By Former Special Forces Sergeant Major Gaz Banford
Human beings need daily challenges. We may dream of a life of leisure, but that’s all that really is, a dream. It is healthy for us to be challenged on a daily basis – we need it, and we thrive on it, whether we realise it or not.
The military gives you this. You have a structure, you have challenging things to do every day. It may seem tough to the outsider, but this kind of life is very rewarding because every day you are being driven out of your comfort zone and forced to physically and mentally get to new levels, but it’s only small steps every day.
A lot of guys miss that when they leave. So getting involved with something like jiu-jitsu is great for so many reasons. It clears your mind of stress and helps get you in shape, which is great. It also constantly sets you new challenges.
Every time you go into that gym you get that dopamine hit as you put your body through its paces, but you also find more about your strengths and weaknesses, see where you are on that ladder, and learn what you need to work on in order to progress.
It doesn’t need to be jiu-jitsu, and in times like these a lot of people have had to improvise with their workouts. It can be walking, running, cycling, lifting weights, whatever your thing is. Small, incremental increases are best for your body, and they are also the most satisfying way to progress from a psychological point of view.
Whether you are in the military, or work behind a desk, challenges are what make us who we are. So keep setting targets. Be kind to yourself when you miss them, just make sure you don’t stop setting them.
Over the coming months I will be teaming up with Sam from REORG to bring you some of what I learnt from my years coaching and mentoring Special Forces. I will give you tips based on my experiences, and tell you how the combat mindset can be applied to everyday life. Watch this space.
Gaz Banford spent six years in the Royal Marines and 16 years in the Special Forces, ultimately as Sergeant Major in the Special Boat Service. He is now a mindset and leadership coach and founder of Duratus UK, providing leadership training to senior professionals and sportspeople. Gaz is also host of the Duratus Mind podcast.