Staring Down the Wolf | Warrior Monk | Navy Seal | Mark Divine Interview 2023


About Mark Divine Mark is from upstate New York and did his formal undergraduate education at Colgate University. His years at Colgate University were focused on athletic endeavors such as competitive swimming, rowing and triathlon racing, interrupted by brief episodes of academic activity. After graduation from “the Gate” Mark started his professional career as a CPA with Coopers & Lybrand in New York City. Clients included luminous and no-longer existent financial firms such as Solomon Brothers and Paine Webber. Four painful years later, with an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business in his briefcase, he left behind the suit to pursue his inner vision to become a Navy SEAL officer. He was 26 when he graduated as honor-man (#1 ranked trainee) of his SEAL BUD/s class 171. Mark was fortunate to serve with many great men and women on active duty for nine year and in the reserves for eleven…retiring at the rank of Commander in 2011. After leaving active duty in 1997, Mark started his second business career as an entrepreneur. He co-founded the successful Coronado Brewing Company and launched NavySEALs.com in the year he left the active duty Navy. NavySEALs.com is the leading web site for gear and information about the SEALs. US Tactical was next, gaining contracts with Naval Special Warfare Group ONE for training support, and the Navy Recruiting Command for a nationwide mentoring program for SEAL, SWCC, EOD and Diver candidates. Mark’s business career was interrupted by a stint as an Adjunct Professor of Leadership at the University of San Diego, where he was pursuing his Doctorate in Leadership, then by a one year recall to active duty in 2004. The recall took him to Baghdad with SEAL Team One to conduct a special project for Naval Special Warfare Command surrounding the role of the USMC in Special Operations. In 2007 he launched his CrossFit affiliate and the now internationally known SEALFIT program to provide transformational personal and team training experiences. The training utilizes an integrated warrior development model he developed, called Unbeatable Mind, which draws from his 20 years as a SEAL and business leader, 25 years as a martial artist and 15 years as yoga practitioner. SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind are uniquely effective at elevating clients to a higher level of operating, thinking and leading – encompassing the full spectrum of human experience – Body, Mind and Spirit in Self, Team and Organization.

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[00:00:00] Best Book Bids podcast brings you Mark Devine, a Navy Seal Commander, a thought leader, innovator, bestselling author, yoga master entrepreneur, changemaker, and a self-described warrior monk. Mark, thank you for being on the show. Michael, thanks for having me. Thank you. Now your resume is outta this world.

So the experiences you’ve done and the places you’ve been and the skills you’ve learned and the teachings you’ve taught, take us back to the day you were a Wall Street man before you got into martial arts. Is that correct? How did you un story unfold from there? I was my first career was on Wall Street, literally on Wall Street, the actual physical.

I wasn’t in financial services per se, but I was working for a company called Coopers and Library, which is now Pricewaterhouse Coopers doing first auditing and then moved into consulting. And during that time I was also getting my MBA in finance at NYU Stern School of Business. So mba, cpa, work experience at this big firm.

That was the idea, right? That was the story that I [00:01:00] sold myself on and, I barreled into after graduating from. and that made a lot of sense because I grew up in a business family. We have a traditional family business that’s been around since like 1895. That’s manufacturing, makes stuff, equipment for industry.

And there was this story that, we were business people and that I was ultimately, we gonna come back to the family business. All my siblings are there right now to this day. And so it’s expected. , I was grooved, to do that or groomed and grooved. So this opportunity to go to New York and work for Pricewaterhouse Coopers and get my MBA and become a certified public account all fit that narrative right, is something that was good.

Right? There was a lot of kudos, coming my way, both from my family and from culture and yeah, I was on the right path. In other words, right? There was no interest in the military at that time in my. No, like discussions about the seals or the Navy or anything really. Like we were not a military family, so that was [00:02:00] that was not on the table.

Now back to your question. Now what happened there? So I was very athletic. I still am to this day, like a part of my I guess the gift of this biological aspect of my being was to have this this pretty. High capacity for athletic abilities for pain tolerance. That probably came from the conditioning of my father’s abuse.

But certainly had a little bit of a pain tolerance and and I got into endurance sports. I was a competitive swimmer and I was a competitive rower and a triathlete. And so all of that was easy to do in upstate New York and at college, because this was a big part of the whole story, right?

College experience, right? You’re, you can, if you’re an athlete, you get a lot of opportunity to express that. And upstate New York, you’re outside all the time. There’s tons of land around me, so I got, I was always running and hiking and swimming and whatnot, but now all of a sudden I’m in Manhattan, the concrete jungle and putting a suit and tie on every day and stuck in a cubic.[00:03:00]

And I looked at that and I said, you know what? This sucks. I’m gonna, at least I’m not going to look like these people around me. In five years of pasty white, puffy people, I’m gonna maintain my athleticism. This is the first sign that, I was, had a yogi in me. The yogi mindset that, lifetime of physical training and practice can keep the body in mind as physic fiddle until you’re.

Click off. And I’ve, to this day, I have people in my sphere that I have trained with or that I’m familiar with or connected with who are in their eighties and nineties and just, really don’t look much different than you and I, and they train every day. And that’s what my early sphere was telling me, do that.

