on Instagram. Deep down, we know personal growth comes when we depart our comfort zone. Many of us are willing to step outside our comfort zone for short periods of time for incremental improvements, but we quickly move back to where we are content.
It makes you wonder, what would happen if we left our comfort zone for an extended period? What if we went even further? What if we hired one of the toughest men on the planet to live with us and train us like a Navy Seal for a month?
“I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.” Navy Seal
Luckily for us, we don’t have to wonder because someone has done it. And the story is both inspiring and hilarious.
Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet is that story. It follows the author, Jesse Itzler, a successful entrepreneur, as he leaves his comfort zone in an extreme way. In a desire to raise the bar on his fitness, Itzler hires a decorated Navy Seal to live with him and train him.
A clash of cultures. From the first day the Seal moves into Itzler’s high-end apartment in New York City, there is a clash of cultures and mindsets. Itzler is a wealthy businessman with a young family living a comfortable life with three homes, private jets, cocktail parties, and all the trappings that comes with success. The Navy Seal (who’s name we never learn) has nothing except a backpack and an attitude.
“Even the way he spit was scary. If he hit you with it, it likely would leave a scar. He was intimidating. Physically, the man looked like someone sprayed muscle paint all over his body. Ripped. Flawless.” Jesse Itzler
To get the most out of this book, it should be listened to on Audible because it is read by the author and you get Itzler’s true reaction to all the crazy things the Seal wants him to do. Where Itzler seeks comfort, the Navy Seal chooses to be uncomfortable. When it snows, the Seal wants to go running. When he’s exhausted, the Seal wants to do more pull-ups. When the lake is frozen over, the Seal wants to cut a hole and jump in. Itzler’s reactions to the Seal’s unconventional training methods are priceless. For 31 days, Itzler trains like a Seal, completely outside his comfort zone.
“Whatever you got going on, someone else has more pain. You gotta learn how to fight through it. No matter what it is.” Navy Seal
The transformation. What makes this book special is Itzler’s transformation. He starts out questioning and pushing back on the methods of the Seal. He also doesn’t understand why the Seal lives a simple life, doesn’t have a lot of baggage, and is always pushing himself to extremes. As Itzler begins to transform, he learns he can do so much more than he ever thought. He realizes that all his limits are in his head. He starts the training by not being able to do 20 pushups but ends up doing more than 250 a day. He begins to enjoying running in the snow and looks forward to jumping in the frozen lake. He learns to enjoy being uncomfortable and discovers that, by challenging himself, he can do more than he ever dreamed was possible. He also learns the importance of living a simple life.
“Most of my successes in life have come from learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Jesse Itzler
While most of us can’t afford to hire a Navy Seal, we can learn a lot from Itzler’s experience. Each of us have mental barriers that stop us from achieving our goals. We think we can’t lose weight, start a business, get in shape, stop smoking, go back to college, or write a book. We’re afraid to start because we’re worried we’ll fail. But, as Itzler learned, we are more capable than we realize. It takes getting out of our comfort zone and becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable to reach our potential. As the Navy Seal reminded Itzler, “Every day do something that makes you uncomfortable.”
See more of my articles on business and leadership at jonsrennie.com.