Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Review: Unbeatable Mind by Mark Divine

About a year ago, I started reading a book by a former Navy SEAL, Mark Divine, called Unbeatable Mind. The appeal of the book for me was it’s focus on developing mental toughness. I had just finished my third Marine Corps Marathon, and I really wanted to improve my mental game for running. There were two or three points during the race where I felt myself wanting to let up a little bit because they were mentally challenging, and, when I feel that desire to let up, I strive to find ways that I can push through and forge ahead. I also had been seeing a lot of talk about the term resilience, and the thought of developing resilience was also appealing to me.

With that in mind, I picked up the book. The book reads like a manual filled with tools to cultivate a better life and a better mindset for oneself as well as for other people in one’s life (family, coworkers, community, etc.). I really enjoyed the book, and felt like the author did a decent job of blending personal experiences and his own story of discovering calling with tools and techniques that are easily remembered and readily applicable.

Even though I read the book in 2015, one specific tool stuck with me over the last year, and with Jamie’s pregnancy well on its way, I had Jamie begin practicing and reading about the same tool—it was found in the chapter on mental toughness. In fact, while the entire book is solid, I found that chapter to be the best.  

The tool/technique was called box breathing, and I’ve found myself practicing it as I drive and walk, and even as I start and end my day. When I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, I pull box breathing off the shelf and practice it. And when Jamie saw that I was writing this review, she told me that the practices in the second chapter of the book really helped her during labor. In fact, although my wife is already an incredible warrior, I would say that her focus on breathing during labor really changed the whole experience for her.

The book was a fast read and I believe I might run through the whole thing again to see what other gems may surface for application. If you are looking for a book with practical tools to help improve mental toughness, I highly recommend Unbeatable Mind by Mark Divine. There are a number of books being authored by veterans who are sharing their lessons learned with a broader audience, and I found this book to be chock-full of solid tools that are ready for application, if you are ready to step into the arena and live more purposefully.

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