Just keep training every day. So I started running every morning after running, I was sitting. do some stretching, and then I would go to the gym at lunchtime and do a high intensity workout. This was before I knew what HIT training was. All my friends would go have their high carb lunch and a beer, and I would go to the gym and just bang [00:04:00] out whatever I could sweat like a monster, for hours afterwards.

And then this is getting back to the core of your question, like, how did I get into the martial arts and. What impact that had on me. I had this two hour block of time, Michael, after work, they would let us off at five o’clock roughly, and we were, had to be at night school night classes down at nyu, which was down to the World Trade Center before it got mowed down.

we had to be down there by seven 30, so it was like two and a half hours. And again, all the peers who are in this pro, I was a pro cohort based program. It wasn’t just me doing this. I was with a bunch of other individuals who were working for other big eight accounting consulting firms and going to NYU with me.

Most of them would go home and eat dinner and change and do some homework and, make their way down to school. And I looked at that as a good block of training. Another training block said, what can I do during this? I didn’t wanna go to the gym. I didn’t have enough time to go rowing. I didn’t really want [00:05:00] to go for a run, I was stumped.

What am I gonna do here? So I was pondering that and walking home one day and I walked past a martial arts studio and I heard the shouting, actually noticed the shouting coming from the second floor, and I was like what sack screams coming out of there. First I’m like, what’s going on? Do I need to go render his sisters?

Then I’m like, oh, wow, look at. World SADO karate headquarters and I went up and checked it out and I didn’t know anything about the martial arts. I remember from a town in upstate New York with 275 people in it, , it’s pretty small. And and it was outside of Utica. We didn’t have any real martial arts, at least that I was aware of at the time.

This is 1985. So I go up and check this out and they’re in the middle of the floor. Is this classic, just like right outta the movies, this five, six Japanese guy who’s just like insanely intense. also very light and playful and spontaneous and just revered by his students. And he was leading a black belt class.

And that was Tahi Nakamura who became I signed up the [00:06:00] next day and he became my mentor and my teacher. And so I started training the martial arts with him. But after about couple months, I stayed to watch the black belt class again, which was on Thursday night after the black belt class, they turned the lights down and they’re like ushering everyone out.

And I. I hung around and I saw some senior students bringing some wooden benches out of a corner and kind of setting ’em up and lighting a candle. I said, what’s going on here? And the person I asked said that’s the Zen class. I said what is Zen? And they said go to the library tomorrow and get the book Zen Mind beginner’s mind by a guy named Suzuki and you’ll learn about Zen.

So I did that and I just was transfixed by this book, what is this right here? I am a kid from upstate New York, right? With no, no experience or evidence and there that there’s anything else going on beyond what was put right in front of me, with the church and with my, family and with my school, and now I’m being exposed to this entire [00:07:00] eastern tradit.

Of developing the mind, body, and spirit and of achieving or attaining different states of being that. Per their descriptions very different than anything I understood or could experience. Yeah. And I think just to jump in really quickly, that’s the importance of a beginner’s mindset and before a beginner’s mindset is not even having a mindset.

So you going into those experiences, open and receptive to the martial arts and then zen fascinating how if you didn’t walk past that martial arts studio, how your life would’ve unfolded differently as well. Oh, it would’ve been completely different, Michael. Yeah, meditation completely and utterly changed my sense of self, my self-concept, what it was that I believed that I was as a human being, and also what I believed I was put on this planet for, or my purpose.

I could fill up 20 books with just each idea or each major kind of bucket [00:08:00] of knowledge or systemic thinking that happened or changed, when I sat on that meditation bench over that four year period. You’ve done a good job so far. You’ve, how many books have you published?

How many books have you published so far? ? I’m working on my, I’m working on my six, and that’s the funny thing cuz words are just so limiting. Try to relate things that are. Extraordinarily either complex or simple on the other hand. Yeah. How did you then go from working at Wall Street to then joining buds and becoming ranked number one out of the class of 1 71?

How did someone go from that? Meditation to the extremes of pushing your body to the limits? The meditation had everything to do with it, like you just alluded to if I hadn’t found. Knock more in meditation or even if I had just found a martial art that we weren’t doing meditation, it wouldn’t have happened.

I wouldn’t have become a Navy seal because the profound shifts happened when I was sitting on that meditation bench and usually immediately after, within the first hour or two. [00:09:00] But it wasn’t any one thing. There wasn’t one moment where I suddenly had a explosion or epiphany or some radical non-dual experience.

  1. S steadily progressive experience of deepening my powers of concentration to where then I could really radically concentrate just on my breathing and to the exclusion of pretty much any other thought. And then without really any coaching or prodding by Mr. Namo, I had these moments where I would just.

Forget what I was doing and drop. Drop into the void, right? Drop into just pure perception. I was still there, but there was no mark there. It was just pure, non-dual subjectivity witnessing. , what’s the word I use for it? [00:10:00] That’s used frequently for that idea, that notion of just pure awareness, just sitting there and just witnessing what’s going on, as if there’s a mark, as an object, not the subject.

And when I ever, whenever that happened and I came back into identifying as mark afterwards. Waking up out of that non-dual state or, coming back, maybe going back into the dream state. Actually, if you want to use the right language of this perceived reality that we live in, I would always bring back like a little gem of information, of insight or something of direct perception of knowing something that I didn’t know before.

