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Unbreakable with Thom Shea

245 EpisodesProduced by Thom Shea, Navy SEAL,AuthorWebsite

Navy SEAL, Thom Shea leads discussions regarding the five important growth areas in our lives: physical accomplishments, intellectual interests, wealth goals, key relationships, and legacy.Simplicity solves every complex issue. Join Thom and guests to live your best life.


116. Real Toughness with Thom Shea

Each of us has inside an indomitable spirit. This spirit has the capacity to endure tough times. This spirit has the ability to build us up from the ashes of failure. This spirit will love so deeply it will amaze you. This spirit however does not live on the surface of our lives. It must be acquired through diving into rough times and only surfaces right before you drown. That is the way of it. There are no short cuts to toughness.

Every year 2 to 4 times a year my team puts on a 24 hour challenge to allow participants the experience of coming face to face with their own toughness. And trust me it takes 20 hours before the spirit shows up, then it takes 4 hours for each of us to learn that our own spirit will see us through.

The 24 hour is, for me, one of the most predictable ways to have anyone come face to face with their indomitable spirit. Like must challenges of any merit, you have to show up to win. Maybe that is the first point of toughness … willingness to challenge yourself.

To date, we have done 23 challenges. Or rather I have led 23 challenges and seen toughness arise over 400 diverse people all from unique backgrounds and body types and life struggles. And I have seen 23 versions of toughness in me, because the challenge pushes a new limit each and every time.

You are asking yourself “why would anyone do anything for 24 hours?”. Isn’t that the point? The point of the challenge is to find in you that person who is willing to push the limits. Something amazing happens when you push your self imposed 24 hour limits, actually most peoples first limit is 16 hours. You know what I am saying, most people have to sleep 8 hours a day that is a limit. And it excludes them from what is possible if and when you don’t sleep a third of your life.

After doing 23 24 hour challenges four predictable limits will be broken apart for you if you do join us and push for 24 hours and here they are:


The first limit everyone pushes is being brave. It takes bravery to sign up and prepare for a challenge where you know you are going to have to do something hard with people you don’t know for 24 hours. Most people are not brave at all, really. I call this first limit to humans being brave. Only the brave show up to do hard things. Only the brave sign up. Only the brave toe the line in their lives.

Willingness to be coached

The Second limit of toughness is the biggest limiting factor in human beings every where. So few people are willing to be coached. So few people are willing to open up to any coaching that brings out their limits or expose their weaknesses. At this point in my life I realize this factor is the key factor of not only toughness but success as a whole. Literally only 20% of the population on the planet is willing to open up and be coached through their own self imposed limits. The 24 hour exposes limits rather fast and clearly but you have to be willing to be coached through them or you quit.

Pain and exhaustion

Pain will come. There is no way around it. Exhaustion will come when least expected. There is no escaping this. Society as a whole has moved away from dealing with and every consciously pushing through pain or exhaustion. An easy life, entitlement to something unearned, and the notion that pain is bad limits people. And in the 24 hour challenge you will get to know what pain is and you will be tired for sure.

Tunnel of despair

The final limiting factor that predictably happens in every 24 hour challenge is passing through the tunnel of despair. Maybe the whole challenge is the last four hours. The tunnel is a mental and physical condition where there is no way out of feeling pain and being tired and no way out of not wanting to feel it any more. Stepping up to the plate again and again even though it hurts; walking with pain; not wanting to lay down and rest because it hurts to get down and hurts to get back up; questioning what you are doing but doing it anyway that is the tunnel.

And that is your life really. 24 hours of dealing with your real life. 24 hours of being a part of other people willing to break through their own limits with you is the reward.

What would your life be like if you were brave and committed and showed up to something tough? What would you really do if you allowed yourself to be coached? What would your life be like if you learned to deal effectively with pain and exhaustion? And, what would happen if you kept putting one foot in front of the other no matter what was happening?

Join us if you are brave, if you want to be coached, if you want to encounter pain, and if you want to master the tunnel of despair. If you just want to be normal don’t show up. Quitters are not allowed.

24 hour challenge

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