How to get comfortable being uncomfortable: 10 things a man can do today to develop grit and discipline

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I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
— 2 Corinthians 11:23-27

Get comfortable being uncomfortable….

We hear these words so much now in our culture. In fact they are so cliche now that I doubt the people saying them really even know what it means.

I don’t really even know what they mean.

In fact, these words may only be reserved for those few individuals who risk their lives for something they believe in and are constantly on the brink of death.

Paul, the man who wrote the verses above was certainly one of those men. He risked his life for the gospel on numerous occasions, and it’s safe to say that most people living in America do not face these kinds of trials on a regular basis, if at all.

I do believe that our culture is comfortable, and we need to look at what these words mean through the lens of those who have suffered greatly.

The modernization of man

There is no secret that men have become weakened by society, mainly because of the industrial revolution and the mechanization of manufacturing. Also, as we continually advance technologically, we become less and less dependent upon our survival skills. Men no longer need to chop wood for their fireplace, or hunt for their food, or even fight off tough diseases or viruses, without use of medicine.

Instead, we only live those types of things through video games, movies, or virtual reality.

In his book “Manthropology: The Science of Why the Modern Male Is Not the Man He Used to Be”, Peter McAllister claims that men in centuries before us were more athletic and had more physical prowess then the current generation.

To argue his point, he brings up several cases, the most interesting though being the Greek Athenian oarsmen who powered a warship (Trireme). Xenophen a Greek soldier and author wrote that they could row from Byzantium to Heraclea -- 236 kilometers away -- in a day. This means Athenian oarsmen averaged seven to eight knots over a 12 to 16 hour trip.

Then, in 2007, exercise physiologists thus attempted to duplicate the feat, but were astonished to find trained modern rowers could manage just six knots, and then only for an hour. They simply couldn't reach the VO2 max (the benchmark of oxygen use and energy output) needed.

The city of Athens had over 30,000 oarsmen, which means that most everyday fellows were just as fit or fitter than modern day athletes.

There are many other arguments for this in his book, which you will have to read, but the underlying theme is this:

If we want to become stronger harder men, then we have to subject ourselves and our children to tougher more strenuous livelihoods. Bottom line. You develop stronger, more dense bones living in mountainous regions. You become more resilient and aware by learning to survive in the elements.

These are not just skills reserved for the military or indigenous people. They are skills necessary for everyone to learn.



The Challenge

Some men can flip a switch and yet will get as uncomfortable as they need to and start living a more strenuous life. Others, most of us, we need a plan, and we do it one step at a time.

If you are willing to take on a challenge of becoming a tougher more well-rounded man, then here are 10 things you can do to get there. It is going to take some discipline and grit, but if I can do it, you can too.

For those of you that are like me, (kind of nerdy), then you will appreciate the checklist and point system that I set up for you in an Excel Sheet Download that you can use as a tracker.

This isn’t for the faint of heart, and it is going to take some time, so don’t think it can be done in one day.




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Take a cold shower (Spartan Shower) everyday for 1 week. Sure, this isn’t exactly a death defying challenge or something that you can brag to your friends about, but remember we are not doing this because we want people to praise us. We are doing it because we want to begin to live a strenuous life. There are a bunch of proclaimed health benefits for taking a cold shower, but this is more about getting you do do something you don’t want to do or normally do.

Make it cold baby, enough so that when your wife walks in on you, you can be like George Costanza and declare…"I was in the pool!!!, it’s shrinkage!”


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Chop Wood for 30 minutes , or Use a Sledgehammer to Hit a Large tire for 30 minutes, taking breaks as needed.

Nothing makes you feel more like a man than chopping wood or swinging a heavy sledgehammer. Also, if you mix tire flips and burpees into the mix, it will add a whole other level.

Testosterone levels also increase when chopping wood. Take this case study for example:

In a study published in the journal of Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers examined testosterone levels in a group of Tsimane forager-farmers in the Bolivian Amazon after playing soccer and also after chopping down trees to clear a jungle for crops. Saliva samples were collected from the Bolivian farmers after they completed both physical activities. Dr. Ben Trumble from the Institute of Social, Behavioral and Economic Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara and his colleagues found that one hour of chopping trees spiked testosterone levels by 48 percent in men of all ages, regardless of their state of health. In contrast, during a soccer game, testosterone levels only increased by 30.1 percent. - SOURCE (MEDICAL DAILY)

You get more from chopping wood than you do playing sports. I wonder if it’s because it brings us more to our primitive mind, and reminds us that we were made to do this? Or is it just the sense of accomplishment and doing something difficult? Either way, there is a lesson to be learned here.


