I can’t believe I’ve done it. I’ve finally finished a challenge that definitely made me rethink my own capabilities and my own mental toughness. If you are not familiar with 75 hard challenge you can listen to episode 76 of my podcast. I came across the challenge listening to Andy Frisella’s podcast REALAF. For those who are not familiar with the challenge, here’s a brief introduction. It’s a mental toughness programme, it’s NOT a fitness programme but a mental toughness programme. It’s Iron Man for the brain.
There are 5 rules you have to follow:
- Follow a diet. Zero cheat meals and no alcohol for entire 75 Days
- Workout x2 a day for a least 45 minutes. One workout has to be outside.
- Drink 4.5 litres of water per day
- Read 10 pages of A non-fiction book
- Take a progress pic every single day.
You can’t change the rules, you can’t skip anything and you have to do it every single day for 75 days consistently. If you forget to do something from the above, you start over. I started over twice because I failed. The third time was my final time, and here I am, celebrating by drinking freshly brewed tea and writing this article for you.
I added more things to the challenge because I thought if I’m going to go through this, I want to 10x it. And the truth is I got so tired of me being a lazy fat guy that I said I have to go all in on this. I got sick of my own excuses. So I added the following:
- Have cold showers everyday
- Signed up for HITT classes (I’m doing them at F45 Training)
- Morning meditation, stoic journal, writing my goals and gratitude list.
- Run Half Marathon (broke my Personal Best as well)
I’ve been doing the morning rituals (meditation, goal writing, gratitude list) for two years now so that wasn’t hard for me. Reading non-fiction books was not hard, either, as I read every day. I started doing cold showers last year, but this year I wasn’t consistent so I decided to add them and go through it.
I used to admire people who achieved high level of business success, financial success, but in the past three years something changed. I started admiring people who were mentally strong, people with strong character. Don’t get me wrong, I do still admire people who achieve great business results, but mental toughness I believe is the hardest thing we can achieve. Reading the book Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggin’s I understood that mental toughness is very, very hard. But on the bright side, we all can achieve mental toughness.
When I talk about mental toughness, I think of taking control of my life, I think of resilience, determination, focus, courage, inner-confidence, commitment, self-esteem, goal oriented, inner-calmness, focus, grit, emotional control and having a growth mindset. This traits in a human being can make or break the person. I’m a student of success, a student of life and I will definitely remain that way because it’s the only way to really push yourself and become a slightly better human being.
I’m obsessed with my potential, my human potential. I want to push myself to the ‘limits’ and see what else can I achieve, how far can I go because I know, I truly believe that I’m nowhere close to my potential. And sometimes I beat myself up because I’m not doing what I’m capable of doing. But that’s for another day.
We have so many weak people in the world, people that don’t want to push themselves because they are too lazy or just gave up on their dreams. I refuse to settle, I refuse not to demand the best out of myself because I believe there is greatness in every single human being. And I don’t mean in an inspirational ‘you can become great at anything’ but I mean we are all capable of greatness if we put everything on the line and do the best we can do to our abilities.
The reason I did (and do) skydiving, run half marathons, do social freedom, do cold showers, walk on fire, attend workshops, try fasting and do all the other things I do is to push myself outside the comfort zone. I hate that zone, and I hate it when I’m comfortable because I know I’m not growing. And when I’m not growing it means I’m static, I’m in the same place as I was.
People confuse mental toughness with physical toughness. Being strong physically has nothing to do with mental toughness. I see so many guys that are full of muscles yet they are weak mentally. They post half-naked selfies in the gym on social media to show their muscles, yet they are weak inside. With the first adversity they start complaining and crying about it. I actually feel sorry for them as I know that narcissism is on the rise and insecurities are very loud.
Mental toughness is how we respond to high-pressure situations, is how we respond when others are testing us, it’s how we think and how we navigate the world.
Doing the 75 hard challenge made me so much stronger, I can’t say it was one of the hardest things I did because jumping out of a plane was hard, moving to London was hard, quitting smoking was really hard , this challenge was a different kind of hard. Here are the three lessons I learned from doing the challenge:
- Discipline is everything
There were days that I really wanted to grab those buns from Tesco and eat them while I walked past them. I was in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago and I really wanted to have a glass of Sangria and a nice veggie burger but I refused because I knew it was not worth it. We speak about discipline and we all know that discipline is important but discipline comes from mental toughness. I didn’t connect the two before but doing the challenge it connected in my head. I’m not that disciplined, I actually struggle a lot with being disciplined with exercising every day and trying to avoid eating unhealthy snacks and vegan junk food. I might be on huel every day but one of my weakness is that I eat a lot of things I shouldn’t eat. I can easily overeat, too, which is really bad.
The biggest lesson I learned is that if I want to succeed in any area of my life, I need to work on my mental toughness and learn to say no, no to myself. Instant gratification is very real and if we want to succeed, we need to practice and learn to say NO, and practice delayed gratification.
