#1008 SEALs and WIRMs

Witness + Interdict + Redirect + Maintain

Not too long ago, we shared a +1 on what I called “Thought Alchemy.” It was all about “How to Change One Thought for Another.”

That day I got an email from my friend (former Navy SEAL Commander and real-life superhero) Mark Divine. He forwarded me that +1 and told me that he loved the idea and teaches something similar.

He calls it “WIRM.”

He told me I should create a +1 on it. And, well, here we are. Hooyah! 🤓

Quick context. Mark is one of the world’s leading thinkers and teachers on the subject of mental toughness. Among many other things, he’s the guy aspiring SEALs go to to learn how to make it through BUD/S and Hell Week. (It’s crazy how high the graduation rate is for his guys vs. the average.)

We’ve featured a couple of Mark’s great books so far: Unbeatable Mind and The Way of the SEAL.

He talks about the WIRM process in both.

Here’s the short story.

In Unbeatable Mind, Mark tells the story of the two wolves battling within. The wolf of fear and the wolf of courage. Which one wins? The one we feed. Therefore, we need to STARVE the fear and FEED the courage.

He gives us the four-step WIRM process to win the battle.

Here’s how he puts it: “Negativity destroys performance, so it is crucial to train to move from witnessing negative thoughts to starving them and feeding the positive. This is the specific process:

I. Witness negativity.
II. Interdict, or stop, the negative thoughts with a power statement.
III. Redirect your mind with self-talk and imagery to something positive and productive for your current goal.
IV. Maintain your new mental state with a jingle or mantra.”

Witness + Interdict + Redirect + Maintain.

WIRM.

That’s an incredibly cool, simple four-step process to get our minds right.

Quick review.

First: We need to Witness the negativity. That might sound easy, but, as you might have noticed, it’s not. Most of the time we just get swept up in our own negative loops and think we’re in a bad mood because of things happening to us rather than because of our own negative internal patterns.

So, step one: See the negative thoughts. Train this ability via meditation and practice with the little day-to-day things that trigger us.

Once we notice the negativity, we need to STOP the negative thoughts. Aggressively. We Interdict them with power statements.

To interdict means to “prohibit or forbid.” It also means “to intercept and prevent the movement of (a prohibited commodity or person).” From a military perspective, it means to “impede (an enemy force), especially by aerial bombing of lines of communication or supply.”

Essentially, we want to bomb the enemy force of negativity. To, in Mark’s words: “blow up negative mental chatter and allow your mind to still itself and await its next set of instructions.”

We do that by dropping power statements on the negative thoughts. Stuff like, “I’ve got this!!!” “Piece of cake.” “Let’s do this!” or whatever else resonates with you.

Step 3. Consistently Redirect your mind by bringing it back to the good stuff via positive self-talk and positive imagery associated with your goals.

Step 4. Maintain our new positive state with mantras that fire you up. In Sanskrit, mantra literally means “tool of the mind.” We want to re-wire our minds one mantra-tool at a time.

That’s Today’s +1.

Witness + Interdict + Redirect + Maintain.

Next time you feel negativity and fear creeping into your consciousness, starve it. Feed the courage.

Follow a SEAL and get your WIRM on.

Hooyah!

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