And it was always generally about my life or about. . And so what I kept coming back with when I would, and this has happened over the course of two, two plus years I kept getting the sensation that I was a warrior and that I was meant to be a warrior in this lifetime. And yet here I was working on becoming a CPA and an mba, so I started a journaling [00:11:00] practice again, this is 1987 now ish.

1987, no, we had no internet. No one was talking about journaling and meditating and visualizing. And here I was doing it. I was doing all three of those things, meditating every single day. I edited to my morning practice. After my run, I would meditate, breathe, I’d do box breathing, which I practice that I just coddled together.

And I later found through yoga that I was, it’s just a very, simple controlled breathing practice in pranayama. And then I would medic. Classic what I’d learned through Zen. And then after I meditate, I would I would journal, right? And I would started asking questions when I journaled, if I’m supposed to be a warrior, how am I supposed to be a warrior?

And can I be a warrior as a CPA or as a business person? Is a Wall Street trader, a warrior? , right? And I would reflect on that. I’m like, oh no. A warrior is someone who’s, in my definition at the time was someone who was really putting, willing to put themselves at risk to do something worthy.[00:12:00]

It was someone who was willing to do the right thing in spite of the consequences. He was someone who put others before self. Someone who was in radical service, to either, something much bigger in the case early days for me it was country later on it was, it’s humanity. That’s where it is now.

And so I asked those questions and then I would take those questions and some of the answers I would get in journaling, which is using my rational, my thinking mind. And I would take back to the meditation bench, right? And I would concentrate and then drop off and I’d drop off with that question in my.

and I would come back with more information or more certainty, or more clarity. And so all of this is happening, and I still wasn’t getting any answers, Michael, that said, okay, yeah, mark, you’re supposed to be a Navy Seal and you’re supposed to go there in November of 1999. Just didn’t work that way.

When you’re tapping into your inner guide, your s your inter, your. Your inner guru, so to speak, the term sad guru is actually means your inner guru. When you tap into that [00:13:00] and you start to get these experiences that I’m talking about and you’re looking for like a direction in life, you’re not, it’d be folly to look or to expect that you’re gonna get an answer that has anything to do with something material or some physical goal or object.

Like a job or an attainment. Like I didn’t get anything that said you’re gonna go be a Navy Seal Admiral or Commander, now it was all about being this, the essential nature of your being, the way you’re supposed to be in this human form in this lifetime. . So for me that was to, initially it was to be a warrior, and then a warrior leader, and then a warrior teacher, warrior, monk, all of those.

The warrior, the thing part of it that is more of how you show up in the world. First started as a warrior and then it started to change, and now it’s a teacher and, but the warrior’s still there. It’s just taken in the backseat. So those are my, my, my core archetypal energies. And these things get fleshed out in things like the Enneagram and Youngian, [00:14:00] therapy.

They’re archetypal energies that even cultures can have, but every human being has it. But it’s also, it’s something you can tap into if you have, if you lack clarity or what that is. Meditation will. Bring it to the surface, so to speak, and that’s what happened to me. One of the biggest takeaways I got from that, I’ve been journaling for 15 years myself.

I write two pages a day, 700 and something, pages a year, and every night I go back on the previous year in two years, up to about five years. And I just reflect on. The previous days because I realized most of the things I was doing didn’t matter. So I wanna make sure that the things I’m doing tomorrow matter in five years time, so I’m not wasting my time.

So optimizing my time. But the thing you said, which was deliberate questioning what I wrote down was deliberate questioning of the subconscious. Of your ingar. So a lot of people journal and reflect on the day, but you actually take it a step further by then saying, okay, let’s go inward and let’s ask the question to my subconsciously.

You’re literally putting it on [00:15:00] the meditation tape. I’ve never heard that word before. Amazing. Yeah, thank you for sharing that. So it’s the next level of journaling. Don’t just write things down and reflect on the day, but actually go deeper on yourself as well. Yeah, journaling is a fantastic process.

Stream of conscious. You can get things out, but also, I think one of the most powerful, and I love your practice, what you talked about, that recapitulation is what, one of the things I teach for an evening ritual is to go back and recapitulate. You can recapitulate your day, and I love this idea of recapitulating your week, month, or year, because you’re right.

Generally, human beings have a tendency to radically downplay the progress, the successes, the cool things that happen and overplay. The negative and the disasters, the things that they don’t have are, the gaps. And so that keeps them in a perpetual state of wanting when they actually have already considerable progress toward whatever it is that their goal is.

So you lack contentment. And so contentment is a [00:16:00] master skill. And we can develop contentment by looking back and recognizing how far we’ve come. And also by recognizing that wherever we are today is exactly where we need to be because that’s exactly where we are. And to be okay with that, it’s not always craving and grasping to be somewhere else or someone else.

And just wanna expand on how I do it cuz people think it’s it’s crazy and it might sound like Coop, but it’s not. So today is the 21st of February. I’ll just go back for two seconds and read 21st of February, 2022. 21st of February, 2021. So these like one, two pages. So it might take me five, 10 minutes and then.

I’ll take it a step further cuz I put the photos in my phone from February in a little folder from like last year, two years up to five years. And I can reflect on the photos as well. But what in the photos is what you don’t see in the journal is growth. So growth of my children, the changes, business partners, businesses, whatever it was.

