The Never Quit Attitude: Part 1 — Coach Milo

Milo Thomas Photography

I have been staring at the title of this for the past two days. People continuously ask me about mental toughness and how they can be better at it. In an all out honest moment , I really don’t think I am the right person for the job. I have my moments. I struggle. Sometimes, I fail. Sometimes, I want to quit. There are some insanely better and more qualified people out there to talk about mental toughness. But here are my thoughts and hopefully we can get the conversation rolling..

To be honest with you, anyone who says that they never want to quit; I honestly think they are lying. Wanting to quit is normal. Actually quitting is entirely different. If you don’t get that voice in your head that’s telling you to stop, you aren’t close to pushing your boundaries.

So how to develop mental toughness?

Simple but not easy. You need to push yourself. Do things you don’t want to do. Do things that scare you. Things that you think you will fail at. And yes at times you will fail. But you try again. And again if needed. Most people don’t know their limits because they have never actually pushed themselves to find out and to find out you need to start. We can talk about this for years without ever actually discovering anything. Just start. You will be surprised how quickly you can push yourself and how much you will learn about yourself.

Only those willing to go too far can ever find out how far one can go. Set yourself a task that seems impossible. Maybe it is and you fail and guess what ? You can get up dust off and try again and do better. Or better yet ? You actually do it and realise what you think is impossible actually isn’t even close to what you limit yourself to.

Motivation and Drive

Motivation is great. It can be a person who motivates us to get up. It can be a Youtube video with some shit hot music to boot and gets us fired up. But my issue with motivation is it will only get us so far. It comes and goes. When it gets rough we forget about the cool video. We forget the inspirational music.

So what will keep you going? You need to have drive. Some people call it grit. Some call it passion. Call it what you want but you need to have it to go through the genuine moments. You need a reason why. This is the first time I have ever expressed this and I haven’t even told my parents this story.

In my fourth week of Military training it was rough. I was suffering and I was failing daily. People were quitting left right and centre. I called my folks and told them I wanted to quit and was going to hand in my paper work. They both told me fine but to just wait one more week. Just see that you can get through it for another week and see how you feel then. When I told them that I cannot express the shame I felt. After years of telling them I wanted to be in the Army here I was saying that I wanted to quit.
So what happened next ? That shame and that feeling became a massive why and driving factor for me. I would not fail or bring that shame upon myself again. Sure I had moments again but I never was willing to hand in my paperwork and I got through training. This may seem very old school to some of you but I want to be proud of who I am. It’s what drove me to work with some of the best units in the British Army. I wanted to be the best I could be and with the best people.

Everyone has these moments at different times in their life. But when it happens you need to remember it and use it. Or search yourself and push yourself to find your why.

Finding The Positive

Finding the positive during the rough times can be hard. In the military its essential. There is always something that can be taken away from any situation. Be it funny and just enjoy a moment (this is why veterans humour is insane!) or a take away lesson for another time. I’ll let Jocko take this one as this video is badass! If you don’t know Jocko Willink then you should check out his podcast.

In closing for this part you need to find what works for you. There is no one path for this. You need to push yourselves. For some that may mean you go run an ultra marathon for some it may mean you need to get your ass out of bed when your alarm goes off. Find your limit and push it daily. Every. Single. Day. I don’t want to know what I think is possible. I want to know. I want to see how far I can go. I want to be able to look in the mirror and be proud of who I am. Take ownership of who you are. Take the blame for everything be it good, bad, a victory or a loss. Once you do that theres nothing you can’t change.