Book Summaries

Book Summary: Embrace the Suck by Brent Gleeson

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In Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life, former Navy SEAL Brent Gleeson shares his experiences from SEAL training, combat, business, and life in general. The phrase “Embrace the Suck” is a metaphor for leaning into the suffering and getting comfortable with being very uncomfortable.

Embrace the suck is a book about resilience. It provides tools and frameworks for dealing with adversity. In early 2000, Brent decided to leave his job as a financial analyst with a global real estate development company to join the United States Navy. He joined the Navy to become a Navy SEAL, one of the most challenging special operations training and selection programs in the world.

“Resilience is like any muscle. With focus and determination—you can strengthen your mind to overcome any obstacle, crush goals, dominate your battlefield, and live an extraordinary life.”

The foreword for the book was written by David Goggins. Brent was in the same class as the former Navy SEAL and endurance athlete David Goggins, author of Can’t hurt me and Never Finished. They met in late 2000 at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California, where they were both in Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL class 235. They completed their Hell week in March 2001; after completing SEAL Qualification Training, they earned their Tridents and joined SEAL Team Five.

Goggins once held the Guinness World Record for pull-ups, completing 4,030 in seventeen hours. An accomplished endurance athlete, completing more than 60 ultramarathons, triathlons, and ultra triathlons, setting new course records and regularly placing in the top five.

David Goggin’s Forty percent rule

We all have the ability to master our minds. But our brains are wired with defense mechanisms for avoiding pain and hardship, for staying well within the confines of our comfort zone. Our minds have a tendency to force us into a sheltered existence.

When our brains start sending signals that we can go no further, endure no more, to retreat to the blissful embrace of denial and mediocrity, we’ve only achieved forty percent of our mental and physical potential.

But when we find ways to harness our minds, we can defy all odds. From overcoming depression, abuse, financial strain, or illness to conquering the most unimaginably lofty goals, when properly vanquished, our minds become the weapon needed for success on any battlefield. We just have to embrace the suck.

“Go to war with yourself!”

We all have it in ourselves to step boldly onto our battlefield and take the fight to the enemy, to willingly go to war with ourselves, defy the odds, and live our own version of an extraordinary life. Regardless of all the inevitable obstacles we face from the day we’re born until the day we go over the great divide, if we simply embrace the suck and go all in, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.

Pain unlocks a secret doorway in the mind, one that leads to both peak performance and beautiful silence.

Challenge-Commitment-Control mindset

  • Resilient people view difficulties as a Challenge, where obstacles and failures are opportunities for growth.
  • They have a strong emotional Commitment to their goals and are not easily distracted or deterred. 
  • Resilient people focus their energy on the things within their Control, rather than fixating on factors they can’t impact. 

1. Challenge: Resilient people view difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from and opportunities for growth.”

2. Commitment: Resilient people are committed to their lives and goals. They have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. They are not easily deterred or distracted by “opportunities” that are unrelated to their desired outcomes.”

3. Control: Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. And because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident.

“We are the architects of our own beliefs, the decisions we make, and the results those decisions deliver. We may not always realize it, but we have a relatively significant impact on how our lives unfold.”

On Adversity

Nothing great in this world comes without a little bit of adversity. Nothing amazing happens inside our comfort zones. Whether we are talking about getting a promotion, nurturing a challenged marriage, mastering a sport, building or saving a small business, navigating a pandemic, battling disease, dealing with the loss of a loved one, raising children, or hunting terrorists, a little bit of suffering will always be attached. That’s why the things we love and work hard for are deeply rewarding.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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