And you can see how small my thinking was. And it’s just very interesting when you reflect on yourself. It’s, there’s this power, it’s this, it’s, there’s a [00:17:00] underlying power because of your knowingness, of your beingness and where you’re at and your journey. It’s very powerful. So for anyone that doesn’t do it, it’s like you’re missing out.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but second best time is today. We’re so taught in the Western world. Try to force things to happen. We believe that we are the lever that we’re the cause, that we’re the doer. And what I’ve learned, and especially through this recapitulation practice and is and being, and this idea of contentment, is that if you can connect in with that aspect of being, or if you bring good questions to your meditation and contemplation, and then just sit in a state of open receptiveness and allowing things to happen, allow the thoughts to come to you, allow.

The information to show itself to reveal itself. And this is how I became a Navy seal. Like I was having these moments where I, like I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, I was a warrior. I was meant to be a warrior. I had also a sense that I was barreling down the wrong path with [00:18:00] my with my professional career, but I didn’t have a solid answer as to what was to replace it.

I did start a practice. I called trying on the uniform where I would visualize. Doing different things that I thought were warrior like. So one of them was flying jets. I visualized myself flying jets for the Air Force and the Marine Corps. And I did that for a while. And at first it, it seemed exciting and then, after doing it for a few days or maybe a week or so like that with the intention, okay, what if this is it?

Let me act as if this is it. Let me visualize myself doing this as if it’s it. I started to get bored. I’m like, actually this is act. That exciting to me. Just, it’s just turning knobs and yes, it’s exciting to go fast, but it’s not, doesn’t have the variety and the adventure and I’m not using my body the way I feel like I’m using my body.

So then I thought what if I was a roughneck on an oil rig? That could be warrior-like and cool. And so I envisioned myself, what that would be like. Again, I didn’t really have a lot of information, but I could imagine what that would be like. I didn’t have top gun and I didn’t have you.[00:19:00]

The movies that we have today. So it’s a lot easier to do that today, cause you can actually, you can actually talk to an astronaut even, or get a sense for what that’s like. So I, and I did that and I was like you know what? This sounds pretty gritty. It might be cool for a month, but again, I can’t possibly see doing this stuck on a rig day after day for years.

So I went, as I was going through this process, this, I had the knowingness that I was to be a warrior. I was trying to, I was putting on uniform and visualizing different ways to be a warrior, and then the universe stepped in to gimme a hand. This is synchronicity, right? The idea of synchronicity is essentially that instead of looking at me as a separate doer, separate from an analyst, we are, we are actually.

one stream of conscious flowing through these body mind beings, these instruments. And when you align and tune in with that and you’re in tune with what the body being is supposed to be [00:20:00] doing, then you are presented with that. The information, you just gotta pay attention, right? And the way that happened to me, the way the information was presented to me, that was gonna be the right information.

For this being in this, instant of being a human. I was walking, it was very similar to how I found karate. I was walking home from work, pondering these weighty things, and I walked past a Navy recruiting office and there was a poster facing the street and it said, be someone special across the top.

And it had Navy seals. Don’t coal shit. Didn’t say anything about the Navy Seals. This is 1987. and the Seals were a secret organization. They wish they still were to this day, but the cat is outta the bag, about 800 people in the organization. And I just, but I stopped and looked at this poster and I was like, holy shit.

There’s a guy free falling and a little mini submarine and a sniper and a spotter in a h sight, you can barely see him. And it was just wicked. The cool. I was like that right there. That’s it. And I went the next [00:21:00] day and I said, what? Whatever’s on that poster, what are they, what is that?

And they’re like, oh yeah, you don’t wanna know about those guys. ? I said, yes, I do. What are they? And they said they’re called the Navy Seals. See our land teams. And they’re very they’re just bad asses. But, I said that’s, I’m interested in that. and I said I’m also an, I was talking to the ill recruiter.

I said, I’m also gonna have my MBA pretty soon, so I’d probably, if I do that, do they take officers? And they said, very few, but some, and, but you don’t wanna be an officer . And they gave me all the reasons I shouldn’t be an officer. So I said I think I’ll talk to an officer recruiter anyways.

So I did and met one a week later named Nick and. He was very similar. He was a great guy. He’s geez, mark, I have to research this. I’m not even sure how guys get into the seals. I do think there is a program for someone like you, but they only take one person a year, maybe two, because most of the officers would come out of the Naval Academy or the Reserve Officer Training Corps, and they take about 20, only 20 a year.[00:22:00]

In the front end and they maybe get 10 of them into the seals at the end of the year. Cause most of ’em, half, about half the officers quit buds and about 85% of all the other enlisted don’t make it through buds either the SEAL training. So I said I wanna go for that. That’s what I want to do.

I don’t wanna do anything else. I said, let’s figure out how to put a package in for that. I shifted, he said, okay. And I shifted my training just slightly. I didn’t do anything different physically, except I did actually start to lift weights cuz I wasn’t lifting weights besides my high intensity stuff.

So I got more deliberate. I added some strength training I wanted to put some beef on. But the other thing that I added to my training was, and my morning meditation, at the end of it, I added a visualization session where I visualize myself going through SEAL training and graduat. And I used as a basis for that imagery work, the video called Be Someone Special.

And it had an imagery of all the Navy SEAL training. It was classic. So I watched that about 20 times and then I inserted myself [00:23:00] into that video and I visualize it every single morning. Now, funny like footnote to this story is the power of visualization. I’m sure you were aware, maybe you talked about is.

That practice was profound. I didn’t even know it. I was just working off of a hunch based upon an experience I had with my swim coach who taught me how to visualize my event at Colgate, the 200 meter breaststroke. And I had a pretty profound experience with that. And so I was like, I betcha this would work.

So I visualized myself, just crushing everything I could think of at buds and believing that I was worthy of it. And I did it every day for about nine months. And this is while I was waiting to hear from Nick in the Navy. And he’s telling me, don’t get my hopes up. I’ve got statistically a better chance of becoming an astronaut than a Navy SEAL from the civilian world, at 25, 26.

And I said just keep pushing them, pushing the package. Keep supporting me. And nine months of that visualization practice, I had this overwhelming sense of [00:24:00] certainty wash over me that I was going to be a Navy seal. I was already a Navy seal. I just needed to let time catch up.

And literally in the next few days, Nick called me, said, holy shit, mark, congratulations. You got one of the two slots to go to SEAL training after Officer candidate school. And I was smiled and I said, thank you . , I already knew what had happened. I called that winning in your mind before you step foot in the battlefield.

And that was from my classic Sun Sue quote, the Art of War author. He said, victorious leaders win in their mind before they go to battle, whereas others go to battle hoping to win. And it means to be have that absolute sense of certainty about what the outcome is gonna be because you see it in your mind and you see it at a level that is so clear.

And you believe it, that you know it’s gonna be true. And what’s happening here now, now I recognize is just like a past event you have a memory of, right? So you believe that this thing happened to you and cuz it did in a different [00:25:00] time. And you have this memory now if it was something really bad, a lot of times like traumatic, a lot of.

We will go back and re reinforce that memory by re replaying it in our mind and replaying, how it hurt us and the victimization and even talk therapy can, actually enhance the image through constant repetition, just scraping your emotional life over the coals of that past trauma.

And you’re actually feeding it, you’re feeding the energy of that memory so you know what you give energy to will persist and grow in. So you can use this to your advantage by, in a retro sense, those trauma-based things, you’ve stopped feeding them energy and you can recontextualize what happened and find something positive and then feed the positive energy of that, like the strength that it gave you or the awareness or the sensitivity or, there’s always a flip side to the negative.

everything has a positive side and a negative side. So you focus on the positive and you energize the positive and you de-energize the negative. That has an incredibly [00:26:00] powerful effect for emotional healing of trauma. But in a future state, what you can do is you can create an image of a future desired state, and as long as it’s alignment with it’s aligned with that purpose or that calling that.

That you’ve surfaced through your meditation or your contemplation practice. It’s gotta be an alignment, and it’s not a doing thing. It’s a becoming thing. So I was visualizing becoming the man worthy of just crushing buds. I wasn’t visualizing so, so much on the accomplishment, the achievement, the doing part.

And what I was doing is I’m creating a future memory and then I’m adding energy to that memory as if it had happened. and the more I feed that future memory as if it’s happened, the more it creates, like this gravitational pull this gravitational field in like the matrix of the world where it starts to create this ripple effect where everything starts to line up to support.

The achievement or the accomplishment that you already created in your mind, the winning in your mind before stepping foot in the battlefield. So I did that [00:27:00] and sure as shit, I got the orders to go to Buds November of 1989. I got my mba, CPA tested for my first degree, black belt. All of that happened in November, and I also left New York, left my job, left the Dojo, and went to Officer Cannon.

and then I went to Buds basic underwater demolition seal training with Class one 70 in April of the next year in 1990. In that class, I graduated 185 of us standing there that first day and six months later there were 19 of us left and I was number one graduate and my entire small boat crew of six others was graduated with me cuz I taught them a lot of these skills.

I taught them box breathing, I taught them visualization. I taught them positive self-talk. and and we just dominated. It was. I think you answered why you were number one in, in, in that. So thank you for expanding on that because it’s not you outworked people. You actually went in there, they weren’t short, they didn’t realize you were the warrior monk, [00:28:00] and then you were uncovering that yourself and teaching others.

So you are going in there as a teacher, not just as a student as well. One story you said in the book and you didn’t finish it, and I wanna know the answer. They said jump in the pool and swim to the other edge, which was 50 meters underwater Foy cloth. And you said, okay, and you jumped in, you swam to the other edge, you did a bit of a dive, you kicked back and went halfway.

So you did about 75 meters, and then you got in trouble and they sent you to the office or wherever it was. What, did you end up getting in trouble or what was that story? You said it in the book, but you didn’t tell the finish. Now the story, actually, the story, I didn’t get in trouble. I actually.

So that story was, I was originally had orders, right? Literally when you’re ordered, you do it right. I had orders to go to Class 1 71 and I showed up in as I said, I showed up in Coronado in April after Officer Kenneth School and class one to 71 wasn’t gonna start up for eight weeks. Another two.

And so they had some, back [00:29:00] then they had something called fourth phase. There’s three phases of buds. First, second, the third phase. And then this fourth phase was kinda like the holding tank for guys waiting to class up in the next class. And they trained, here and there. They did training, they did obstacle course, they did running, they did basic training.

But I was ready to go. I thought I was gonna go and I was ready to go. And so I heard there was a, Starting on Monday. This is a Friday that I got there and Class one 70 was gonna start on Monday. And I thought, geez I want to be in that class. So I asked a couple people, they said, oh, I got orders to 1 71, but I wanna start up with one 70.

I said, that’s stupid. You got orders if you follow your orders, . I said . Maybe is there anyone I can talk to about this? They’re not used to having NBA CPAs, show up at SEAL training. Most of ’em were like seven, 18 year old. Kids still bad asses, but young, not willing, not usually already questioning authority.

Someone said Lieutenant Rick May is in charge of fourth phase and he’s gonna be the one who decides who starts on Monday and who. [00:30:00] He’s down in the pool or combat training tank, which is the seal speak for maybe seal pool. So I jog on over to the combat training tank in my boots and ts and my helmet, seen the little helmets that seals trainees wear. And they’re open, I go in there and 184 guys lined up and they’re udet shorts along the side. And they were doing crossovers, which is swimming crossovers, 50 meters. And And they parted and on the high diving board was this bronze, blue-eyed blonde hair, Adonis guy six three.

And his name was Lieutenant Rick May. And Lieutenant May saw me come in my uniform, saw my Ensen bars, and was like hello Enzy. How can we help you? And everyone’s watching me like, what is this guy? And I. Lieutenant Macer, I’m Vincent Divine. I have orders of Class 1 71, but I want to class up with one 70 on Monday.

And he just kinda looked at me. He goes that’s unusual. He goes swim 50 meters underwater for us, and and then [00:31:00] we’ll chat further. So I started to take my boots off. He goes no. Leave everything on except for your helmet. So I put my helmet down. , I took a couple deep breaths and dove into the water and started doing my underwater kick out.

And like I’m, if you imagine swimming with combat boots on , it was pretty rough. I felt like there were anchors, right? And so I had to really use my, my pullout, my pole. But I was a competitive swimmer and I happened to be a breaststroker, so this wasn’t unachievable. So I swam, touched the other side, a 25 swam back and I made it right.

So I, I didn’t actually fail. So I hit the wall, I climbed out and may looked at me. He said, come see me in my office in an hour. So I went and saw him and he said that, that was impressive. And I can tell you really want this, so I’m gonna. , let’s just start up on Monday, class one 70. . So that was pretty cool, right?

It’s like I wasn’t gonna take no for an answer. Obviously if you finally said no, but most people wouldn’t have even gone down that road. And again, I don’t even know why I did that. That was just, again, [00:32:00] listening to my intuition, listening to the inner voice that said, do this right, go now. It wasn’t something that I’d rationally thought about.

It’s just something. There was the only thing that I could have done was just not do it to block myself. And again, that was one of the most profound these things in my life where I just did something spontaneously and didn’t question it and turned out to be right. I realized that, life is like that.

We think that we’re making these decisions, and the reality is this consciousness streaming through. and it’s hitting the conditioning of your body mind. And then that shows up as and then immediately slips into memory. And we think that we’re, we’re the genius that’s, figuring all this shit out.

The alls you can do is block yourself from your awesomeness right? In life. So that’s, to me, what, what personal growth or spiritual development is to get out learning, to get the heck outta your own. One thing we’ll finish off with the seals and we’ll nip it in the bud. No pun [00:33:00] intended.

I believe from an outsider’s perspective, not a military person, that the whole idea of seal training or any training, it’s you’re dividing people from words and actions. 185 people start 19, finish, you become number one. The whole process is to divide people that say they want it, and the 19 that actually do the actions.

That actually not just wanted, but do the actions required and do whatever they’re willing to sacrifice to get the job done. So it’s just a divider of, you say you want it, but these are the people who’ve actually done it. So words and actions. So that’s my outsider’s perspective on life as well.

Stop talking about doing things and start doing things. And then once you’ve. Stuff. You can talk about what you’ve done, but you can’t talk about what you are going to do. You can only talk about what you’ve done. That’s my analogy of the whole spectrum of that. I think you’re right, but, and so what you’re pointing to though is a requirement to be very [00:34:00] thoughtful and careful with what you say you’re going to do.

Because there were 170 some odd people, or 60 some odd people who said they were gonna. or said they were gonna try to become Navy Seals, whereas I said that I was a Navy Seal and it’s very different. And so that means a lot of those people shouldn’t even be there. They have a poor self-assessment of what they’re meant to be doing and why they’re doing it, and also their capabilities.

Absolutely. One, one obviously Navy SEAL that I actually seen a couple weeks ago in person that. Probably know his name. David Goggins, obviously very famous now and what do you know about David and what’s the, have you met him before? What’s the obviously you did Buds in the eighties, what’s, how’s it changed or what’s different?

Yeah. 19. No, I did Buds in 1990. He came by letting me buds hasn’t changed. Buds is Buds. Is buds. It’s gotten a little bit more sophisticated, a little safer than when I went through. , it’s still brutal. And they still have the same, [00:35:00] 85% fail, right? David Gog is he’s a unique individual, just like a lot of, not all, some, there’s some Navy Seal, I call it 10, 10% rule that kind of slip through the cracks and, but for the most part, there’s some extraordinary individuals and Pliny who have the same level of fitness as Goggins just don’t, aren’t.

