Race to Saturn

When the mind decides

David Goggins is a former Navy SEAL who motivates people to challenge themselves. He tells a story of perseverance that goes like this:

To raise money for some fallen Navy SEALs, he decided to challenge himself to do the toughest run in the world: the Badwater 135mile run. When he tried to register, he found out that he would have to demonstrate that he could run 100 miles in 24 hours. And he was told there was a race (the San Diego One Day) where he could do that. In just a few days.

At the time David hated to run. Prior to looking into all this, he literally thought it would be impossible for anybody to run 100 miles within 24 hours. Probably a lot of people believe that.

But he was committed and and he decided to go for it. So a few days later he went to that first race: a 1 mile course that he would try to run 100 times, in 24 hours. He brought a friend there and a few supplies, including a lawn chair, and started the run.

After mile 30 or so he started feeling pain in his legs that then got worse, and was excruciating by mile 50. By mile 70, his entire body had broken down. He collapsed into the chair next to the course, and could not move.

David quieted his mind, and rested for an hour. He decided he came to do this, and was able to get himself up and start running again. But, then, a few more miles in, his friend told him that at the pace he was going he wouldn’t finish in time. He wouldn’t make 100 miles in 24 hours.

That was the moment of decision. Was he really going to do this, or not?

At this point in his telling the story, David puts forward a really important idea:

When your mind understands that you might quit at something it’s going to find ways to help you quit. But when your mind excepts that you won’t quit, it finds ways to help you get it done.

Tony Robbins puts it this way: “Decision-making is the force that shapes destiny”.

David describes that made the decision to get this done. And that brought him full alignment of his mind and body and spirit.

He got the burst he needed, and finished running 101 miles in 18 hours, 56 minutes. And he placed fifth in the Badwater 135 the next year.

Here’s David Goggins telling the story:

Here’s Tony Robbins talking about decisions: