The Modern Gladiator | A Man's Guide to Living

Follow Your Drive to “Camp Edge!”

on December 28 | in Cover, Defining the Modern Gladiator, Issue 13, Issue 18 | by | with No Comments

Camp at Your Edge

“Our goal in training Navy Seals is to push them beyond their known physical limits.”

—Seal trainer

Being a modern-day gladiator is not for the faint of heart.

Personal development expert David Deida, in writing to men, says, “In any given moment, a man’s growth is optimized if he leans just beyond his edge, his capacity, his fear. He should not be too lazy, happily stagnating in the zone of security and comfort. Nor should he push far beyond his edge, stressing himself unnecessarily, unable to metabolize his experience. He should lean just beyond the edge of fear and discomfort. Constantly. In everything he does.”

(Deida, The Way of the Superior Man, Boulder, Colorado. Sounds True, Inc., 1997, 2004. Print.)

climber on via ferrata or klettersteig in Italy

Over the past six months I have been living at “Camp Edge.” I have been pushed beyond my known physical, mental, and emotional limits. It has been the greatest challenge of my personal life. I have failed and succeeded, stumbled and soared, died and come back to life. I have faced death, which is the knowledge of fear, and survived. It helped me tremendously to see it in the light of living at my edge and leaning just beyond it.

It gave meaning to my pain and struggle. It gave me perspective. It helped me not to run from it or anesthetize it, but instead to embrace it as a tremendous, albeit painful opportunity for deep personal transformation. It was my personal growth Navy Seal experience.

Did you know that Seals train for eighteen months to go on a six-month deployment? Then they come back and train for eighteen more months before their next six-month deployment. That is going to your edge. Maybe that’s why they are the elite, the greatest fighting unit in the world.


Navy Seals Unit — Basic Underwater Demolitions

Personal growth should be a challenge. It should be hard—but because it’s hard, most people don’t even start to pursue it, and if they do start, many give up. Others choose to avoid pain and growth by anesthetizing with distractions, compartmentalizing, and even using drugs and alcohol. Personal growth is not for the faint of heart, yet to become our best in life, we have to live at our edge. If we want to influence and help others to become gladiators as well, we will have to become familiar with living at Camp Edge. As my life coach Mike Valentine likes to say, “You can only help people to go where you have gone yourself.”

I’ve found that being a modern-day gladiator is not for the faint of heart or the lone wolf. I’ve gone to Camp Edge with a band of five brothers over these last six months. We meet at camp every Monday night. We see miracles happen weekly as men get set free of their past wounds—and when one man works, we all work and benefit. I’m able to lean just beyond my edge, push beyond my known limits, because I know my brothers have got a hold on me.

Rare are the individuals who embrace living at Camp Edge. Those men are gladiators!

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