#112 Staying Calm in the Face of Panic | Rich Diviney

#112 Staying Calm in the Face of Panic | Rich Diviney

Everywhere you turn in today’s world, there’s a reason to panic. Navy SEALs are trained to stay calm in the face of panic. In fact, they do their most meticulous thinking when panic kicks in. What if we all tried to do the same?

WELCOME TO THE DARIN OLIEN SHOW

Rich Diviney has been a Navy SEAL for 20 years. He knows a thing or two about staying calm.

As a Navy SEAL who completed more than 13 overseas deployments, Rich was trained in some of the most tactical techniques in the world. Eleven of those deployments were in Iraq and Afghanistan. So if anyone knows anything about staying calm in the face of panic, it’s him.

Today, Rich draws upon his decades of military experience to help others implement practical tactics in their life. These techniques touch on the struggles we all have – anxiety, depression, doubt, and even PTSD. After retiring from the Navy SEALs in 2017, this former Commanding Officer works as a speaker, facilitator and Consultant with the Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute, as well Simon Sinek Inc. His latest book, The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance helps you master your attributes and discover how you can fit inside a team, show up for others and handle stress, challenge and uncertainty.

Rich and I had this amazing conversation sitting under a 300-year-old oak tree on my property. It was the perfect setting for all of the powerful wisdom he dropped on me. And let me tell you, this guy has some pretty incredible takes on how to handle stress. I mean, he’s a freaking Navy SEAL, so he has the utmost authority on this subject, right? But the truth is, you don’t have to be a military veteran to understand stress, anxiety and heartache. These are universal themes in all of our lives, especially now. And Rich understands this, so he wanted to use certain aspects of his training and experience to help us all kick ass at life. This guy has certainly walked the walk, so let’s all listen to him talk the talk.

ALSO IN THIS EPISODE:
  • [00:05:50] Why Rich joined the Marines
  • [00:11:00] Calming down instead of panic
  • [00:14:42] Understanding the purpose of fear
  • [00:20:27] Setting goals
  • [00:30:10] Healing from PTSD
  • [00:36:11] The inspiration for Rich’s book
  • [00:46:50] How to discover your dormant attributes

Episode Transcript

Darin: You are listening to the Darin Olien Show. I’m Darin. I spent the last 20 years devoted to improving health, protecting the environment, and finding ways to live a more sustainable life. In this podcast, I have honest conversations with people that inspire me. I hope that through their knowledge and unique perspectives they’ll inspire you too. We talk about all kinds of topics, from amping up your diets to improving your well-being to the mind-blowing stories behind the human experience and the people that are striving to save us and our incredible planet. We even investigate some of life’s fatal conveniences, those things that we are told might be good for us but totally aren’t. So here’s to making better choices in the small tweaks in your life that amount to big changes for you and the people around you and the planet. Let’s do this. This is my show, the Darin Olien Show.

Darin: Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. This is Darin Olien. This is The Darin Olien Show. What’s going on? How are you doing? How’s everybody? What’s shaking? How’s the family? How’s your health? How’s your life? If it’s not working for you, dig in, hook in, meditate, journal, write down your goals, change it. And my next guest is probably one of the most adaptive people that you will ever know or get to know that is a Navy Seal. So Rich Diviney, 20 years as a Navy SEAL officer, over 13 overseas deployments, 11 of which were Iraq and Afghanistan. So yes, he lost friends, people were permanently changed as a result of going to Iraq and, of course, Afghanistan, now more than ever, pretty intense. So his career has multiple leadership positions. He was actually commanding officer of the Navy SEAL’s command. So he took retirement in early 2017, and now he works. He facilitates, he consults some of the top people. He is an incredible guy. I just had an amazing conversation with him because sometimes you think you know what a navy SEAL is or how they think, or whatever, actually, I’ve gotten to meet a handful of Navy SEALs, trained with them, and got to know many some as friends. And Rich, what I found is very empathetic. He had a calm, he had a strength, and a worldview that was really enriching to be around. And as someone who has protected us for our freedoms, for our liberty, and to know that he’s commanding in this way to have a worldview of not just going out and taking out people and all of that stuff that is actually thoughtful, and aware, and inquisitive. And that’s the thing about Navy Seals, they are trained to adapt, and we talked about it. We talked about instead of getting amped up and getting angry or emotional, that the more things amp up around them, the calmer they get so that you still maintain the space, the awareness, so you can take in all things, all bits of information, and make the most positive choices and adapt. So from this conversation, you can take in this information and apply to your own life. And I know you’re gonna love Rich. I know you’re going to gain some insight from this conversation. I know I did. We sat under an amazing oak tree on my property in person, eye to eye. And once we were done with the podcast, another hour went by, and I wish I didn’t turn the mic off because we just dove into it. And I really walked away going, that’s a friend, that’s an ally, that’s a brother right there. So I know you’re gonna love Rich as I do. So open your hearts, open your minds, open your awareness to my new friend, the powerful Navy SEAL officer and commander, Rich Diviney.

Darin: Dude, thank you for coming out. For everyone who obviously can’t see this, we’re under an oak tree on my property, and it’s such a great space to just, especially in this case, listen to some Navy SEAL stories.

Rich: It’s awesome. I tell you, this is great. I mean, it’s shady. It’s perfect weather. So yeah, thanks for having me.

Darin: Yeah, this is a 300-year-old oak tree that likes to listen in. So man, let’s just start off with the career. I mean, full-on Navy SEAL, the best of the best. When in command of the Navy SEALs, like a career guy essentially, 13 deployments.

Rich: Yeah, 13 or so. You lose count after a while. You wonder, it’s like, was that a deployment or was that just like, I mean, it was like a blowout but I don’t know if it’s a deployment. I don’t know if it counts.

Darin: Just out of curiosity, I didn’t think I was even gonna ask this, but what started you wanting to go down that path?

Rich: It was an interesting evolution. Growing up, my dad was a private pilot. So he used to take us flying. And I have a twin brother, and then a younger brother, an older sister. And my twin brother and I–

Darin: Twin twin?

Rich: Twin twin, like identical. We loved it and we just were sold. And we were like, man, flying is awesome. And so we obviously said, well, where can we fly like fast jets? And so it was either the Air Force or the Navy. And the Navy guys, they would land on ships. And I was like, well, that’s really cool. We grew up by the ocean in Connecticut so we love water. So the fact that you could combine water, and there was always a theory, if you joined the Navy, you’ll always be on a base near the water, whereas Air Force bases are in the middle of nowhere. So from the time we were probably six or seven years old, we were bent on being Navy pilots and knew all the specs and jets and all that stuff. And it was actually after the first Gulf War, I was in high school, so it was like ’90, there was an article that came out that was about all the Special Operations Forces. And so it outlined this with the course of 8 or 10 pages, all the different spec ops units. So the Green Berets, the Navy SEALs, the Air Force, PJ, CCTs. And I noticed when I was looking at this magazine that it was peppered with maybe 25 pictures of all these guys in different environments, water, snow. And I was noticing out of the 25 pictures, 20 of them were SEALS, they were just in different environments. And this whole sea-air land thing, it was like these guys do everything, that was cool. And of course, they were basically the frogman like they were from the water, and I was just a water rep growing up as a kid. So I was like, oh, that’s really cool. They make the water their home, which is like, that’s pretty audacious and of course, the challenge. It was like very few people made it through. And so my brother and I ended up going to Purdue University, and I got into an ROTC, he ended up going Marine Corps but through a different pathway. And it ultimately came down to me saying to myself, I said, well, I know I can be a pilot, but I wonder if I could be a SEAL. I didn’t want to be a pilot and look over at the seals and wonder if I could do it. So I just chose it and got selected, that’s the first hard part coming out of college, and then found myself on the beaches of SEAL training.

Darin: What was the selection process?

Rich: So SEALs, most people don’t know this, but most SEALs are enlisted sailors. And then you have a small portion that are officers. The officers are the ones who [00:07:54] and the commanding officers, things like that. Obviously, the unique thing about SEAL training is the officer enlisted go through together side by side. And we all wear the same pin. In other facets of the military, the enlisted pin is usually silver and the officer is gold but the SEAL teams are like, hey, we’re all going through the same training, we’re all kind of in this together. And so the officer pathway was basically, the Navy would say okay, out of all the ROTC units of guys who are applying, we’re going to take a certain number. And I think the year I applied, they only took maybe I think 11 people from all the ROTC units. And then, of course, they take a bunch from the Naval Academy and then some from Officer Candidate School. So you show up and what’s neat I found about showing up to SEAL training is as soon as you step on the beaches of San Diego of Coronado, everything that you’ve done, everything in your past, every aspect of who you are and where you came from doesn’t matter anymore. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, what sport you played, what your grades were, what color you are, nothing matters. They’re basically going to put you, they’re going to take you down to sub-zero and see if you have what it takes. It’s the purest selection I’ve ever experienced, and probably one of the purists in the world. I say I loved it. It was tough, right? You certainly love it in retrospect, but I knew when I was there when I’d see the super athletic dudes, I knew it didn’t matter because you can only do so many pushups. No matter how perfect you are or cold, it’s not gonna help your cold.

Darin: What’s gonna happen between the ears.

Rich: Yeah. And it was very common that some of the super hyper athletic dudes or the division one athletes, they would be the first to quit because they weren’t, I don’t know why, I don’t want to judge anybody, but if somehow you just need more, you need that grit, you need the ability to think through and power through.

Darin: You know, it’s interesting. So I have a little run with some SEALs in a delightful but challenging way. So up at Laird’s Place in the pool, we’d have a bunch of guys that would show up over time, some of the instructors and stuff. Over the years and there are many other special forces guys, but probably I met 15 or 20. All of them would kind of tell them, hey, we’re gonna do this thing. All of them, even though they may not have gotten it right away the first time, they’re kind of chuckling under this extreme situation, and then you see them figuring out, and then they’ll do it, and then for the most part, starts surpassing you. You know, I did it for 15 years. So that was like, from my perspective, just literally the science of one observing those different people. You’re like, oh, and you can’t look at a figure. You can’t look at someone and figure any of that out. And so you’re like, oh, yeah.

Rich: It’s all internal. It’s funny, I worked out with Laird and Gabby this morning. So I was just in the pool this morning, I was thinking about it because you get these weights and you recognize you’re going down to the bottom, and then you have to push off, a couple of the exercises, and then push off and go up and take a breath. And you immediately, someone who’s experienced or knows the water knows that the calmer you are and the more efficient your motion, the more oxygen you’ll save. So in fact as you’re getting more panicked because your CO2 buildup is happening, the key is to calm down more. So panic equals calm down more. And it’s funny, I think that’s the commonality. I always joke in my neighborhood, I live in Virginia Beach, and in my neighborhood, I have a SEAL who lives across the street from me. I have a SEAL who lives down to the right, and one down to the left. So we have a pretty good safe neighborhood. But my wife once said, she said, I’m really glad these guys are around because if you weren’t around, and anything happened, if I needed them, I know I could go to them, and they act like you act. And I said, what do you mean? She said, well, as soon as something happens that’s like panicky or bad, you all immediately calm down. You calm down and start thinking through and working the problem. And I think this is what the training vets out, first of all, because you can’t make it through the initial parts of the training without having a little bit of that internal to you. But then it gets hyper developed. I mean, you just learn over time as you just continually put yourself into stressful situations that calming down and thinking is the way forward. And I think it’s a technique that you perfect. I always call SEALs kind of the masters of uncertainty because that’s really the job. People think it’s this mythology of guys kicking doors, and they’re great shots and all that stuff. It’s all skills. SEALs do all of that. But what seals really are, they’re masters of uncertainty and I would say spec ops. Whether it’s Green Berets or other guys, they have an ability to be dropped into an environment that’s deeply dynamic and uncertain and begin to figure it out, and that’s the game.

Darin: I can only imagine you gather as much intelligence as you can. But as you know very well as in life, which will translate into, I can’t wait to get into your book, once you’re on the ground, no one from anywhere else can really understand what’s going on other than the guys who are actually there.

Rich: Yeah, and it’s actually even positions. This is why the team comes in. So they mesh together so well because even in an environment of deep complexity and uncertainty, almost every position of that team is going to be experiencing and understanding a different piece of that environment, which is why you begin to move and learn how to move like a flock of birds. You begin to lean on the person who has the most up-to-date and the most useful information in the moment. And then it’ll switch like that, and someone else will. So everybody’s dialed into immediately understand and assess the environment. This is in fact how it happens. I mean, you immediately calm yourself down. So you bring your frontal lobe back online, and you start asking questions. And I think this is a process that we do unconsciously, or we do just without thinking. But the first thing you say is, what about all of this uncertainty do I understand? And you immediately make that list however small? They say, okay, from that list, what can I control in this moment? And then you move towards that. And then as soon as you make those movements, you get a different picture, and you ask again. So this is exactly how you actually step through this uncertainty and challenge or stress.

Darin: Obviously translates to anyone, anywhere in any circumstance. We can even say, I mean, fucking uncertainty in the global world right now. Like, whoa. And it’s funny. I just did an Instagram Live, and I didn’t even know what I was going to talk about. But then I started like, just for my own mental health, obviously, you got to gather information. And where the hell do you get that reliable information anymore?

Rich: It is hard to come by.

Darin: Unbelievable. We have access to information but now it’s all unreliable. I use all lightly, but how do you assess it? How do you lean on that? You don’t know them, you don’t really know them, but you think you know them and all this shit. So as a person even listening to this, that’s why fear is so bloody neutering.

[00:14:42] Understanding the purpose of fear

Rich: It is but also we have to understand about fear that fear is actually designed to get us moving. It’s designed to–

Darin: It’s a propeller.

