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Mar 22

Mental Toughness Part 3: Embrace Discomfort

Hiking through rain and hail is no one’s ideal weekend, yet those were the conditions competitors faced last year. This type of weather was a first for the Endeavor Team Challenge and really threw a wrench in some teams’ plans. The difference between the teams that maintained their composure and those whose nerves became fried was how they handled the discomfort – those who embraced it were able to excel through the difficulties.

Embracing discomfort is a mental trait that does more than just acknowledge a challenge. It means recognizing and accepting the unpleasant nature of it knowing that resistance is counter productive – the challenge must be completed regardless, so any energy not expended reaching the goal is wasted effort. It reframes the experience and even goes as far as to celebrate the difficulty of the task at hand since a positive attitude will make it easier to surmount.

The Endeavor Team Challenge is going to be tough and anyone with an idea to the contrary will be shocked into reality quickly. Discomfort is woven into the very nature of the event because if competing were comfortable, the reward and the sense of satisfaction for completing this monumental task would be severely diminished to the point that any generic obstacle run could be a substitute.

The discomfort you face will come in many forms. You might feel it when your poor job of waterproofing your gear has left you with soggy clothes to hike in. It might be when you get blisters on your feet from having to navigate miles of rocky, poorly-kept, 4-wheel drive trails. It could be that your pack is rubbing wrong on your shoulders or you’re cramping from all the movement. These sensations have the potential to derail your mission of getting to the finish line by fraying nerves and providing reasons to quit. Your job is to set your expectations appropriately beforehand, accept the discomfort, embrace it, and get through it.

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