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Go one week without any sort of electronic device other than utilities and appliances. (Or if you have to use them for business only)

  • No Phone

  • No TV

  • No Video Games

  • No Computer

  • No Social Media

Sure, you might miss one of my awesome posts or special offers, but oh well, life goes on and you owe it to yourself to detox and regain control of your life.

I don’t think we realize sometimes how much “Stuff” is controlling our lives. The more things distract us and hold our attention the less time we seem to have. Really it’s just about sacrificing some of the comforts we have become accustomed to. Once they are gone, you kind of wonder why you ever had it in the first place.

Something to try, is to put your phone in another room. Every time you feel the urge to look at it, put a mark on a piece of paper. My wife challenged me to do this, and I found out I was pretty pathetic about how much I wanted to use it to just look something up real quick, or how much I thought I needed it.


 

Join the 360 Man Project

Join the 360 Man Project

 

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The first time I did this I was miserable. I didn’t prepare my feet properly and the blisters on my feet were so bad when I finished I never wanted to do it again…but I did.

The goal is to have a minimum of 30 pounds in a ruck, and walk 25 miles. 20 pounds should be pure weight plates, and the other 10 pounds will be your water, food and any other necessity you think you will need.

I don’t recommend you do this alone, although you can probably do it. It’s just better with company.

What you will need:

This isn’t something that you just wake up and do, so if you would like to work your way into it, check out my RUCK Training Plan, and it will help you on your way.

 

GORUCK TRAINING PLAN

GET AFTER IT

 

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I used to go to the gym for years. I got to experience lots of waiting for a squat rack to be freed up, limited equipment for functional movements, lot’s of people, and a commute to and from.

Honestly, it seems like more work to go to a gym than to just workout at home in your driveway, garage or basement. You could even go to the park to workout.

I believe that every human being should build themselves a gym right where they live. In fact, what you end up paying for in a gym membership every year will most likely cover the cost just to build a gym in your own garage, and it’s a one time fee or a few payments as opposed to a monthly payment.

How do I build a Home Gym?

It’s so easy that even I did it. It has taken me a while and I am still expanding, but it’s pretty affordable and it’s only a step or two from the bathroom or kitchen, and if you have a baby, you can still be there if it needs you (because it will).

There is nothing better than to be able to workout at home. With CrossFit on the rise and the internet, you can learn movements and watch videos from home to help you get in shape. I don’t believe in flashy or salesy fitness scams though, such as Insanity, or anything related to that. Those don’t and wont get you the results you are looking for.

If you want to get ripped,…you need to lift weights. Trust me, I’ve been doing this for a decade. I have done everything under the sun, including Insanity.

The only thing that is going to get you the results that you desire and want is from HIIT, Strength training and CrossFit . The best part, you don’t need a lot of equipment to get you into phenomenal shape, but you do need the right equipment.

Step 1:

The first thing that you are going to need to do to build a home gym, is to find the space that you are going to use.

I would say that if you can find at a minimum of 10 x 10 space with at least an 8’ to 9’ ceiling. This would be a very good space, and that is why garage’s are ideal.

The space I use is about 12’ x 15’ x 9’, this is perfect for me, especially because I stand only 5’8”.

Step 2:

Once you have the space picked out, then you need to determine the equipment that you need.

Essential Equipment includes:

  • Olympic Barbell

  • Pull-up Bar

  • Kettle-Bell

  • Bumper Plates

You can perform so many workouts with just these 3 pieces of equipment. In fact, I have a program called PB & K, that is designed using only this equipment.

Step 3:

Once you have the equipment, then you can arrange it and install it any way that you would like, as long as it allows you to move freely in the space.

The more confined the space, the more creative you have to get.

Step 4:

Before working out at home performing any heavy lift or Olympic lift, I recommend that you take a CrossFit Elements training course, or at least meet with a CF-L1 Trainer to have them help you learn the lifts.

Some things to look for with trainers:

  • They need to do an assessment, and not throw you right in to the class

  • They need to correct your form, because it won’t be correct

  • If something seems to heavy for you, it probably is.

  • You probably shouldn’t be clean and jerking 155# on your first day, you need to learn how to use a barbell first.

  • They should listen to you, and not just try to sale you

  • If you have injuries then they can help you, and they will

  • A good CrossFit Coach is going to coach you, and help you reach your goals, so tell them what they are, and if they don’t ask then they aren’t a good coach.

Links:


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Now that you spent all that time building your garage gym, it’s time to get to work.

  One of my Favorites

One of my Favorites

No matter who you are, where you are at in life, or what your physical skill, athletic ability, you can compete in the CrossFit Open. Every year hundreds of thousands of people compete. Why can’t you?

If you want to get a look at some of the previous years workouts check out the links below:

Competing in the CrossFit Open is really cool, and you will push yourself more than you knew. It will make you come alive with the spirit of competition.