Rich: It’s a propeller. I mean, it’s designed to get us up. And anxiety and stress, it’s all designed to– when we’re hungry, we get anxious and stressed. It’s designed to get us up and finding food. When we’re lonely, it’s designed to get us up to find companionship. And so interestingly enough, fear, ultimately what has to happen to step through fear because again, courage cannot exist in the absence of fear and that’s neurologically been proven. Fear is really, ultimately a combination of two elements. It’s a combination of uncertainty plus anxiety. You can have either one of those without being fearful. So you can be anxious but not uncertain. I’m going to give a presentation to my boss or something next week, and I know exactly what the presentation is. And I know my boss. I’m just a little anxious, but I’m not uncertain, everything is certain. There’s no fear there. You can be uncertain, but not anxious. That’s every kid on Christmas Eve. There’s no fear there. As soon as you combine the two, then the fear starts to kick in. Our amygdala starts to get engaged. We start to approach this decision point. And it’s the fight or flight decision point. Now, the scientists have kind of proven that there’s not really a freeze. The freeze is neurologically defined as an oscillation between the two, it’s a choice. It’s a point at which you’re pausing to decide which one to do, fight and flight. And then, of course, every time we choose to fight, we step into our fear, we get a reward, we get a dopamine reward because it’s designed. Again, as humans, nature needed a way to design us to go and explore and find and seek. We needed to go find food, find shelter. So we need to have a reward system that encouraged us to step into our fear. But ultimately, the way we buy down our fear is we buy down either one of those components or both. Ultimately, to deal with uncertainty, you need to buy down the anxiety first because when your anxiety is upgrading and uptaking, your frontal lobe is starting to go offline, starting to take a backseat. And so to deal with our anxiety, we understand that anxiety is all internal. We create our own anxiety, it’s internal, which means the good news, we can deal with that with internal mechanisms, breath, vision. We can start shifting ourselves through breath through visual techniques, through visualization. There’s a bunch of stuff out there to help deal with anxiety to begin to bring our frontal lobe back online. Once that frontal lobe begins to come back online, we can then deal with the uncertainty. Uncertainty is all external, which means now we have to ask questions about our environment, but it has to be cogent questions that we then can answer. So the question and processes I just laid out, what do I know about this environment and what can I control in the moment? That’s your way of stepping through the uncertainty part. But you have to deal with some of that anxiety first. When people are in professions or in recreational activities that consistently throw themselves into uncertainty, they practice this without knowing it. And I think surfing is one of those things, I think MMA. Fighting is the one sport is kind of rife with that type of decision-making process. You’re constantly adapting. You’re constantly reading the environment, rereading the environment, making adjustments. You can have a plan, but your plan really is I’m going to adapt as I go. Or you’re in a profession whether it’s military or firefighting or anything uncertain. The key is for most humans because life is going to throw this at us, if we understand how to break it down, then we can effectively start more deliberately moving through it when something like COVID hits, and we have to start performing.

Darin: A lot of people are in fear. Obviously, you’re making choices, you’re trying to decide, you’re getting coerced into whatever direction. What do you think people can do to keep empowered and keep moving forward? Obviously, take care of your house, your body, your family, everything else. Anyway, I know it’s a huge question.

Rich: It is and I’ll give it a try. I mean, again, I think it’s highly subjective. 

[00:20:27] Setting goals

Rich: It was an interesting evolution. Growing up, my dad was a private pilot. So he used to take us flying. And I have a twin brother, and then a younger brother, an older sister. And my twin brother and I–

Darin: Twin twin?

Rich: Twin twin, like identical. We loved it and we just were sold. And we were like, man, flying is awesome. And so we obviously said, well, where can we fly like fast jets? And so it was either the Air Force or the Navy. And the Navy guys, they would land on ships. And I was like, well, that’s really cool. We grew up by the ocean in Connecticut so we love water. So the fact that you could combine water, and there was always a theory, if you joined the Navy, you’ll always be on a base near the water, whereas Air Force bases are in the middle of nowhere. So from the time we were probably six or seven years old, we were bent on being Navy pilots and knew all the specs and jets and all that stuff. And it was actually after the first Gulf War, I was in high school, so it was like ’90, there was an article that came out that was about all the Special Operations Forces. And so it outlined this with the course of 8 or 10 pages, all the different spec ops units. So the Green Berets, the Navy SEALs, the Air Force, PJ, CCTs. And I noticed when I was looking at this magazine that it was peppered with maybe 25 pictures of all these guys in different environments, water, snow. And I was noticing out of the 25 pictures, 20 of them were SEALS, they were just in different environments. And this whole sea-air land thing, it was like these guys do everything, that was cool. And of course, they were basically the frogman like they were from the water, and I was just a water rep growing up as a kid. So I was like, oh, that’s really cool. They make the water their home, which is like, that’s pretty audacious and of course, the challenge. It was like very few people made it through. And so my brother and I ended up going to Purdue University, and I got into an ROTC, he ended up going Marine Corps but through a different pathway. And it ultimately came down to me saying to myself, I said, well, I know I can be a pilot, but I wonder if I could be a SEAL. I didn’t want to be a pilot and look over at the seals and wonder if I could do it. So I just chose it and got selected, that’s the first hard part coming out of college, and then found myself on the beaches of SEAL training.

Darin: What was the selection process?

Rich: So SEALs, most people don’t know this, but most SEALs are enlisted sailors. And then you have a small portion that are officers. The officers are the ones who [00:07:54] and the commanding officers, things like that. Obviously, the unique thing about SEAL training is the officer enlisted go through together side by side. And we all wear the same pin. In other facets of the military, the enlisted pin is usually silver and the officer is gold but the SEAL teams are like, hey, we’re all going through the same training, we’re all kind of in this together. And so the officer pathway was basically, the Navy would say okay, out of all the ROTC units of guys who are applying, we’re going to take a certain number. And I think the year I applied, they only took maybe I think 11 people from all the ROTC units. And then, of course, they take a bunch from the Naval Academy and then some from Officer Candidate School. So you show up and what’s neat I found about showing up to SEAL training is as soon as you step on the beaches of San Diego of Coronado, everything that you’ve done, everything in your past, every aspect of who you are and where you came from doesn’t matter anymore. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, what sport you played, what your grades were, what color you are, nothing matters. They’re basically going to put you, they’re going to take you down to sub-zero and see if you have what it takes. It’s the purest selection I’ve ever experienced, and probably one of the purists in the world. I say I loved it. It was tough, right? You certainly love it in retrospect, but I knew when I was there when I’d see the super athletic dudes, I knew it didn’t matter because you can only do so many pushups. No matter how perfect you are or cold, it’s not gonna help your cold.

Darin: What’s gonna happen between the ears.

Rich: Yeah. And it was very common that some of the super hyper athletic dudes or the division one athletes, they would be the first to quit because they weren’t, I don’t know why, I don’t want to judge anybody, but if somehow you just need more, you need that grit, you need the ability to think through and power through.

