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Advice on how to thrive in challenging times

By May 13, 2020 September 2nd, 2020 4 Comments

“Whatever your challenge is, maybe you should thank it instead of fear it, because it will make you who you are in the future.” – Mark Divine

Mark is the founder of the Courage Foundation and at this time of year they strive to commemorate all the veterans of foreign wars. Especially those who came back wounded psychologically in addition to the physical wounds suffered in service to their country. The scourge of Post-traumatic Stress affects many veterans and the Courage Foundation offers the Veteran Integration Program to help struggling veterans reintegrate and find Post-Traumatic growth. Go to to find out more.

Today Commander Divine has a solocast to give us advice on how he believes we can be moving forward and overcoming the difficult times created by COVID. One of the first things that he point out is that almost all human times – from prehistory to the present – have been challenging times. That doesn’t make the present less challenging, but it has always been this way. And obviously we’re not seeing it, but there are many amazing opportunities in front of us.

Hear how:

  • You need to take positive action every day, so that success is a daily pursuit
  • Most of what happens in the world is not in your control. What is in your control is your own action.
  • In order to be able to serve, you need to take care of yourself

Listen to this episode to get Mark’s take on how to thrive in our current circumstances

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Hi. This is Mark Divine. Welcome to the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you’re doing well, and you’re thriving in these challenging time.

In fact, the title of this solo podcast is advice on how to thrive in challenging times. Whether you’re a recent college graduate who’s wondering what the heck to do now. Or whether you maybe have lost your job or your businesses in some sort of holding pattern…

I mean, these are seriously challenging times for many people. So, I want to take the time to both reflect on that, and also say that and we’re here to support you. I’m here to support you. Our hearts go out if you’re suffering from the COVID-19 itself, or have a loved one that’s suffering. Or if you’ve had some economic distress, which so many people have as a result of the economy being shut down as a result of this.

We certainly are in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous circumstances. That – in my opinion – will be the new normal. And in fact, I would also submit that it’s been that way since the beginning of time.

So the first kind of tip I have for you – for how to deal and thrive in challenging times – is to consider that all times are challenging times. It is an aspect of the human condition that we’re put into this world to confront challenges, to overcome them, to grow from them. And then to move on to the next challenge.

That is my perspective. It certainly has been my experience in life, and it’s also been borne out through all my deep study through the warrior traditions, and also through the spirit traditions such as Zen, and martial arts, and yoga.

The challenging times are here to stay. They’ve always been here. Do not shy from them. Don’t collapse into fear around what’s happening now. Make this an opportunity to really shift your attitude, to embrace the challenge, to move toward it like that next hero’s journey. To learn how to overcome it. Look for the opportunities amongst the threats. Develop some new skills and competencies. And be excited about the growth that lies on the other end of this challenge when you overcome it.

And we’re going to prepare – we’ll learn how to prepare for the worst outcomes – while hoping and working toward the best outcomes.

And we won’t have any specific expectations, which will lead to that expectation hangover when they don’t come to fruition as we envisioned. So we’ll develop a curiosity and a non-attachment to the outcome.

But really, really an excitement about the growth that will come from overcoming the obstacles and the challenges. As my friend Ryan Holiday says “The Obstacle is the Way.” What he means by that – and that’s stoic philosophy – is that we look to the obstacles to find a way to grow. To find a way to learn new things. To find our way forward.

All times are challenging times. Embrace the suck of the challenge. That growth is there – the growth that you so desperately need to become the fullest version yourself is found in the challenge.

So whatever your challenge is, maybe you should thank it, instead of fear it, because it will make you who you are in the future. It’ll make you stronger, more resilient, more pliable, more optimistic. You’ll be able to contribute more and you’ll be more peaceful and happy as a result.

Which brings me to my second point. Let’s not fear the future. Fear is a false expectation or false evidence that appears real. My perspective is that the future is unbelievably abundant. There are more amazing opportunities that are in front of us now than at any time in human history.

This is a perfect time, now, to be thinking about how you can serve more people. How you can engage in humanity in a way that’s gonna impact people in a more positive way. How can we leverage all the emergent technologies of virtual learning, and artificial intelligence, and 5G networks and the Internet of things? And cloud computing.

All these things coming together make essentially everybody an entrepreneur. Everybody has the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, to leverage these technologies… which have been democratized and dematerialized – to use my friend Peter Diamandis’ language.

We have an unbelievable opportunity in front of us. On the other side of this current situation – this current crisis – so don’t fear the future. Look forward to the opportunities, begin to take part in learning the new skills you need to take advantage of these opportunities – such as coding or becoming a block chain consultant or something like that… there’s so many opportunities.

Which brings me to my third point. Doubt is eliminated through action, and action alone. Doubt is probably the biggest contributor to failure in life, because doubt causes us to freeze in our tracks. It triggers the fight-or-flight or freeze sympathetic reaction in us.

