It was 3:35 am. I was on sentry duty in a ready to engage position.
My traps were killing me, my neck stopped working, my back was hurting, my eyes were closing, my mind was hallucinating, my hands were freezing, but the sun was shinning.
I was looking at the horizon as the sun slowly started to shine and spread its golden color across the sky when it gave me some hope that all this would be over before I knew it.
It was the toughest time I’d ever been through.
We did not stop hard labour.
I only got two hours of broken and distorted sleep the night before.
I was so tired and in pain for 35 hours straight.
There was no rest or a moment of tranquility.
There was only exercising, yelling, crawling, screaming, yomping, load carrying, firing, and so much pain.
I later learned that human bodies and minds do not get along well when under severe stress.
For example, when your body can’t go any further due to accumulated physical pressure, your mind will stumble and begin to send you “stop” messages.
Sometimes when you think it’s all coming to an end, its only part of the task; the only two choices you will have by then is to either push through the wall or give in.
During my training with the Royal Marines we learned a new skill; How to keep going when there’s no more fuel or energy left?
What do you use to keep going?
How do you keep going when you’ve used up all your energy?
When your car runs out of gas, you do one of two things, you call for help and wait, or you push the car yourself.
But, the car will not move any more on its own no matter what, until you fill it up again.
Imagine a 4 mile run in 27 degrees with 24lbs weight on you, holding a 11lbs rifle in your right hand, and wearing boots at a 10 min per mile pace on a course mostly of steep hills.
Later, you see some of the recruits collapsing and blacking out less than a mile into the run, you start feeling the pressure building up on your own.
Your heart beats get louder, and you can feel the amount of blood being pumped around from yourt heart to your legs.
Your shoulders are sending messages to your brain begging you to stop, the heat of the sun just penetrates through your forehead, and you start feeling like your brain is on fire.
Your heart rate is about 98%, the stop messages build up, and get louder inside your head.
A voice saying “You won’t do it, you will stop, you will not finish” keeps nagging your brain.
Finally, you are 500 meters away from the finish line when you you feel like collapsing.
Final result: 3rd place.
While in agony and about to stop, I recalled a tip from Born to Run: The hidden tribe, the ultra-runners, and the greatest race the world has never seen:
When you are running and unable to go any longer; stop running and start cruising, just cruise. Let your legs do the running, let go of all the negative thoughts in your head, and just imagine you’re flying off the ground and the world is carrying you.
It was a test of grit and determination more than a running one.
I can not go into details about the 30 hours before the run but simply put, my body went through too much pain and exercises to the point where every muscle in my body was soar.
Roger Federer once said in a press conference:
When I step into the court I play the game and finish it. I do want to win, but if I lose I still accomplish my goal which is finishing strong.
I refuse to fail.
I would fail a job interview or getting a girl’s number at the pub, but I would not fail myself when start something with passion.
The same concept applies to all aspects of life be it physical, psychological, mental, or spiritual achievement.
When you start something, finish it.
The fastest way to get a thing or two done is to take incremental steps, one foot in front of the other, one more step, one more minute, and in no time, you will have accomplished what you set your mind onto achieving.
The most successful people continue on working, especially when they least feel like working.
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Check out How to Stay Motivated to Work Out