Darin: You know, it’s interesting. So I have a little run with some SEALs in a delightful but challenging way. So up at Laird’s Place in the pool, we’d have a bunch of guys that would show up over time, some of the instructors and stuff. Over the years and there are many other special forces guys, but probably I met 15 or 20. All of them would kind of tell them, hey, we’re gonna do this thing. All of them, even though they may not have gotten it right away the first time, they’re kind of chuckling under this extreme situation, and then you see them figuring out, and then they’ll do it, and then for the most part, starts surpassing you. You know, I did it for 15 years. So that was like, from my perspective, just literally the science of one observing those different people. You’re like, oh, and you can’t look at a figure. You can’t look at someone and figure any of that out. And so you’re like, oh, yeah.

Rich: It’s all internal. It’s funny, I worked out with Laird and Gabby this morning. So I was just in the pool this morning, I was thinking about it because you get these weights and you recognize you’re going down to the bottom, and then you have to push off, a couple of the exercises, and then push off and go up and take a breath. And you immediately, someone who’s experienced or knows the water knows that the calmer you are and the more efficient your motion, the more oxygen you’ll save. So in fact as you’re getting more panicked because your CO2 buildup is happening, the key is to calm down more. So panic equals calm down more. And it’s funny, I think that’s the commonality. I always joke in my neighborhood, I live in Virginia Beach, and in my neighborhood, I have a SEAL who lives across the street from me. I have a SEAL who lives down to the right, and one down to the left. So we have a pretty good safe neighborhood. But my wife once said, she said, I’m really glad these guys are around because if you weren’t around, and anything happened, if I needed them, I know I could go to them, and they act like you act. And I said, what do you mean? She said, well, as soon as something happens that’s like panicky or bad, you all immediately calm down. You calm down and start thinking through and working the problem. And I think this is what the training vets out, first of all, because you can’t make it through the initial parts of the training without having a little bit of that internal to you. But then it gets hyper developed. I mean, you just learn over time as you just continually put yourself into stressful situations that calming down and thinking is the way forward. And I think it’s a technique that you perfect. I always call SEALs kind of the masters of uncertainty because that’s really the job. People think it’s this mythology of guys kicking doors, and they’re great shots and all that stuff. It’s all skills. SEALs do all of that. But what seals really are, they’re masters of uncertainty and I would say spec ops. Whether it’s Green Berets or other guys, they have an ability to be dropped into an environment that’s deeply dynamic and uncertain and begin to figure it out, and that’s the game.

Darin: I can only imagine you gather as much intelligence as you can. But as you know very well as in life, which will translate into, I can’t wait to get into your book, once you’re on the ground, no one from anywhere else can really understand what’s going on other than the guys who are actually there.

Rich: Yeah, and it’s actually even positions. This is why the team comes in. So they mesh together so well because even in an environment of deep complexity and uncertainty, almost every position of that team is going to be experiencing and understanding a different piece of that environment, which is why you begin to move and learn how to move like a flock of birds. You begin to lean on the person who has the most up-to-date and the most useful information in the moment. And then it’ll switch like that, and someone else will. So everybody’s dialed into immediately understand and assess the environment. This is in fact how it happens. I mean, you immediately calm yourself down. So you bring your frontal lobe back online, and you start asking questions. And I think this is a process that we do unconsciously, or we do just without thinking. But the first thing you say is, what about all of this uncertainty do I understand? And you immediately make that list however small? They say, okay, from that list, what can I control in this moment? And then you move towards that. And then as soon as you make those movements, you get a different picture, and you ask again. So this is exactly how you actually step through this uncertainty and challenge or stress.

Darin: Obviously translates to anyone, anywhere in any circumstance. We can even say, I mean, fucking uncertainty in the global world right now. Like, whoa. And it’s funny. I just did an Instagram Live, and I didn’t even know what I was going to talk about. But then I started like, just for my own mental health, obviously, you got to gather information. And where the hell do you get that reliable information anymore?

Rich: It is hard to come by.

Darin: Unbelievable. We have access to information but now it’s all unreliable. I use all lightly, but how do you assess it? How do you lean on that? You don’t know them, you don’t really know them, but you think you know them and all this shit. So as a person even listening to this, that’s why fear is so bloody neutering.

[00:14:42] Understanding the purpose of fear

Rich: It is but also we have to understand about fear that fear is actually designed to get us moving. It’s designed to–

Darin: It’s a propeller.

Rich: It’s a propeller. I mean, it’s designed to get us up. And anxiety and stress, it’s all designed to– when we’re hungry, we get anxious and stressed. It’s designed to get us up and finding food. When we’re lonely, it’s designed to get us up to find companionship. And so interestingly enough, fear, ultimately what has to happen to step through fear because again, courage cannot exist in the absence of fear and that’s neurologically been proven. Fear is really, ultimately a combination of two elements. It’s a combination of uncertainty plus anxiety. You can have either one of those without being fearful. So you can be anxious but not uncertain. I’m going to give a presentation to my boss or something next week, and I know exactly what the presentation is. And I know my boss. I’m just a little anxious, but I’m not uncertain, everything is certain. There’s no fear there. You can be uncertain, but not anxious. That’s every kid on Christmas Eve. There’s no fear there. As soon as you combine the two, then the fear starts to kick in. Our amygdala starts to get engaged. We start to approach this decision point. And it’s the fight or flight decision point. Now, the scientists have kind of proven that there’s not really a freeze. The freeze is neurologically defined as an oscillation between the two, it’s a choice. It’s a point at which you’re pausing to decide which one to do, fight and flight. And then, of course, every time we choose to fight, we step into our fear, we get a reward, we get a dopamine reward because it’s designed. Again, as humans, nature needed a way to design us to go and explore and find and seek. We needed to go find food, find shelter. So we need to have a reward system that encouraged us to step into our fear. But ultimately, the way we buy down our fear is we buy down either one of those components or both. Ultimately, to deal with uncertainty, you need to buy down the anxiety first because when your anxiety is upgrading and uptaking, your frontal lobe is starting to go offline, starting to take a backseat. And so to deal with our anxiety, we understand that anxiety is all internal. We create our own anxiety, it’s internal, which means the good news, we can deal with that with internal mechanisms, breath, vision. We can start shifting ourselves through breath through visual techniques, through visualization. There’s a bunch of stuff out there to help deal with anxiety to begin to bring our frontal lobe back online. Once that frontal lobe begins to come back online, we can then deal with the uncertainty. Uncertainty is all external, which means now we have to ask questions about our environment, but it has to be cogent questions that we then can answer. So the question and processes I just laid out, what do I know about this environment and what can I control in the moment? That’s your way of stepping through the uncertainty part. But you have to deal with some of that anxiety first. When people are in professions or in recreational activities that consistently throw themselves into uncertainty, they practice this without knowing it. And I think surfing is one of those things, I think MMA. Fighting is the one sport is kind of rife with that type of decision-making process. You’re constantly adapting. You’re constantly reading the environment, rereading the environment, making adjustments. You can have a plan, but your plan really is I’m going to adapt as I go. Or you’re in a profession whether it’s military or firefighting or anything uncertain. The key is for most humans because life is going to throw this at us, if we understand how to break it down, then we can effectively start more deliberately moving through it when something like COVID hits, and we have to start performing.