We – for some reason – are built to crave clarity and certainty. And everyone’s looking for certainty by trying to control what’s outside of them. Trying to control the people in their lives, trying to control their job, or their business direction…

And suddenly when something like COVID and this economic crisis happens, we recognize that none of those things were actually in our control at all. But what is in your control is the ability to choose an action, and to take that action. And if you choose that action wisely, and you link that small action to another action and another action and another action, then day-in and day-out through this crisis you can come through it stronger.

You can even build an entirely new career that will launch during and explode afterwards. You don’t have to wait around for someone else to solve your problems. Or wait around for the unemployment to run out, or the stimulus checks to run out. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Doubt’s eliminated through positive action alone, so get good at defining those actions, chunking them down to their micro-goals, and then taking powerful action day-in, day-out, to eliminate the doubt. Move toward the sound of gunfire. Don’t hide in the corner, and hope for results. Make it happen.

So that brings me to my next point. While you do all this, keep things simple. I think many of us can admit that we were over-committed, over-distracted, stressed-out, burned-out and sleep-deprived prior to this government shutdown.

And Wow, what an opportunity we’ve had to change all that. To catch up on our sleep and commit to sleep better in the future. Reduce our commitments, and commit to saying no more in the future. Reduce our distractions, and our addictions to the social media and the negative news. And eliminate it from our life, even.

And then commit to doing that all in the future. Keep it simple. Declutter. Say “no” in service to the bigger “yes.” And radically focus on those actions that are going to eliminate doubt. Avoid falling into the trap of constantly over-committing and distracting yourself. And snapping back into that mode of operating, when this crisis is so-called over.

Commit right now to eliminate those things purposely and forever. And to habituate new positive things in their stead.

Take time every day to meditate, and to breathe deeply. To contemplate and journal what’s keeping you distracted. And what you need to align around and accomplish in this life. And how are you gonna take action on that? Today.

And then commit to that most important target – today that one thing that’s gonna move you forward to eliminate doubt.

And then take action on that. And hold yourself accountable to a team or swim buddy. So keep things simple. Don’t complexify. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are out there. Everything is already complex enough. So for you to navigate and to thrive in challenging times, you must keep things simple in your life.

This brings me to my next point – take care of yourself. Yes, we want to serve others in a profound way. We want to align around our service or how we’re meant to serve in the world. But if all we’re doing is focusing on serving, and we’re not taking care of ourselves – then you will fall apart.

Now I’m thinking about all the first responders out there who are working so hard. And you need to take care of yourself, if you’re in that group. You need to eat well. You need to sleep. You need to keep your exercise regimen up. And you might be thinking, “Well, I don’t have time for that.”

But guess what? You won’t have time to serve if you’re broken, or sick, or burn out. So you got to take care of yourself. At Unbeatable Mind we like to suggest that the two part paradigm or philosophy is you master yourself in service to others, but the mastery comes first.

So, eating well. What’s the best principle there? Simplify. Simplify how you eat. Eat less food, strip the sugar and the junk out of your diet. Eat closer to the earth, whole food diet. Consider vegetarian diet for the environmental impact and the health benefits.

But if you don’t eat vegetarian – that’s fine. Just make sure your protein sources are high quality and you’re close to the source. I’m not an advocate of Big Beef or any of those big meat industry players who are so destructive to the environment. So consider getting your protein sources from close, organic and grass-fed sources.

Then what about movement? Movement should be a daily thing. So movement includes your exercise. Commit to a comprehensive functional fitness regimen, and a movement practice such as yoga. And have those two be a daily thing that you do. That you will not do without. They’re as important to you as the eating and then the sleeping.

We have tons of support for you at and our SEALFIT online training, as well as our Kokoro yoga movement practices if you’re interested reach out for help on that.

And then sleeping. This is another really important one. You need seven and a half to eight hours of sleep a night and if you’re sleep-deprived – meaning you’re not getting that – then guess what? You will build up a huge deficit and you’ll have health considerations or issues as a result of that.

It’s assessed that if you have one hour of sleep deprivation a night – over the course of the year you’ll gain close to 20 pounds of excess fat. And your hormonal system would be completely out of whack. Which will keep you up at night and cause burnout, and anxiety, and even depression.

So sleep is the granddaddy of all these take care of yourself skills. They all work together, but if sleep’s out of whack – everything’s gonna be out of whack. So you need to catch up on your sleep and then dial in really good sleep hygiene.

What are some tips for sleep hygiene? Well, get the electronics out of your bedroom. Don’t check your phone within an hour of bed. Don’t eat any sugar or drink any alcohol within two hours of going to sleep.

Black out your room with blackout curtains. Shut off all electronic things in your room, and all light sources. And keep the temperature between 65 and 68 degrees. And consider using a sleep app to help you go to sleep. And consider using a supplement such as Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy. Especially to kick-start a new sleep paradigm.

