Trident Mindset is a mindset and resilience training program created by Navy SEALs, intelligence operatives, and neuroscientists that teaches proven tactics for reducing stress, reaching potential, and increasing happiness. We believe the quality of your mindset determines the quality of your life. Our mission is to teach you to master your mindset so you can live your happiest life.

One bite at a time.

Think about it. There is no other way you could do it. You can’t eat the elephant two, three, or 50 bites at a time. The only way you can eat anything—elephant or otherwise—is one bite at a time.

Everything in life is the same as eating an elephant—you can only do it one step at a time.

Therefore, there is no difference between what mentally tough and mentally weak people can do. Both groups can only do things one step at a time. There is an enormous difference, however, between what mentally tough and mentally weak people focus on. While the mentally tough focus on just the next step, the mentally weak focus on entire tasks.

Reflect on when you felt stressed or overwhelmed by an undertaking. You aren’t overwhelmed by what you are doing in the moment; you’re overwhelmed by what you think you have to do in the future. Whether writing an essay or running a marathon, writing that sentence or taking that step is never an issue; you can always do that. The issue comes when you think about how you still have to write another 5,000 words or run another 10 miles before you’re finished. That’s when you get stressed, overwhelmed, or quit. Focusing on the whole task rather than solely the next step is what leads to the loss of your calmness, effectiveness, and happiness.

It’s the same in SEAL training. Hell Week is five-and-a-half days from Sunday night to Friday morning. Ninety-nine percent of the people who quit during Hell Week quit before Tuesday morning. In a 132-hour crucible, everyone who quits does so in just the first 36 hours! Why? Wouldn’t people be more exhausted, and thus more likely to quit, later in the week?

The reason is the trainees who quit failed to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Interviews with them reveal the same rationale: “I kept thinking about how much time was left, and I didn’t feel I could make it that long.”

All the trainees could do was take the next step—whether one more lunge, one more pushup, or one more minute in the freezing water. They quit because their focus was on so much more than that. They were focused on making it another four or five days without sleep. Because their focus was on such an enormous, brutal undertaking, they became overwhelmed and quit. Even though they could manage what they were doing in the moment, thinking about the enormity of the entire task was too much to handle.

To achieve mental toughness, it is vital to use micro-goals. When faced with adversity, just focus on completing the next little step.

You should absolutely plan for the long-term, but once you’ve finished planning and have begun executing, focus only on the next micro-goal—whether writing one more sentence, doing one more rep, or studying one more fact. Give that micro-goal everything you’ve got. Once you’re done, turn your focus just to the next micro-goal. Rinse and repeat. Never allow your focus to wander beyond the very next step. This applies to work, school, physical training, everything.

You have incredible capabilities, but your mind will quit on you before you reach your potential if you give it the chance. Your brain is programmed to conserve energy and avoid hardship. So, when your mind focuses on all the struggle and energy that will be required to accomplish a challenging goal, it makes you stress, panic, or quit. Don’t give your mind the chance to hijack your goals. Discipline yourself to only focus on the next micro-goal.

Babe Ruth didn’t walk up and hit 714 home runs. He hit one home run. And then another. And another. All those singular efforts added up to an incredible body of work. Babe did things one step at a time, and so must you. Never again set out to do something big. If you’re doing something challenging, focusing on the big picture will harm your calmness, effectiveness, and happiness. You should only set out to do the very next step. And then the next one. As long as you have a thoughtful plan, those little steps will add up to something meaningful.

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Onward.

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