It was on a stationary bike, main deck, Port Side of a Navy “Gator Freighter”, cruising the Arabian Gulf waiting for my next mission. This is when I learned how critical beauty is to my ability to perform.
As the lead Sniper, I was separated from my platoon so that I had immediate access to the helo assets I required to protect them. Every night the call would come in and I’d rush to load the helicopter’s radios with our special crypto key so that I could establish secret communications with my assault team below. I’d quickly rig the helicopter in a way that would allow me to hang myself out it’s door should the need to engage any targets arise.
The hours were unpredictable, sleep was hit and miss. Not looking, smelling or moving like a regular ship sailor I stood out, people stared at me as I walked the halls, ate my food, slept in their berthing compartments during the day when they were awake. As a very active “Pack Animal” type I could feel the zoochosis burning me up from the inside out. Luckily she was close by.
What Weakened Me
Being alone was taking a toll on me. If it weren’t for that stationary bike that someone had the good sense to place outside, I don’t know how long I would have lasted. Not the bike, but the view became a sort of a mistress to me. A beauty that called to me every morning as the helicopter returned me to the ship just before the sun came up.
Though I was exhausted from the night’s operations, I’d still make my way to that bike. I’d turn on some Reggae music, settle into the saddle and just ride as I stared out over the endless ocean and watched the sunrise. After my time with her, I’d return to the reality of being an outsider on the ship. Some food, a shower and then I’d make my way through the staring faces, climb into someone else’s rack, and fall asleep only to wake a few hours later ready for the next mission.
As an Entrepreneur, my relationship with beauty became spotty. I’d get locked on to my work. Stopping to take the time to be with her felt like something more extravagant than I deserved or needed. For a while my life had become only about the fight. No rest, no breaks, one thing to another. I forgot about my relationship with beauty, and a high “Op Tempo” took her place and began to weaken me. It left me dependent on non productive habits to get through my day–non stop work, comfort food, staying up late, alcohol. It all began to destroy me and that’s when she showed up.
I knew better. I knew that touching beauty brought me back to life, recharged my batteries and never failed to launch me back into the fight more ready and more violent than when I left it. But I’ve also since learned that there’s much more to her. Though she’s complex, she’ll capture you effortlessly if you let her.
You see what happens is we eventually fall in love with the beauty we expose ourselves to– favorite point break, a lake, a mountain range, a trail by our house, a long run, a new mountain bike. She consumes us, and when she does she pushes out the busywork and meaningless thoughts and activities that have been in our way of living meaningful lives. This is when her real power comes in.
You see, these meaningless thoughts and activities produce fatigue, boredom and diffusion. When they are replaced by her and she takes up residence, she inoculates us with high doses of energy and excitement. She gives us a sort of something better to do that also makes us better at being who we were meant to be.
But! She’s Gotta Be Smoking Hot & Super Fun
Now this isn’t as simple as reading a story about her and skipping out our door lovestruck to find her.
Like any powerful relationship, she’ll require your time and attention. You gotta buy her shit all of the time (gear), bring her to new places regularly (travel) and keep things fresh and exciting (new activities) to keep her fire stoked because she’s only going to burn as hot as you feed her. And you need her smoking hot if she’s going to keep your time and attention.
In Tim Ferris’s book “The 4-Hour Workweek” there was a single sentence that redefined both love and happiness for me. I believe it describes both the how and the why of having beauty in our lives.
“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is—here’s the clincher—boredom.”
– Tim Ferris –
So whatever beauty you tap into has to be hot enough to burn brighter than all of the unnecessary bull shit that likely occupies your attention and time. You can’t be indifferent to her. Like the sunset, Reggae music and stationary bike in the Arabian Gulf, she’ll demand that she matters enough for you to come back to her everyday, every time you complete a mission.
But! This is no one way street either. She’s got a job to do and she loves doing it. She has keep you entertained, excited, far from bored. You have to matter to her as well. She has to be fun as hell.
Much like any relationship, I’ve found that her and I need regular alone time during the week. “Date Nights” so to speak. But it’s also important that we periodically get away from it all and re-stoke the fire.
For years I attempted to enroll other men around me to travel places and engage in the badass activities required to fan this fire, but I learned that most men are cooked, and ensnared in life sentences of domestication, so I did the only reasonable thing there was to do. I changed my business model and started a thing called “Strategic Training Groups.” I created the SEa-Air-Land (SEAL) Excursions for the men who would join them.
Launching these groups and the excursions was critical for me. It reconnected me to her in ways that I never thought possible; but, I also learned that 3 times a year wasn’t nearly enough. Once I got a taste, I realized that the “long distance” relationship wasn’t going to cut it. Now within the groups and some of the courses I do, I spend time talking and teaching about beauty. How to find her, keep her and straight up have a blast with her everyday. For me, once I made the choice to be in this relationship with her, it’s been effortless to maintain. It just took getting into it.
Now – Go find her!
Republished with permission from Eric Davis. Be sure to check out Eric’s website for more information on human performance.