How Mark Divine, ex Navy Seal and author of SEALFIT and UNBEATABLE MIND, used “visualisation” and meditation to achieve his lifetime goal of becoming a Seal, and the importance of these mind tools throughout his career.
Mark Divine began his career in business but found this wasn’t his passion. He felt that there was more to life than just climbing the corporate ladder. What got him to shift his focus is that he became involved in a martial art called Sado Karate. The founder became Mark’s first true mentor. What he did was to slow Mark down on a meditation bench every day. It was during this quiet time of watching his thoughts that he was able to plumb the depths to see what was inside of him. What first came up was that he was a misfit in his work and he didn’t belong there. The second thing that came up was the question: If I don’t belong there where do I belong? It forced him to contemplate something really new and ask himself the questions: Who am I and why am I on this planet?
He began to break this down within his daily meditation. He tapped into his intuition and he recognised that he needed a job that was high risk and he needed to be a leader.
He then needed to focus. What was he passionate about? What was his purpose? And then he worked out his principles.
His next step: he looked at what he could do, and he kept coming back to being a Navy Seal.
He prepared mentally and physically, which included a deep visualisation programme. Every day he practiced and trained his mind to become a Seal. He states to this day that meditation had the most profound impact, leading him to him to a sense of certainty.
I want to be a Seal to: “I’m going to be a Seal”.
Mark spent the months ahead totally focused and all he thought about was becoming a Navy Seal. He trained in his mind to become a Seal. He states that this visualisation led him to a sense of certainty. He obviously had to also do fitness training, but each day he would sit quietly and visualise himself already a Seal. He visualised this for half an hour every day.
Visualisation is one of the most important concepts for people to learn, and anchoring the correct feeling to the visual picture.
When I personally train people to ‘retrain the brain’ I ensure that we not only create the picture or movie of what people want, I anchor the correct feeling to the picture and also create a strong Mantra for them to read daily.
The Mantra is similar to that of a prescription. When we write it together, create the picture and emotional hook, we then need to repeat it between 2 and 6 times a day for a minimum of 21 days. Realistically it is better to do this over a course of a few months until you have reached your goal.
This is when we see the biggest change in people. However, if you are going to read it and not mean it or really feel it, it doesn’t become as powerful. You also need to believe it. At this stage we need to be mindful of our internal dialogue. Any self doubt that creeps in needs to be grabbed and thrown away. Just think about this - if you don’t really believe that you can become that top footballer, that creative actor, that successful business owner, well guess what – it won’t happen. In simple terms – your thoughts become your reality.
What we think we become – Buddha
Mental toughness + self discipline + daily vision of what you want + tied to your sense of purpose = achievement
We have to be really clear about this, meditation really helps here. Mark did indeed go on to become a Navy Seal and spent 9 years in active duty and 11 years as a reserve Navy Seal Officer.
As a reserve he could still develop his skills. He went back into the business world but also could maintain the skills. Within the business world he was contracted to mentor Navy seal candidates. This is where the concept of ‘SEAL FIT’ came from.
SEAL FIT was developed out of the Navy's SEAL Candidate Mentoring Programme, which took the pass rate for Navy SEAL candidates from 33% to over 80% on the Physical Screening Test at Navy Boot Camp.
The integrated training, which involves physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual training, has resulted in over a 90% success rate for the Special Operations candidates.
This is very impressive, as Mark has combined the training not only of the physical and mental but also the emotional, intuitional and spiritual.
The words, emotional and spiritual can often be deemed as fluffy. Well they’re not.
Let’s take our internal dialogue as an example. It is said that we have an average of 70,000 thoughts that run through our minds daily and around 95% of these thoughts have an emotion attached to them.
If I was to ask you to think about the best day of your life or the saddest day of your life, your mind will bring up the picture/memory of that event, but what also happens is that attached to that memory is a feeling and emotion and it’s the emotion that can drive that forward.
If some of us are still dealing with a bad break up or feeling down about not gaining that dream job, when we think about the break up, what happens? The emotion pops up. The emotion that we have associated with that event.
So how can emotions be fluffy when it’s what very often we allow to drive us?
We need to start recognizing our feelings at a much deeper level to enable us to take control of them. Because I am in control of my mind, my mind does not control me.
When I went through my growth, I found that I was focused for between 2 and 8 hours a day on learning these new skills. I was very fortunate at the time that I had taken what could have been a negative and turned it into a positive.
