In 2010, Jesse Itzler—a successful businessman behind ventures ranging from a prepaid private jet company to Zico coconut water, and even the Atlanta Hawks—decided to radically change his life. He wanted to become mentally tougher and thought that the best, or at least the most effective way to do that was by inviting a Navy SEAL to live with him for a month. But he didn’t call upon just any SEAL. Itzler enlisted David Goggins, who, thanks to his outrageous feats of endurance, many consider to be the toughest man on the planet. Goggins’ range is impressive: he held the 24-hour record for pull-ups—4,030, or 168 per hour—and has placed highly in numerous ultra-endurance races. In 2006, Goggins placed fifth in the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon after taking up running less than a year prior.

The result of Itzler’s experiment was his bestselling (and hilarious) book, Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet, published in 2015.

I took three main lessons from this book:

Do Something Hard Every Day

I have written previously that I work out every morning in which I purposefully try to make myself uncomfortable, which I follow with a cold shower. It sets me up for the rest of the day by reminding me that I can choose to be OK in the midst of tough challenges. After you’ve physically suffered, not much that happens in a business meeting is going to shake you up.

Don’t Put Off the Little Things—Just Get Them Done

I used to delay doing stuff that I just didn’t want to deal with—things like putting the garden hose away properly or doing the dishes right after dinner. Now I have this little voice in my head that says, “I know you don’t want to do this, but just do it anyway.” In other words, there’s far less stuff that I put off until tomorrow. On the whole, I think this makes me more productive and probably even happier. Plus, it sets the tone for my whole life. It’s like that old saying: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

Say No to Stuff

This is one I need to be stricter with as I do work too much! We all live very busy lives and I now put my life into four buckets: I sleep seven hours a day. I take two hours for myself so I don’t resent the people I’m closest to. I work for about ten(ish) hours. And I set aside 5 hours for travelling, hygiene, family, and other random stuff that comes up. I don’t let anything encroach upon the sleep, me, or work buckets, which means turning down unimportant things. Time is the most precious resource there is—you have to protect it.

Kind regards,