Darin: A lot of people are in fear. Obviously, you’re making choices, you’re trying to decide, you’re getting coerced into whatever direction. What do you think people can do to keep empowered and keep moving forward? Obviously, take care of your house, your body, your family, everything else. Anyway, I know it’s a huge question.

Rich: It is and I’ll give it a try. I mean, again, I think it’s highly subjective.

But I think part of the solution is to more deliberately set goals and outcomes for yourself that you could control.

Darin: Now more than ever.

Rich: Now more than ever because you’re basically taking control of your environment, whether it’s your health, whether it’s the next thing you want to do at work, whether it’s whatever goal you had, or bucket list item you wanted to achieve, set that goal and move towards it. You take control of your environment, you take control of your own certainty. There’s a lot out there, just because it’s hard to find the truth, which makes it seem scary. What we also have to understand is it’s also not as scary as we think. I’m an optimist. I think people are inherently good. And having been around the world and to some of the kind of worst places, at least situationally, because Afghanistan, by the way, has some of the most beautiful terrains that you’ve ever seen. And the people out there, I mean, I met so many good people. And what I recognize is pretty much 99% of the people on this planet, they just want to do well for themselves and their family. That’s what they want. And so I am a believer in the inherent goodness of humans. And I think that gives me peace. It gives me peace. Now, do I get concerned about conspiracy theories and truth being very hard to find? Sure. But it just means we have to be a little bit more diligent. And I think we have to be more deliberate about okay, I’m hearing this, and it seems to resonate with me, but now let me go proactively find the opposite opinion, and then process that. And then maybe proactively go and find a third opinion and process that we’re so caught up because of the ease of information. We’re so caught up and we get seduced by those news bits that oh, yeah, that I agree with that, and we take that as the truth versus really making a proactive effort to first empathize with people we disagree with and say, okay, what are some of those points, and I think these are things that we can practice and do more proactively.

Darin: I concur with what you said because I was just doing this for myself. I was getting kind of yanked around myself. And I was like, fuck, I’m getting distracted. And yet going back to well, what do I want to create? Get back to like, I know a lot of things, I know a lot of people, I know what I want to do. So just get back to get to work. And that immediately shifts me back and just go okay, yeah, let’s keep doing that. 

Rich: By the way, a great question to ask oneself, if they can’t even figure out a way to kind of do what you just said is, what am I grateful for? Because I tell you what, gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions. Neurobiologically, we get some of the best chemicals in our system made by deep gratitude. And I tell you what, I have friends who lost limbs and they’ve struggled. And these are people who actively think about what to be grateful for. I mean, if they can do it, if you’re walking around and breathing, that’s number one. We move towards what we focus on. And that question, what am I grateful for now is a fast way out of depression. It really is.

Darin: And people even listening to this, it’s an active thing. And we can throw around quotes and we can say this and I really hope people hear this because if you do a gratitude practice every day, oxytocin, epinephrine, all these things yet look in your spouse’s, your children’s eyes, your dog’s eyes, those are chemicals literally being created now, super chemicals.

Rich: DHEA, which is the building block of estrogen and testosterone. I mean, we talked about power foods, that’s like a power emotion, but it has to be real. I mean, it can’t just be gaffed off. I’m grateful for this. You have to feel it. And when you feel it, man, if you feel it, if you do it enough, you’re gonna crave that feeling because it’s so powerful.

Darin: Yeah. And then you walk around in gratitude and then who knows what happens from a quantum reality and magnetism and you can tell someone shows up with a shitty attitude. You’re like, I don’t want to be around this person.

Rich: Yeah, they bad energy. Animals sense this more. We both have German Shepherds. Dogs are like empathy machines. They basically feel and sense the energy around human beings. I mean, you can just tell. We just have to learn from the dogs.

Darin: I have a friend who’s a professional motocross racer, and every once in a while go to a race and see him and I came back from– I got a motorcycle and I’ve ridden on and off all my life. And he was a little saucy. And someone came by, I was gone all day, and took care of Chaga. And then when I got back, I just missed him. And so I took him out. Let’s run at dusk. I take him, I buzz around the property on a motorcycle and run him six times a day. But I was feeling a little saucy on the bike and the motorcycle and I just kind of whipped around and handlebar of the entire way to the bike where it landed on my foot. So I broke my foot. I’ve never seen something swell so fast. I was like holy shit. I was worried because one of my metatarsal, it hit it and then my foot, one of my toes become white. And I was like, fuck, is it gonna burst? So anyway, long story short, I was fucking hurt, broken toe, smashed the metatarsal, and I was hobbling as you know a toe and you can’t even fucking walk. So I’m hobbling around two and a half days later Chaga wakes up, can’t walk. Out of nowhere, I ran him the night before, and all I’m hearing at four in the morning is clunk, clunk. I’m like what the fuck is going on? And I’m looking, he literally can’t walk. And he’s not even used to walking on three limbs. So he’s like all fucked up. Sorry for swearing for everyone. But for the next– he’s not small. And I’m messed up, but he literally can’t walk yet. So I’m picking him up, take him and walking him down, taking a pee, all that. So it’s a very beautiful moment because he was literally leaning into me. He can’t walk. I can’t walk. We’re hobbling around together. I swear the vet, there was maybe some swelling in it but to this day, we did x-rays, we have no idea, zero idea. The vet didn’t have a clue. We don’t know what. And so there was some sort of empathic.

Rich: There is. Animal sense energy. We know that. Every hunter knows that. I mean, everybody out there who knows nature knows that. I mean, every pet owner knows that. We have a cat and a dog and if anybody in the household is crying, both animals will immediately find their way to that person. It’s incredible. It really is. Well, humans are wired for empathy anyway. If anybody doesn’t believe it, just go to a nursery and watch how one baby will start crying and all the rest will start crying. We’re wired to do it. A lot of us use our top-down controller, frontal lobe to suppress that limbic response. And the idea is open that up a little bit, try to really feel what others are feeling. Again, true empathy doesn’t mean you have to agree with the person. I was overseas, used to get sometimes teenagers like 14 or 15-year-old kids trying to shoot rockets at convoys, either US convoys or Iraqi convoys. And of course, it wouldn’t end well, which is always tragic. They’re kids with these rockets. And then I remember at one point, sitting with some of my guys, and we saw one of these situations go down and we started talking about it. We said you know what, let’s just think about this for a second. This is a 15-year-old kid. He’s in a war-torn country. He’s not going to school. He doesn’t have friends he can go party with. His dad’s probably gone, so he’s taking care of his mom and sisters. There’s no release anywhere. There’s no dating. There’s nothing. There are no sports to release that testosterone. Well, one day, some dudes come and say, hey, we’ll give you 100 dinar to go shoot a rocket at a convoy. Well, every single one of us to a man said we would be that kid. We would have all been that kid. So again, you’re not agreeing with the act, but you certainly can empathize with why the act is going down. I think we need more of that in this country, certainly, but around the world.

