You can become unstoppable by building your resilience. (Photo: Flickr/Official U.S. Navy Page)
Eric Greitens’ list of accolades is long: he’s a Navy SEAL, PhD-holder, Rhodes scholar, and an author, to name just a few. And his newest book, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life, is all about this key characteristic that gets us through the hard stuff.
Eric is no stranger to this, as he recounts in our conversation about Navy SEAL training, his travels around the world photographing war-torn areas, and working with veterans with PTSD.
He gave me some insight on what it takes to be resilient and how to overcome fears both in the moment and long-term: Know how to take responsibility for what you can control, even in the face of fear.
Here are Eric’s tips on becoming resilient and building your courage so that nothing can stop you:
1. Let go of excuses. The enemy of resilience and excellence is excuses. Excuses start for a good reason: They’re like armor — they shield people from pain. The problem is that you build up so much armor that you can’t run or swim or hug your kids. Excuses protect you, but you can’t live a full life with them because you will always be holding back.
2. Learn to control your breathing. Breathing is one of only two functions in the body that are both voluntary and involuntary. (The other is blinking.) Controlling your breath can completely alter the way you react to fear and stress. You can even induce fear by breathing a certain way (though I’m not sure why you would want to!). But if you can learn to pay attention to your breathing when you’re afraid, you can start to re-take control of your body. Taking slow inhales and exhales can give you the access to reevaluate your situation. It doesn’t mean the fear goes away, but it gives you enough control to figure out what to do next.
3. Write it down. Take the time to write down your fears: in business, in your personal life, in general. Eric knows of a former heavyweight world champion who was afraid to confront his gardener about overcharging for services. This is a classic example of how we can be super strong in some areas but let our fears control us in areas where we are weak. Writing down your fear gives you the opportunity to look at it from an analytical standpoint and figure out where that fear comes from and what to do when it rears its head in real life.
We all have uneven courage. The idea is not to take the fear away, but to identify what that fear really is so that you can attack and break it down in a healthy way. When you can look at your fears from the outside, you can create a plan of attack when they happen on the inside. Once you begin to see it in front of you, you can start to take control.
For my full conversation with Eric, listen below:
For more on Eric, click here.
ABOUT LEWIS HOWES: Lewis is a pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur who hosts the top-ranked podcast The School of Greatness. He interviews the best and brightest minds in health, entrepreneurship, relationships and lifestyle. Follow Lewis on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.