Posting videos every day and making a life out of it, or a career out of it. I’ve got friends who’ve just done extraordinary things that just literally blow your mind. It’s crazy. Goggins is a, he’s entertaining, right? Just like Jocko. Those guys are phenomenally entertaining. Their presence and ability to communicate is extraordinary.

And they’ve done, they do extraordinary things. Most of Goggin’s extraordinary stuff is his story about getting through training and then what he’s done after the seals. He wasn’t, there was nothing extraordinary about his Navy SEAL career and most seals know that he just really didn’t do much and he got out and capitalized on it, which is fine, right?

He’s a badass in that regard. But Jocko, like Jocko’s different and Jocko was a fucking lawyer. and he was a phenomenal leader and he, he made an [00:36:00] impact his team made an impact in Ramad and whatnot. So they’re very different, but they’re both are big personalities and they, their presences are made amazing.

They’re very funny and motivating, right? So they got big followings. Back to Goggins. I met Goggins. I’ve interviewed him. There’s something about people like. Who are always chasing hard and more, and they’re doing it because of the child, the trauma of their child. They think that is going to heal them from their trauma or they’re doing it thinking that their trauma made them strong enough to do this.

The reality is that’s fine, up to a point, but there’s going to need to be. Some reckoning, right? Some way to balance out all that energy, right? The yin and the yang have to be in balance, the hard and the soft. And he doesn’t have an off switch. He doesn’t have a down switch. And so I, I worry about him in that regard.[00:37:00]

I feel like if you were to do all that and you were getting therapy, deep therapy to do the, heal from the traumas, that’s great, and you may still do that stuff there, but there’s gonna be a time where you stop doing it, or ego just doesn’t need to be known as the hardest man on earth. No. Said.

Well said. With your career. So after Bud’s active duty for nine years and in reserve through 11 as well. Retired of the rank of commander in, in 2011. We don’t have to touch on that because we’ve gone on so much as well. But is there anything you want to touch on there before you start your entrepreneurial career as well and doing some amazing stuff with SILF Fit and things like that?

I was very blessed to be able to. Get into business as a reserve seal. The reason I became a reservist, cuz I got married in 1994, early in 95, and I was at, in Hawaii and at sdv seal delivery vehicle team. That submersible unit, some cool little submarine stuff that we did. And I just don’t think my new wife and I.

Knew what the impact of being a seal, being a married seal was gonna be. Especially on her, for me it was like always adventurous from [00:38:00] one adventure to another adventure. I didn’t like leaving her but I loved being a seal and so on. Her side was, she gave up her career. She was a therap private practice to the therapist.

She had two young daughters or daughters who are now getting. . And so they were out of the house at 15. One of ’em bailed on school already and got her g e d and the other one’s a little bit older. So they stayed home in Coronado cuz they were in school and they didn’t want to, they didn’t want to come to Hawaii.

And so she gave up a practice and we moved to Hawaii and then guess what? I’m gone I’m gone the whole time, just back and forth a few times, a few days here and a few days there. And after a year of that seals are basically gone for 11 months of. Even when they’re technically home and not deployed, they’re gone training, especially in Coronado or Little Creek, Virginia, where the seal bases are, there’s, you can’t really do much training in those towns, so you’ve gotta go on a travel trip to, to do your training even in the country, anyways, so 11 months out of the year, and she just came to me one day, in tears, says, I can’t do this. And it’s that come to Jesus talk me. So I said, [00:39:00] okay, I gotta make a, So I, I left the Navy active duty, but decided to stay in the reserves, and that was cool because I got to do a lot of really cool things.

I even went to combat as a reserve Lieutenant Commander in 2004, went to Iraq. But, I, my reserve time, except for the two years that I was mobilized for a whole year, I was, I would do like 45 to 60 days a year. The rest of the time I can be in business. And I wanted to bring some of these skills that were so effective for me getting through SEAL training and being a leader in the seals.

I wanted to teach. Special operators, these skills. So I launched this company called Seal Fit and began to teach them these skills, these meditation, concentration, visualization, how to manage your mind and emotions and how to be an incredible team player. And so with SEAL Fit was amazing. We started training SEAL candidates first and then got into other special forces units and then civilians.

And now we even do corporations, but our SEAL trainees, the ones we train in these principles, 90% of them get through Navy SEAL training, which is. So we’ve trained several hundred Navy seals in our system, and [00:40:00] now Bud s the SEAL Training Center themselves have implemented some of the techniques that I innovated or evolved.

And so that’s really cool to be able to see this kind of come full circle and we still run these programs at Seal Fit and try to make people stronger and body, mind, and spirit. And we run more integrative person. In holistic development programs through the brand of unbeatable, and also we have a gear line called brute force, which is unstable load sandbags and weight vests and kettlebells and stuff like that for austere training.

Now one of your, we haven’t even deep dived into any of the books, and I think we’re gonna run outta time, but I know you’ve got five books out there, writing, writing another one at the moment, and so much content. I think I had 87 pages of notes here. We’re on page two right now. True story, one of the one of your goals is to reach a hundred million people’s sorry, inspire and train a hundred million people by 2040.

How do you unpack that? It’s not something that I can say [00:41:00] that I’m looking at a hundred million customers or clients. I want, I’m talking about bringing a hundred million people into a path of wholeness or, to, into a self-determination, self-determining evolutionary process.