Darin: I mean, it’s such a good point that’s really come down to you’re really trying to take care of yourself and your family. It really comes down to that and or you’re just yourself in this case. It’s too easy to just judge. I use this term fatal convenience. It’s a convenient way, it’s convenient to be angry at everybody. It’s not productive, it doesn’t help move anything, but I love that you were in that situation, and you actually were able to step back, and even have that conversation in that moment, freaking wrestling with that, too. And at the same time, you’re dealing with they’re gonna kill us.

Rich: Yeah, and again, it doesn’t change what you have to do, but it makes you understand it in a deeper way because I think that’s what it takes. And if you can understand it, you can do your job with more empathy, even if it’s a military job and it matters. It matters especially in the military sense. It matters in the context of staying human while you do a job where your job is to sometimes take life. So yeah, I think it’s important. It’s a massive responsibility to be in a job where your job is to take life. And part of that responsibility, I think, I’ve always thought is to make sure you understand the environment and the people to the greatest extent because if you empathize, you can just do with more knowledge. 

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Darin: It just seems to me, and there’s probably zero data to back this up, but my intuition is just like something about that ability to really have that awareness. It seems to me, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you consciously know the situation, the best of your ability, you’re aware of it, you’re still having to do what you’re having to do, so you’re not shoving it away.

Rich: Right. You’re not compartmentalizing it. Yeah, I would say that in part, I think there were those of us, me included, I remember seeing stuff on the battlefield that was very upsetting. And of course, what you need to do in the moment is put it away because you have a job to do, and you have a mission to complete. But I remember going back and once everything’s done and all the paperwork filed, all the debriefs are done, I remember going and taking time to deliberately mourn that, which I saw.

Rich: And I know guys who did that as well, I think that helps with stemming PTSD. But that said, there are stuff that happens that’s just so traumatic. It’s just ingrained. And the problem really what PTSD ultimately is, is that you’ve lived an event and then it triggers such an intense emotion, that 5-10 years down the road, whatever, a year down the road, just thinking about that brings back those same feelings. So part of the process of being able to heal from PTSD is the ability to detach yourself from the emotion of that trigger in such a way that you can reflect appropriately upon it and say, okay, now can I look at this and ask myself, okay, what about this can I understand more? That detachment process is, in fact, a very difficult process and a process that many people need help doing. Which is why I say, if you are someone who’s gone through anything, it doesn’t matter if you’re military, anything that’s traumatic, and thinking back on it still triggers you and you’re finding it hard to get to that 50,000-foot view where you can look at it very objectively, get help. Get help as soon as possible because there are people who can help doing that. And there are protocols that can help doing that. And there are medicines that can help you do that. So definitely get help because that’s going to be the key reframing that triggers and be the key to be able to reflect appropriately and get over that.

Darin: Yeah, that’s huge. Do you think for you that it kind of was something that you intuited, or you just needed to do for you? Or was that a process that they offered to you?

Rich: It was absolutely not a process that they offered. I mean, military is doing a lot better nowadays helping people with PTSD. But let’s just be honest, when you’re doing a job like that, and it could be military, it could be fighting a fire, it could be being a first responder, it’s tough. You have to go through these moments. You’re going to see stuff. So yeah, I think for me, and for the guys who I talked to who did it as well, maybe it was more empathy on our part, maybe we were just a little bit more empathetic. So we needed to process it. I know if you saw things with kids as a father, immediately, you’re breaking those relations. And so I knew that I had to get through that. But again, I don’t think it’s a natural thing, which is why it should be discussed. There should be resources. And again, I should say the military is doing a much better job now in providing those resources. It’s more now to make sure people know, there are resources, there are people that can help, so go find those people who can help you.

Darin: In the military, it’s so intense, that you’re like, yeah, we need to deal with that. And in fact, it’s going on just being in this reality all the time, abuse and challenges. I just had one of my dearest friends and brothers that I’ve known for 30 years, we rode motorcycles with him in Colorado, and he just, 14 months ago, got in a motorcycle accident and lost his leg. And so the first time he was out of Colorado and challenging himself, he’s got a 17-year-old son. So getting used to the prosthetic, and it’s intense. It’s something we all have to deal with.

Rich: Life is going to throw us stuff. I mean, it’s gonna throw stuff at us whether we want it or not, that’s life. And so to understand what it is, to understand maybe some ideas, some tools with which you can apply to these situations. Listen, we just got out of a year and in some cases, we’re still kind of in the back end of the wave on it that was deeply uncertain. And so for all of us was like, oh my gosh, all of us were kind of deep in uncertainty and anxiety. We didn’t know what the hell’s going on, how long it’s gonna last and you’re like, okay. And so we can in fact autopsy our performance during the last year and say, okay, how did I perform? How did I show up? What are those things I need to work on? And where can I better prepare myself for the next wave I don’t see coming because it will come.

Darin: So Attributes, I love that title. I was like, okay, let’s get into this. So I’m very curious about the book because your ability to reflect with something that’s super intense, and also to apply that. We’ve been talking about things that people can apply. So why did you decide to do a book? And what are some of those highlights of those attributes that you may have?

Rich: So I love thinking about stuff. 