I had just been told by my consultant that I would need to undergo a very major operation and I needed it within a couple of weeks. The recovery time was between 6 to 9 months, due to the severity of it.
When I walked out of the hospital that day I was determined to use this time wisely. I looked at what it was I needed to learn during my recovery period and went and got all the resources that I would need to support me with my personal growth. I set the house up so that things would be easier for me post op. I prepared. I was very lucky as I was living in Cyprus at the time on RAF Akrotiri as a contracted Civvie within the Education sector. I had a good sunny climate and I had a good care package in place.
I needed to look at all the positives, as being negative would only hinder my recovery.
I began instantly to visualise how I would be post op. I visualised myself resting but also being mentally strong, I visualised myself managing in a positive way around the house and also visualised myself learning new skills. I placed the books near the bed and also in my living area. I visualised myself getting up every morning to shower and get dressed and go downstairs. I visualised sitting in the garden in the afternoon being grateful that I was now getting better.
I created a plan. I had worked out how I would get myself up and down the stairs. I worked out how I would get into the shower. Simple things, like ensuring that meals were already made and frozen. I moved the microwave down to my level so I didn’t need to stretch. I moved crockery around so I could reach them. Simple things which could have been difficult.
This enabled me to embrace it rather than be scared of what was ahead. And that is what I did. Sheer determination (the feeling) , setting my goal and visualising the recovery time in a positive and strong manner. I was determined to win over my mind throughout this experience and I did. I was able to productively use this time away from work and begin to really learn about me. As Mark explains in his books – be in control of your mind, build mental toughness and mental control.
I learnt the true power of visualisation. I had started my journey and also was back in work after 3 months, so be it part time. It was definitely mind over matter.
There are many studies out there regarding the impact on visualisation and one of them being the basketball study conducted by Dr. Biasiotto at the University of Chicago. In the study he split people into three groups and tested each group on how many free throws they could make. He made the first group practice free throws every day for an hour.
The second group just visualized themselves making free throws.
The third group did nothing.
After 30 days, he tested them again. The first group improved by 24%. The second group improved by 23% without even touching a basketball!!!! The third group did not improve, which was expected.
There are many examples like this out there, but the question I would like to ask is this: Can you imagine if you practised and visualised your outcomes on a regular basis? The power of doing both? Mark Divine kept this vision each day before he became a Navy Seal. Perfect practice starts in your mind. And to quote Dr Joe Dispenza:
“The best way to predict your future is to create it”.
Some tips on visualisation:
• You need to use your senses whilst visualising. Visualise yourself there in the boardroom, on the pitch, in that interview. See it through your own eyes. What is going on? Feel every feeling in the now. Hear any sounds that you think might be there
• Clear any negative thoughts or self-doubt
• Do this daily, set your goal and create a daily plan
• Stick to it
• Be 100% clear on what you are focusing on – no mixed messages, if you are not sure on what you want - BE SURE
• Write it out, making sure its stated in the now, as if you’ve already achieved it
Live a full life, keep focused on what you want rather than what you don’t want. I don’t mean materialistic things, I mean being genuinely happy, content, loving, driven, focused, disciplined, consistent, having clarity. Attach this to the goal. Keep focused every day. To live a happy and fulfilled life, we need to be in control of our mind every single day. This takes total discipline and perseverance.
If I personally don’t read my “daily script” for around a week, or don’t set myself up appropriately in the morning or don’t check in with myself during the day and ask how am I feeling, or how do I need to feel, if I don’t practice daily gratitude, I slip back into old habits. This is where the limiting beliefs creep back in, and the low energy and the low vibrational language will kick back in. Since I have written a script that I read daily with my goals clearly stated in them I have succeeded in achieving each goal in around 9 months of writing it. Once I have achieved it, I raise the bar on my next set of goals. I read this daily and hook the feeling and visualisation to it.
Personal development never ends. It’s the 7th habit of highly effective people, according to Steven Covey. It's called “sharpening the saw”. Covey describes Sharpening the Saw as "preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you”. It means having a balanced programme for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
If you are focused on the wrong things it’s going to have a negative impact on you. Reframe your thoughts, ask the question and challenge your thoughts. Is this thought serving me? If it’s not, reframe it with something more worthwhile and take control.
Who do you spend the most time with? It’s yourself, so why is it that people do not spend the time learning about who they are to support them with their own life.
You either control your mind or it controls you – Napoleon Hill
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