November 21, 2018

3 Ways to Flip Your Endurance Switch

Hand pushing on control panel

It never fails to amaze me how my body and mind react to adversity.

I have done a lot of endurance events and it always comes down to something inside me flipping so that I can get through it.

This feeling of “flipping the switch” is a metaphor that I have talked about in my event report from The Goruck Challenge (hat tip to my friend Dan for the wording).

Flipping the switch is different for each of us but we all know when it happens. We get in this weird zone where all we can do is focus on the here and now. It’s almost mediative in that nothing can distract us from the task at hand.

Getting to “flip the switch” takes practice and patience. The three ways I have found effective for me to flip my endurance switch include:

Way #1: Practice Pushing Your Limits

Practice makes perfect or rather more perfect. By practicing, we can work on ways to improve and be ready for situations when we must endure. Practice pushing your limits by being in an environment where it’s safe to fail or come short.

By doing this, we can feel what it’s like to be on the edge of our limits and endurance. The more we do this, the easier it will be to flip the switch when we need it most.

Way #2: Embrace the Suck

A big part of endurance is being comfortable with being uncomfortable. For us Gorucktards, that means Embracing the suck.

Embracing the suck is an attitude that whatever is thrown at us, we will just do the job and move on. No complaining. No moaning. No quitting. Just deal with the situation and get it done.

When we embrace the suck, we are in the moment. We don’t worry about where we came from or where we are going — we are just consumed in the moment and we don’t let anything else get in our way. When we can feel that way, we have come closer to flipping the switch.

Way #3: Surround Yourself with Allies

Every single one of us needs others to help us endure. There will times when we just can’t get ourselves to push past a barrier or limitation. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with allies that can help you when you might not want to push any more.

These allies will pick you up and/or encourage you to march on even when you may feel like quitting. This camaraderie is a tremendous source of endurance since most of us don’t want to let others down.

Go Get It Done

Flipping your endurance switch takes combining the three ways above consistently. By practicing pushing your limits, you can feel what it’s like to be on the brink of giving up. By embracing the suck, you can be fully in the moment and not worry about the past or the future. By surrounding yourself with allies, the experience becomes a shared sense of duty and purpose.

The most important aspect of flipping your endurance switch is to just go get it done. Even if you may fail or suffer a major set back, actually trying to get it done will bring you closer and closer to flipping your endurance switch when you need it the most.