I mean, I do my best thinking actually in nature. I go for runs in the woods and no music, no clock, just me, my brain. And I think about things. And I love deconstructing things to better understand why they work. I like getting down to the elements. And specifically, I’m really into what I kind of call elemental human performance, like who are we at our most raw because really, that’s the environment inside of which I lived through SEAL training, all that stuff. It’s about who you are at your most wrong. There’s a bunch of guys, military guys and gals who write books, and obviously, there’s a ton of SEAL books out there. Many will say too many. I knew I didn’t want to write a SEAL book. Most of the books out there seem to approach the process with the question, how are SEALs different from everybody else? Because it’s an interesting question. I didn’t want to ask that. I wanted to reverse the question. I wanted to ask, how are seals the same as everybody else? Because by reversing it, I could then humanize it, and then make it more ubiquitous. And so I was running a selection training course for one of our elite SEAL commands. So it wasn’t basic, it was one of our elite ones, and so it was a whole separate thing. And I was tasked with and running this. This is a course where you’d have experienced SEALs come and go through this course, and about 50% would not make it. They’ve been SEALs for at least 6 to 10 years, they’ve already been to combat, and so they’re not making it through. And so to tell them, I’m sorry, you can’t shoot very well or worse, it’s not enough. I mean, it’s just like, it’s stupid. And so I took over training. My commanding officer’s like, hey, Rich, let’s think about this. Let’s try to articulate this a little bit better. And what I needed to do is kind of look back at basic SEAL training or basic SEAL training BUD/S, basic underwater demolition/SEAL training, six months long in Coronado, known as some of the toughest terrains in the world, 90% attrition rate. And I know in BUD/S, you spend hundreds of hours running around with boats on your head, and hundreds of hours PT-ing through telephone poles and running around those things and [00:35:46] the surf zone. And I kind of thought about it, I was like, okay, I’ve been on hundreds of combat missions overseas. And never on one did I carry a boat on my head or a telephone pole on my shoulder. SEAL training is actually not very accurate. They’re not training us to be SEALs. What they’re doing is they’re putting us through situations to draw out these qualities that are different than skills. And so I had to separate skills and attributes. And just so real quick, skills, they’re not inherent to our nature. We’re not born with the ability to throw a ball or shoot a gun or ride a bike. We can teach those. We can be taught those. Skills dictate our behavior in known and specific environments. So here’s how and when to throw a ball or ride a bike or shoot a gun. And then as such, they’re very easy to see and assess and measure and test. You can see how well anybody does one of those things. They can be scored. You can put stats around them. You can put them on resumes. So this is why most hiring processes make the mistake of focusing only on skills because they’re easy. They’re the easy button. What skills don’t tell us, however, is how we’re going to show up when the environment gets stressful and uncertain and challenging because it’s very, very difficult, if not impossible to apply a known skill to an unknown environment. This is when we lean on our attributes. These are our innate qualities. Things like situational awareness, patience, adaptability. So they’re innate. We’re born with them. Certainly, they develop over time and experience, but they also don’t dictate or direct behavior, they inform behavior. So my son’s levels of perseverance and resilience informed the way he showed up when he was learning the skill of riding a bike, and he was falling off a dozen times. And then because they’re hidden in the background, they’re very hard to assess, measure and test. It was hard to see right away. You can see them the most visibly and viscerally during times of challenge, uncertainty, and stress, which made the laboratory I was in pretty neat. And so I started exploring this concept when I was doing that training and then got out of Navy several years later. And I recognize I was speaking about high-performing teams and talking to corporations and businesses. They were like, well, talk to us about dream teams because we’re putting together dream teams that are not working out, the best marketer, the best sales rep. And it’s working out maybe for a day or two, but as soon as things go sideways, seriously, the plan doesn’t go as we thought, the team starts turning toxic. And I said well, the answer is simple because you’re selecting your team based on the wrong criteria. You’re selecting based on skills. So attributes are these qualities and the book, I basically break down the 25 attributes for optimal performance. Basically, I made a list. I took the list I made while I was in the teams, and took out the very SEAL-esque ones, and said, okay, how is this the same as everybody? What are the ones in life that we could use? And then broke them into five categories. So what are the attributes that make up grit, for example, because people think of grit as its own singular attribute, but it’s not? It’s actually a combination of attributes. And so that case, it’s a combination of courage, adaptability, perseverance, and resilience. Those four things baked and catalyzed and stood up, the result is grit. And grit speaks to that ability to kind of move through those acute challenges. Can I press on? Can I push through? Gut it out? What are the attributes that make up mental acuity, which is how our brains process the world, situation awareness, compartmentalization, task switching, and learnability? That’s how we’re taking in information, from that information, we’re deciding what I need to focus on, what’s the priority, what I need to focus on, how I’m switching in between focus points. So going from this to that, and how efficiently I can do that. And then how all of that is getting absorbed and metabolized into my brain, how fast am I learning that? And then drive, whereas great speaks to that acute challenge, drive is like the long term. What are those things that make up that overall ability to set and pursue and achieve long-term goals that take a while? What are those attributes that can contribute to that? And so those are self-efficacy, open-mindedness, discipline, cutting, and narcissism. And yes, narcissism is one.

Darin: A little splash.

Rich: Yeah, a little splash of narcissism, then of course, leadership. What are the attributes that make up great leadership because leadership, again, is not a position, it’s a behavior? I always joke, you can’t self-designate as a leader, you can’t call yourself a leader. That’s like calling yourself good-looking or funny. Other people decide whether–

Darin: Calling you the goat or something.

Rich: No, you don’t get to call yourself that. Other people decide whether or not they want to follow you, whether or not you’re someone they want to follow. And they do that based on the way you behave. So these behaviors are empathy, selflessness, accountability, authenticity, and decisiveness. And then team ability, what are those attributes that make them great at teamwork and team play working with others? And those are integrity, conscientiousness, humility, and humor. So I break down usually one of the attributes. And the idea is the reader based so they can read that and say, okay, where do I sit on the scale. So the good news is all of us have all the attributes. The difference in each one of us are the levels to which we have each. So an example would be on adaptability of 10 as high and 1 as low. I’m probably a level 8 on adaptability, which means when the environment changes around me outside of my control, I can go with the flow. It’s pretty easy for me to just flex and move and go with the flow. Someone else may be a level 3, which means when the same thing happens to them, it’s difficult for them, it’s painful. They are still adaptable because human beings are, it’s just more painful. So if we were to line up all the attributes dimmer switches on the wall, we all have different points. And the key is really not that you need a ton of all of them, that’s impossible. It’s really just figuring out what’s your engine looks like. And then you can better understand your performance. You can actually autopsy your performance as last year. Okay, wait a second, that’s why I was so upset and nervous because the environment was changing and I’m low on adaptability. Okay, that’s why I was so relaxed because I was like, okay, we’ll just do this thing. I’ll wear a mask. No, I’m okay with that. Let’s go with it. So that’s what I do in the book, I talk about that and it’s not a SEAL book. It’s really a book that’s about the reader, and of course, I sprinkle some SEAL stuff in there but I also sprinkle examples from all different facets of life because, again, it’s about how our SEAL is the same as everybody else thought and how are we different.

Darin: Yeah, exactly. You’re going from a very acute intense situation that we’re all– it’s all relative.

Rich: It really is.

Darin: So you can show up to someone freaking out as intense that hit in the level 10 and you out of experience is like I’ve been at level 10.

Rich: Or I can say I am so comfortable in the water, that’s a good example. I can be in pitch-black water and I’m comfortable. So I’ve been in water that has sharks everywhere. And my level of stress was probably a 2 or 3, whereas someone else just like talking in front of 2 or 3 people, they’re at level 9. So the environment doesn’t matter. The stress shows up contextually to that human being and this is where we begin to start understanding ourselves so I think it’s important.

Darin: I think that’s so much the key. It’s like that principle of you don’t get out of jail free in this world. You’re gonna get hit. How are you gonna respond? How are you gonna have self-reflection? And if you are self-reflected, then you’re gonna at least understand more of these attributes. And so that you can respond next time. Laird always says speed and take chances. He says that all the time.