So eat, sleep, move and exercise. And then also play. Another thing to help take care of yourself is to play. Even if it’s just spontaneously here and there… or to block some times to play with your kids, to go play a sport… and also to go play in nature. And I would say “play,” I mean just be in nature.

Nature can be very playful. And I love… when I really settle down, and I’m quiet, and I’ve had a few days in nature… how playful the animals become. It’s really my observing it, but also they’ll play with you.

A quick story here, I was on a meditation retreat once and I took a long walk in the woods. And I came upon a family of deer. And they didn’t fear me, because I was in such a still place, and I was calm, and I wished them well. And I just stood and sat with them for a while. And they just went about their business.

And then a couple of other individuals came tromping down the path chit-chatting, and the deer looked up and bolted. It’s really interesting. So if you get out in nature, and just be playful and still, you’ll reap unbelievable emotional benefits. It’s all part of taking care of yourself so that you can serve others powerfully in a way that you’re meant to.

And this brings me to my last point. Let’s gear up to serve more people and in a more bold way.

How can we serve more people? Well consider that about three and a half to four billion people will be coming online to the internet through 5G and mobile devices in the next two to three years. That’s an unbelievable, unprecedented opportunity for all of us. All of us to be either solopreneurs or entrepreneurs. And to serve the human race.

To do this well we need to evolve our consciousness away from egocentric activities. And commit to doing no harm. And committing to being a world-centric entrepreneur and leader.

It doesn’t mean we have to all be the same, or culture – all of a sudden – becomes this one flat line color. That’s not going to happen. We will actually be able to honor our differences even more and our uniqueness is even better, if we take on a world-centric attitude and look for the sameness within our uniqueness.

So do no harm. Gear up to serve the human race as a world-centric leader. Leave the age of ego and ethnocentricity behind. Let’s not go back to that anymore. Let’s get over it.

We as entrepreneurs and the individuals who have an Unbeatable Mind will be the ones who evolve this culture. The team is the new leader. The organization can have an enormous impact. If you’re a team of teams, with the Unbeatable Mind, world-centric, do no harm attitude… serving the entire human race.

What an unbelievably powerful vision for the future that would be. And then to be able to leverage the technologies in a positive way. Like artificial intelligence and remote learning and all that – what we talked about earlier – means that we are gearing up not only for a shift in global consciousness, but a shift in how we work, how we see each other in relationship to each other. What it means to be human.

What an incredible opportunity we have. But you got to take care of yourself by eating, sleeping, moving and playing well. Serve with a broader perspective, starting with do no harm to others or the environment. And being world-centric in our focus. Leaving the age of ego and ethnocentricity behind, knowing that we’re all in this together. One team, one fight.

We’re going to keep things simple avoiding the trap of over-commitments and distractions, taking time daily to meditate, and breathe, and contemplate and journal. And really get closer to the true nature of things, including our own nature.

And we’ll eliminate doubt through actions. Experience is the real education, so let’s get busy experiencing new things, new jobs, new projects, new technologies, new learnings… don’t wait around for a perfect opportunity – there’s no such thing. Don’t wait around for someone to solve your problems cause they won’t.

And don’t fear the future. There are the most amazing opportunities ahead of us, more than any time in humanity’s history, this is your time. Your most productive years are ahead, the future is abundant.

And considering all that – we are in a VUCA world, it’s always been a VUCA world it just seems like it sped up a little bit. Or this government shutdown and pandemic has exposed it to us in a little bit more raw form.

But times are always challenging. Embrace the growth, embrace the suck of the challenge. And look for the opportunities to learn. Prepare for the worst while working toward the best. Become resilient and become a learning machine.

This is how you’re gonna thrive in challenging times. This is how you’re gonna thrive for the rest of your life. We got this. Easy day. Hoo-yah.

And I’m here to help. Thanks for listening. This is Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Go check out to learn more about our training and our coach certification. We have over three hundred coaches in various phases of their certification process. And my vision is well over 5,000 certified coaches serving the world, and impacting 100 million people to develop this Unbeatable Mind philosophy across the globe. Thanks for listening. I really appreciate you.

This is Mark Divine and this is Unbeatable Mind podcast. I’ll see you next time.


Divine out.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Kamal says:


  • Gregory P. Rothaus says:

    Really great thoughts on what is important right now and how there are a wealth of opportunities in front of us and not just threats.

  • barney mayse says:

    This is simple, straightforward and practical. I am just getting started in the coaching program and I found this to practical and uplifting at the same time. Change is a constant, I have the choice to embrace it or fear it. Fear to me is like worry, it solves nothing. Take action today–NOW. Thanks Mark.

  • Karin Schoner says:

    The Unbeatable Mind “way of life” is enriching, its challenging, its daring, its growing and constantly developing. I start to understand the motto “never rest on your laurels” as every day is a new day to learn, grow and develop. And the beauty about it has been able to use all of this to help others through times like this. I love it and embrace it! Thank you Commander Mark & Team – Hooyah!

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