Yes, you’re competing against other people, but more importantly you are competing against yourself.

The CF Open is an event that happens every year starting in February and lasts for 5 weeks. The only thing you need to do is register, and then have a CF Coach watch you perform each workout.

You then submit the scores to Crossfit.com. You can also record yourself on video doing the exercises and submit them that way also, it just might take longer to verify.

You can even sign up as a Garage Gym Athlete. Try doing that at a regular gym.


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You don’t even have to be skilled with your hands to try.

Besides, you only get better at something by doing it over and over. This one is vital though. I challenge you to build something, even if it is a toy model.

If your wife wants some shelves built in the den, or flower boxes on the outside of the house, then do a simple google or YouTube search and learn how to build them.

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A great project to build is shelves, or a table. My brother in law taught himself how to build tables and furniture, and even builds guitars. All self taught.

Another great project for you to build, to go along with the Garage Gym is a Bumper Plate Holder. This is incredibly easy and would be a great addition to the Gym.

What You Need:

  • (4) 2 x 4’s - 6’ Lengths

  • (Box) Wood Screws 3 1/2” length

  • Power Drill (Phillips Head Drill Bit)

  • Skill Saw

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How to Make a Bumper Plate Holder

  1. Cut your 2 x 4’s to the length that you want them, and separate them by about 16” or the circumference of the bumper plates.

  2. Drill two screws in each connection point, put one on the top portion and one on the bottom.

  3. Once you have the frame, drop a bumper plate in their and put another 2 x 4 cross member to keep it from falling.put two screws in each connection.

  4. Repeat until finished.


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Most people don’t read at all, in fact, the last time the majority of people read a book was in high school English class because it was required.

Some people read so many text books in College that they refuse to ever read again.

Then there are those weird outliers, the people who read all the time. Four books seems like a joke.

If you see someone reading, it’s pretty rare. It’s almost like watching an animal in the wild. It doesn’t happen very often, so you kind of stop and stare and wonder how they can do it, or what they are reading. You will most likely find people like this on airplanes, airports, buses, or trains. They use the downtime to read, not to play games on their phone, search Facebook or watch countless videos on YouTube.

They use their time to feed their brain, even if it is Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Romance. It is helping them escape reality and use their imagination.

I picked four books, because it’s one book a week. Most books are only around 150 pages, so if you read 30 pages a day, you can have this done pretty quick.

What kinds of books should I read?

In short…whatever you want, but here are some topics and suggestions I have:

Finance:

Leadership:

Business/Entrepreneurship:

Mindset:

Other Links:


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Any old footrace will do…but make it challenging.

If you have never run a 5K, then make it a 5K.

Or, if you have run several marathons, then make it an ultra-marathon…50K, 50 Miler, 100 Miler?

The point is, run in a race. Do it to compete, don’t just run. Most people sign up for one, train for the first week or two, then give up and show up on race day gut it out, get injured or quit.

Don’t do that.

Find a plan, stick to it, and follow it.

The goal is to build discipline and I promise you that you can learn this from following a simple running plan.

Most running plans will require you to run at least three days a week, sometimes you can get away with running only two days, but with that I would recommend doing a Strength Training Program right along with it.

You can also do a Spartan Race, or a Tough Mudder. These have become really fun and mainstream.

I have only done a handful of these races, mainly because of the wait times on the obstacles. If you are going to do one of these, pay the extra money and get in the early time slots if you are trying to compete and beat a certain time.


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The older I get the more that I learn, it’s not about what I have or own. It’s about what I do with what I have. Quite frankly, money is great to have, and if you have a lot of it, you can do whatever you want. However, the most rewarding thing that I can do with money is give it.

I believe that I have been blessed beyond measure. Sure, sometimes I wish I had more money to do things with, but then I remember that I have plenty and it’s probably just a matter of me not handling it correctly.

In 2011, my wife and I had accumulated $55,000 in debt. It was pretty eye opening. We both decided that we did not want that to hang over our heads our whole life, we wanted to be debt free so that we didn’t have to feel tethered to something or someone.

I don’t want anyone to have to feel like that. Mandy and I paid it off in 2.5 years, and now it’s about building wealth and giving. We gave money during that time also to our church, because we believe that our money is not our own anyway, and that it is a gift given to us to use and handle correctly.

The challenge here is giving someone or something $100, especially if you don’t normally give. You can give to whatever you want, just give it with a cheerful heart.

The best part about giving it to a person is watching their face light up and seeing joy come flooding back into their life.

 
 

Conclusion

Maybe you can do all of this challenges pretty quickly, and maybe it will take you some time to do them. Either way, once you complete them, do them again, and again, but make them progressively more challenging.

Below, I have included the Excel File of these challenges and a tracker so you can check them off as you go.

Just Click on the Button…


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