Rich: I mean, life is getting hit. I mean, the juice of life, the juice of learning and experience is from those hits. So ultimately, I do recognize there are some hits that many of us would just rather not have, but a lot of the hits that we get, we should welcome them. They’re the juice and the learning points that we need to develop. I think every single person listening to this, every single human being can say I am who I am because of what’s happened to me, because of the things I’ve been through. And I guarantee that not all of them are good. Most people would say no, actually, most of them are bad. So we just have to accept that that’s part of life.

Darin: Well, it’s funny because most people listening to this have heard the story, but this tree is black and if you look mostly these trees are black. When I came back in 2019, this whole place was destroyed, which is why this is a yurt and the footprint of the whole house is what it is and I’m resurrecting a greenhouse in the middle of it. I wasn’t expecting that obviously. I lost everything, trucks and motorcycles and sheds and houses and everything. My dad was a keeper of the dragon of the atomic bomb in the Cuban missile crisis.

Rich: Interesting.

Darin: Yeah, so he had that little thing. Of course, his thyroid was gone but he was fine essentially for a while. And so I lost all those memorabilia and all of that stuff and just using what you’re saying is of course, did I want that to happen? Hell no. But I literally won’t give it back because of the extraction of the hot water that it put me in. The compounds of my character–

Rich: Which becomes a result.

Darin: Exactly, and then I was like this is actually the very thing that I want to put in the world, create a different house that is more adaptive to a fire zone and earthquakes, and instead of using trees, we have a lot of other materials that are cooler and better and better for the environment. And then there are other alternatives to power. So my whole thing, dude, went to sovereignty, water, power, food, shelter, freedom of choice. That event solidified even deeper these qualities that I have that now I’m a dog with a bone. I’m not stopping.

Rich: What it also might have done is I talk about what I would call kind of those hidden attributes. 

I call them dormant attributes. Those are the attributes that we actually have a lot of but we don’t know we have them because we’ve never been put into a situation that has teased those out. But then we get thrown into something and like holy shit, look at what this brought out in me. And so I was just offering, anybody who is listening, anybody who has a story in their life that can end with a statement “I didn’t know I had it in me” is probably a story of a dormant attribute coming out that they didn’t know they had. You probably found a few attributes in you that you didn’t know you had and now you know. It’s like okay, cool.

Darin: Hundred percent. And many of them probably became a leading attribute at this point. And so that’s why I say it and it’s a great way to say it, there’s no way I would want to give that back. So if you look at life just from, hey, these are things happening, well, what actually happened was me coming out in a much deeper, bigger, stronger way. I’m like, why the fuck would I ever want to change that? But at the same time, I’m on a tractor a month later shoveling my house that was destroyed and you grieve through that and you go through that. So yeah, you deal with stuff but what’s really left, what’s really there is parts of yourself. It’s like that’s so valuable, man.

Rich: That’s gold. And I would say this because it’s important that we make this point is that the grieving process is required. Because to be able to effectively reflect and ask the questions you asked which were things like, okay, what can I do instead, how can I create something new, all that stuff. You can’t do that from a place of deep emotion, and this is what PTSD needs to be taken care of, but we have to allow ourselves the time, the recovery to allow the emotions to dissipate enough so that when we ask those questions, we can ask them in an objective way and get really quality powerful answers. And that’s why a ton of people, if they’ve gone through trauma that they’re really having trouble getting over the emotions of, get help. Because as soon as you get over those emotions, you get to do what you did. You get to ask start asking questions and building anew from that and finding a whole new you. So those 2 processes are very important. One has to come before the other. And if you can do that, man, just like you said, you found gold.

Darin: I’m really glad you said that because I think in this culture in this way, we haven’t really learned how to grieve. Hell, when someone dies or passes away or whatever trauma, we just want to blow past it or shove it down. And that bubbles up and destroy people’s lives.

Rich: Yeah, it’s gonna come back.

Darin: So that’s a really, really improtant point. For me, when my father passed in 2003/2004, the intense emotion was the highest emotion I have experienced in living. And literally, a voice came in my head, it just said, just let it happen, let it all happen. And so I would just fall apart whenever, however. In any situation, I would just not shove it down and also the other thing that I feel is like you get through the majority of it but it’s not like a light switch. You still have places where you’re like, woah, didn’t know that was– 

Rich: Again, I think we always will especially with loved ones. I mean, they’ll always be elements of that grieving, but that’s healthy. I mean, you don’t want to be a robot. But the key is, can you look at it with enough objectivity so that you can ask some good questions about them, that’s the key. It doesn’t have to be a 100% gone, but enough gone so that you can answer some really cool questions objectively, that’s the key.

Darin: Well, I love it, dude. I love the things that you’ve shared here today because even with me, I gained a lot just from understanding more of my process of what I went through and I think everyone can relate to all of those things. And that’s what I love about what you’ve shared here today. And I also want to officially say thank you for everything you’ve done for our country.

Rich: Appreciate that. Thank you.

Darin: And thank you for spending time with me here today under the 300-year-old oak tree.

Rich: I tell you, thank you for having me under the 300-year-old oak tree. This is great. This is ultimate nature.

Darin: We’re off the grid here, buddy. We have solar panels.

Rich: It’s awesome. Thanks, this is great.

Darin: Yeah, man. Thank you and so everyone run out, get this book of someone who’s lived a hell of a life and has a lot to offer.

Rich: If people want to go to the website, it’s theattributes.com. I created an assessment tool, so you can go and it’s for free. You can go and you can take an assessment to see where you stand on the grid attributes, the mental acuity attributes, and the drive attributes. And of course, I recommend reading the book first but you don’t have to. You can take the assessment tool but see where you stand on some of this stuff. Again, understand when you get those numbers, it’s a lot of introspect. You get the introspective when you take the assessment and then introspective when you get your results and say okay, how does this fit and what does this mean to me? But on the website, you can find the book, you can find the tools and a couple of things.

Darin: Yeah, that’s a huge aspect of that. And I’m glad that you said that because doing a little assessment is great because it says something and that’s action that people can take and they can literally walk away with something and then dive into it deeper and extract more of it with the book to understand because self-reflection is non-stop, it’s necessary to have a quality life.

Rich: I totally agree, and to grow.

Darin: Absolutely. And freaking adapt. The more we know about ourselves, the more we can adapt when clearly shit’s gonna happen.

Rich: And a better way we can perform. It’s everything, self-awareness, everything.

Darin: We’ll put that all in the show notes and then social media, what is that?

Rich: So Instagram @rich_diviney, and then LinkedIn, we’re on LinkedIn too. So you can find all the links there on the website as well. So we’re trying to get the word out as best we can.

Darin: Well, thanks, dude. Appreciate it, brother.

Rich: Great to be here.

Darin: Awesome.

Darin: What a fantastic episode. So tell me, what is one thing you got out of today’s conversation? If this episode struck a chord with you and you want to dive a little deeper into my other conversations with incredible guests, you can head over to my website, darinolien.com for more episodes and in-depth articles. Keep diving my friends. Keep diving.

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