Today I want to go spend another minute or three with Trevor Moawad and some more wisdom from his great book It Takes What It Takes.
Let’s flip to the last pages of the book.
He tells us: “I’ve had the honor of working alongside US Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell over the years. He told his story in Lone Survivor, and it’s a testament to staying neutral. In June 2005, Marcus and three other members of SEAL Team Ten were dispatched into the Hindu Kush mountains in eastern Afghanistan with a mission to either kill or capture a Taliban leader. After a group of goat herders stumbled upon the SEALs and gave their location to Taliban soldiers, the Taliban attacked. Luttrell’s three teammates were killed and he was left to try to survive an enemy onslaught in an unfamiliar area. Luttrell was shot eleven times. He broke his back and his pelvis and blew out his knees. He broke his nose and bit off a piece of his tongue.
He needed to travel seven miles to reach the nearest village to have any chance of survival. But he didn’t think about the total distance he had to cover. That would have overwhelmed him and made him quit. As he lay on the ground looking at the moon, he decided to crawl.
He grabbed a rock and drew a line in the dirt. Then he crawled forward. When his feet passed the line, he drew another line. He did that for seven miles. That is the ultimate in neutral thinking.
Marcus didn’t think positively. He didn’t think negatively. He thought, ‘I am capable of crawling to this line.’
The next time life presents you with a challenge, don’t simply assume everything will work out. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. Just evaluate the situation. Figure out what you can accomplish right now. Then draw your line. When you cross that line, draw another one. And keep going.”
As I read that, I thought of all the other SEAL books we’ve featured—most recently Fearless. When I was online next, I ordered Lone Survivor. Note coming soon.
I also thought of another neutral-thinking gritty exemplar: Joe De Sena.
In Spartan Up!, he gives us some parallel wisdom via a similar metaphor: “The way to get through anything mentally painful is to take it a little at a time. The mind can’t handle dealing with a massive iceberg of pain in front of it, but it can deal with short nuggets that will come to an end.
So instead of thinking, Ugh, I’ve got twenty-four miles to go, focus on making it to the next telephone pole in the distance. Whether you’re running twenty or one hundred and twenty miles at a time, the distance has to be tackled mentally and physically one mile at a time. The ability to compartmentalize pain into these small bite sizes is key.”
Want to gain control of your life?
Know that It Takes What It Takes. Start thinking neutrally, let go of the illusion of choice, practice the Law of Substitution and step into the arena of your most heroic life.
Let’s have the Wisdom to know the game we’re playing and how to play it well. And the Self-Mastery to play it well RIGHT NOW.
Let’s ask ourselves the question, “Now what needs to be done?”
And then go do it.
In other words: Let’s draw a line in the dirt and get to it. Then draw another one. And keep going.