2. One decision makes a difference
When we say that this doesn’t matter, it’s small, it’s just one exercise, or it’s just one cheat meal, actually it matters a lot. When we think about one decision at a time it makes things easier. We don’t have to think about all the other decisions we have to make. It’s 75 days right? When you think of it, it’s long, it’s 2 months and 15 days, a long time but when you think of it, it’s just today. It’s just right now. All I have to do is put my running shoes and just go. All you have to do is say no to this pack of Pringles.
Once we learn to make one decision, one decision to commit to something everything starts to change. This was my third attempt, I said myself, I’m going to go thought this no matter how I feel. I committed myself to finish this no matter what. Even when I went out for a drink once I had a friend that actually told me have a gin & tonic, it’s one drink it won’t make a difference. I refused because I made a decision to go through this.
3.Stop obsessing about the end result
We live in a world where we’ve been brought up and trained to go after the end result; get good grades to be an ‘A’ student, work harder to get a promotion, go to the gym to get a ‘perfect’ body, get a new client to win more sales, make more money and become a millionaire and it goes on and on. We are obsessed with the end result. But have we thought about what happens when we reach that particular goal? What happens when the chase is over?
Since being young kids, we are chasing something, either it’s more trophies in school or more bank notes in our account.
One of the reasons that 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues each year and 792 million people are affected by mental health issues worldwide is because we are obsessed with the end result. When we are depressed or not happy with a certain situation is because the current situation is not what we would like it to be.
In this challenge I briefly became obsessed with losing weight. The problem with this is not that I got obsessed with a goal, with the end result. At some point I realized it doesn’t really matter what will happen in 75, 65, 30 days, what matters is today, right now. When the alarm hits 05:30 I need to wake up and put my running shoes to be at my training class at 06:15 am. When I have moments of weakness and want to eat that muffin I need to pause and focus on that moment, focus on saying no to myself.
I believe this is the biggest and most important lesson I learned – focus on the process, focus on what you need to do today. It applies in everything in life – business as well. Focus on the things you need to do today, right now. Don’t focus on losing weight, focus on what you need to do every single day, learn to stay focused in the present moment because all we have is now, all we have is today.
Half way through the challenge it was easier because I understood that I don’t need to focus on what will happen in 30 days, I just need to focus on today, on right now, on this moment.
And the end result is a by-product of how we managed each moment, how we managed every day. If we did a good job, then the by-product, the end result, should be what we wanted it to be. This way we remove the anxiety and the obsession with the end goal. We focus on making our daily tasks and we focus on perfecting what we are doing on a daily basis.
If you are wondering if I lost weight – yes I did, I lost 9 kilos, although I still have a lot to go. But what I’m most proud of is that I made a decision to make this my lifestyle, I was thinking towards the end that I actually want to continue doing HIIT classes and not drinking alcohol, doing cold showers and all the other things that I was doing. I have to admit I did miss cheat meals but I can have them now and jump back on.
I listened to Andy Frisella’s episode towards the end about Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the challenge and I was really happy to hear that there is more to it. Basically, the programme is called LIVEHARD, and this is a whole year of doing this challenges that adds on to 75HARD challenge.
I love the feeling of pushing myself, I love the feeling of becoming slightly better than I was yesterday and this added more fuel and passion into my life. Because if we think about it, aren’t we supposed to push ourselves as humans and become better in every way we can?
If you are thinking of doing 75HARD, I highly recommend it. A lot of people said its life changing, it changed the way they work and how they behave. I can’t say its life changing for me because all things that are uncomfortable are life changing.
In 2017 attending the Infinite Man Summit and realizing I’m living a delusional life was life changing, doing skydiving for the first time was life changing, doing skydiving in Dubai was life changing, attending UPW (Unleash The Power Within) Tony Robbins Event in London was life changing, quitting smoking was life changing, becoming vegan was life changing, changing my diet to huel was life changing, reading The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People Book, The Five Second Rule by Mel Robins, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fu** by Mark Manson was life changing. So, my point is that life changing can be anything if we truly learn and do the actions that are required. You can’t pinpoint to one thing and say this worked because it’s not true. For me everything started in 2017 – that’s what opened my mind to other things and led me here. If you had introduced 75HARD to me in 2016, I would have ignored it and said this is ridiculous, or I would say ‘life is for living’ or any other BS excuse to make myself feel better.
Sometimes we are not ready to listen to a certain message and that’s absolutely fine because we are not living our lives in the same sequence, and we are not going into the same direction, we all have different goals. This challenge is for people who are ready to step up, it’s for people who want to go beyond and push themselves. So whenever you are ready, I highly recommend it.
In the meantime, if you want to receive my newsletter and hear new thoughts and ideas, you can sign up below:
If you want to listen to the episode I did about the above lessons, you can go to Stay Stupid Podcast Episode 81 – available on all major platforms.