It’s a wholeness right path of integration. What I mean by that is someone taking responsibility for growing physically, mentally, emotionally, intuitionally and spiritually. We call those the five mountains. So I can do that through my books, through my podcast, mark Devine show through all my, 400 or 500 certified coaches, doing their work through.

Coaches that I have trained, who’ve written books, who have, started businesses through there’s a number of academic institutions that I’ve used my work, for curriculum especially the way the seal and unalign. So it’s gonna be like all these different touch points and then those touchpoints training another generation of [00:42:00] teachers who then have all these different touchpoints, and so again, it doesn’t, you do the math that you can hit big numbers fairly quickly. Yes. And I’m, and I gave this a 20 year timeline. No. Perfect. Yeah. One of my, I’ve got a goal to educate a billion people on the planet for free. I think I’m at 10 million right now, and that’s just on online question.

I’m getting into the gym business and I had a business meeting last night with some business partners and we’re talking about Les the reformer Pilates. We’ve got yoga in there as well. Les meal training. Can’t you have seal? as a small gym or a program is something we wanna look at. I, because that could be, that would be global.

That would be global. Yeah. I just need to figure out that business model. I tried to do a licensing model and the certified coaches, I I realized that they really need to be seals, right? You need to have sealer special operators as the head instructors per se, for the program to have the authenticity that you want it.

So that is the limiting factor. But I’m looking at that business model of creating that model [00:43:00] for, transitioning Naval Special War for, I would allow other special ops. to do it as well. So you create a business model that’s exciting where they can go in and be, run their own seal fit training center location, which would have gear, would have training models, we’d have events and I think that’d be huge.

I’ve got I’ve answered it. So you would have, like 45 hard, how people doing, oh, I’m doing the 45, 75 hard, or something like that. It’s okay, that’s like bootcamp. Yeah. You would have seal fit hard and seal fit light. That’s a great. A silver fit light would just be like, really light for the up and comers, but I would split it into light and hard.

Yeah. Yeah. If you wanna help me with that one, just let me know. . That is a great idea. Yeah think and culture knees, and I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing cuz you know, especially the last few years in the pandemic, we’re just way outta whack. There’s so many men mental health problems and people are so unhealthy and unfit and they’re just outsourcing so much of.

Life to government, right? Or to corporations. And they don’t realize it, right? It’s just being nipped and tucked until their freedom is gonna be [00:44:00] eventually gone. And so instead of fighting that, the way you find freedom is by claiming it back in your own life, right? And you do that by being physically healthy, mentally healthy, and spiritually healthy.

And then you don’t need pharmacological. Of interventions, right? You start eating really well. So the, the people selling junk food start getting less and less of our business, start making better decisions about your life and still obviously have to live within the constructs of the social structures that, arose because of the collective mindset of our world and our generations.

But you can find autonomy and. by first finding it within your. Be the change you wanna see in the world. That’s what Gandhi said. Yeah. Correct. Yeah. The old saying, make your bed in the morning. There’s a whole book about that. Get your house in order. We’ve all heard these things before, but it’s one of the things he said earlier, which it was the para [00:45:00] visualization.

The difference is are you directing your life or is someone else directing your life for you as well? All comes down to the in. And just, yeah, you’re either a warrior monk or you’re not. It’s as simple as that. But Mark, I wanna say thank you for being a guest on the Best Book Bits podcast.

Where can people find you socially? Where can they buy your books? Check out your programs? My books are all available at Amazon to search for Mark Devine or Unbe Mind, or the way of the Seal staring on the Wolf. Also my personal website, mark devine.com. D I v i n e has, information. It’s got my blog, it’s got, you can sign up for my weekly newsletter called Divine Inspiration.

Comes out every Tuesday. It’s a great place to go. And if you’re interested in the type of training, we’re talking about seal fit.com. We’ll have probably the best up-to-date information. Go there and, learn about some of the programs that we’re rolling out and the podcast as well. The Mark Devine show too.

Mark Devine. That’s, thank you for reminding me that the Mark Devine show right. Is on [00:46:00] Apple or wherever you listen, Spotify and we’ve been, we’re in our eighth, ninth season now. Ninth season. Yeah. Amazing guest. You’re up to, I think 351 episodes, somewhere up there. . Yeah. Awesome. Congratulations. Yeah.

Somewhere in the mid 300 s and, has some incredible conversations and some solo cast where I just, riff on things that are interesting to me and that’s one thing that I need to do. Solocast, I haven’t done that yet. It’s just a bit strange for me, but I think I’ll, I think I’ll do that.

Nah, cool. People love it. I need to do more of them. I’m gonna be doing less of the interview style, promoting someone else’s book and more of the, more deep conversations in the. Yeah. Yeah. Absolut. No, great. Yeah, to my audience, please go out and check out Mark stuff. You’ve, yeah, you’ve done a ton of work.

Such a massive wife resume through there as well. Keep producing content, keep doing that. And yeah I’ll do what I can to promote you to my audience. But yeah, thank you for coming on and it’s really good to speak to a warrior Monk, someone who’s done some hard shit, [00:47:00] but actually gone very deep on the internal stuff as well.

So that’s a, it’s a great quality mark. So I just wanna congratulate you on that. Enjoy the rest of your day and thanks for being a guest on the Facebook Feed podcast and we’ll speak soon. Okay? Thank you, Michael. Appreciate it.


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