The David Goggins inspired 4x4x48 challenge is one of the hardest things I have ever done. To complete the challenge you run 4 miles (or a workout equivalent) every 4 hours, for 48 hours straight. Why did I put my body and mind through this personal hell? What is the big takeaway from this challenge? Let’s review my experiences and see where we can find value.
As I considered this event, I started to realize that I was making a lot of judgements that I couldn’t really be sure of. Doubts that start to creep in. Besides the physical toll, running would have on my body what about the mental toll not having sleep would take. Mentally and emotionally I wouldn’t be myself and I coach/lead people for a living. Can I afford the cost of being emotionally unstable or not mentally sharp? If I get injured in the process can I afford to be off my feet? Am I an idiot for even trying something this demanding? After all, it had been over 6 years since I had run over 3 miles at once!
These doubts were fears manifesting in my head. Fear is healthy. I now realize that part of doing these challenges is to work out the “mental muscle” that deals with fear. Fear is the dissenting opinion in the room that you need to listen to to make the best decisions in life. The fear of getting injured or not being myself mentally during the challenge was real. My first big take away is I am now able to listen to fear with respect but not allowing it to take me over.
Once I listened to fear and determined to carry on, it became about mindset. Did I have the mindset to push past pain but listen enough to the signs to not get injured?. Almost every moment that I was not asleep during that 48 hours I had some form of anxiety or doubt. It physically hurt and mentally I “knew” that I had never done anything like this before. What mindset would it take to get mind and body to work together to finish the goal?
For me, on this challenge, it became almost a meditation in peace. I focused on my breathing while running. I felt and appreciated the crispness in the air while running at 2am in March in Wisconsin. My feet were in pain and I thought how lucky I was to have the opportunity to run, to have feet that can hurt me. I thought about how grateful I was to my friends who ran with me every leg of the journey. Every challenge was viewed as an opportunity with my mindset. When I was able to find peace, even the perceived severe struggle was a gift. This challenge especially gave me an opportunity to practice finding peace in stress.
Upon completion, I felt like I could keep going, which I would have never expected. If that needed to be my new normal then my body would adapt. I realized that we are strong and resilient creatures that have the curse of suffering more in imagination than we do in reality. I was terrified at the start of this challenge. I thought I would for sure get injured. I thought I wouldn’t finish, letting myself down and everybody that donated to the charity. I didn’t think I would be able to walk after even if I did finish. I thought I would be an annoyance for those around me and especially Meghan (my girlfriend) who got her sleep patterns interrupted as well.
We look to find comfort in our lives as that is the easiest path to survival, but to much comfort spoils us. To appreciate that comfort we have earned we must remind ourselves what uncomfortable feels like, to keep proper perspective. If we don’t do it by choice our mind will do it subconsciously with anxiety and depression. The feeling of uncomfort is a gift for us that allows us to appreciate the comfort we have built.
Looking back, the most important lesson is the reminder to keep taking challenging actions. The more I am conscious of the fact that I need both comfort and struggle the less I feel out of control when natural struggle occurs in life. I am consciously putting in the work so when a non planned challenge arises I feel comfortable enough to handle it. Much like a runner who has run 4 miles many times feels confident he can run it again, so to do I feel confident that I can handle the stresses put forth in life.
Thank you to David Goggins and Lex Friedman for subtly reminding me how important these “workouts” are for my soul. I will keep doing them so I can consciously earn the right to have peace of mind. I will be the warrior in the garden.
Who wants to join me for my next challenge of staying awake for 72 hours straight? Perhaps you would like to challenge yourself to part of it? Perhaps you would like help with your own personal challenge? My coaches and I at MyOdisee can help. We look forward to helping in any way I can. My virtual doors are always open: Joshua@MyOdisee.com.