This post is about intense pain…
If you’ve followed GTW for anything length of time, perhaps you’ve bought a GTW course…
Then you’ll know I believe building a tough mindset is crucial for almost every area of your life.
If you don’t know who Mike Gillette is yet. This post will change all that.
Mike is the creator of the Strength Psychology program.
And probably one of the toughest men alive.
He’s a real-world Liam Neeson from the movie Taken.
But what’s more impressive than what Mike has personally accomplished is what he has been through.
He used to be small and weak and his personal story is one of weakness transformed into strength.
I want you to read this personal message from Mike Gillette.
Then you can be inspired to know that no matter what you’re going through, you can choose how you deal with your circumstances.
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM MIKE GILLETTE
Living With Intense Pain
I live an unusual life. It’s been an amazing life. I’ve dreamt
big, worked hard and done my best to make strong decisions.
Decisions that have helped me get to those dreams. But the
truth is I never expected to have this life. This is my story.
I had a tough childhood. I was the result of an unintended
pregnancy and my parents split-up when I was three. My
mother was left with me, no money and a lot of anger. She
pursued bad relationships with bad men. Men who would
Eventually, she settled on one relationship. A relationship
that would suck the life from her. And from me.
Growing up, I saw my mother get punched, kicked and
choked. One night she was thrown down a flight of stairs.
Sometimes we would leave. But we always went back.
I was often left alone. Some days there was no food in the
house. I remember being eight or nine years old and putting
myself to bed. Or boiling beef bouillon cubes for my dinner.
But the one thing we never seemed to lack was alcohol. It
was everywhere. If you’ve ever watched that TV show Cops
you’ll notice that wherever the cops go, inside every house
they respond to looks the same: chaos. That was how we
As I grew older the violence got worse. One night, after
having her head beaten against the living room wall, my
mother went to the doctor. A brain tumor was discovered.
After a year of treatment, she died. I was fifteen.
My life became a mess. I descended into drugs and alcohol.
As much and as often as I could. In February 1981, at the
age of 18, I decided I’d had enough. I checked into a motel,
consumed a ridiculous amount of booze and pain killers
and lay down on the bed waiting to die. Much to my
surprise, I woke up the next day, very much alive. Which
led me to conclude two things.
1) I must be hard to kill
2) Since I was still alive, then maybe there was a reason
that I had been given a second chance.
A few months later I reconnected with a girl I dated in high
school a couple years earlier. Although we had nothing in
common, I had always been drawn to her. She was a good
person, the kind of person I would have liked to have been.
We began doing things together. One of those things was
going to church.
Later that year – the same year my life almost ended – was
also the year that my life really began, as a follower of
Now, I’m not here to discuss religion; I’m just telling my
story. And it would be dishonest if I were to leave out
what I consider to be the most important part of that story.
So what happened next?
I wanted to live as differently as I possibly could from who
I used to be. I wanted to help people. I was too young to
become a cop and college was too expensive, so I joined
Things clicked. The harder I worked, the more I was
rewarded. The Army was the first place I’d ever
experienced this dynamic and it was the place where I
started to dream big. Through my service, I became eligible
for an ROTC scholarship, allowing me to pursue my
military career as an officer. In 1984, I started college
at the University of Arizona.
On the last day of my first semester, I went on a climbing
trip with some friends. A day which started pleasantly
We were to rappel from a railway bridge into a canyon
and climb back out. The leader of the group had loaned
me some rappelling gear that I had not used before so I
had to rely on him to set it up for me.
As soon as I stepped off the bridge I immediately knew
something was wrong. The equipment had not engaged
and I was rocketing towards the canyon floor. The only
thing I could do to avoid certain death was to wrap myself
around my rope. I wrapped every limb around that rope…
and experienced the worst pain I’d ever felt as it burned
through my gloves, trousers, shirt… and skin.
It was the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced… that
is, until I slammed into the canyon floor, breaking my back
Later that day in the emergency room my orthopedic
surgeon told me the ‘good’ news: I would walk again…
but I would never run or jump out of airplanes any more.
I had, in one day, lost the life I’d wanted and worked so
I spent the next four and a half years working to reclaim
my physical self. With more setbacks than successes, it was
a dark and painful period.
What was hard for me to keep in perspective during those
years of pain and frustration was that I should not have
survived that fall. I had actually been given a second
chance. For a second time.
So how does this story turn out?
Well, hard work got me back to where I wanted to be
physically. And once that happened I was able to go
back to dreaming big.
Over the years I’ve continued to work hard and my dreams
have gotten bigger. Even today, I’m accomplishing goals
that just a few years ago, would have seemed impossible to
I went from a scared person to this person.
I went from a weak person to the person I am now.
I’ve been given the strength to live an amazing life, to do
amazing things, things that people who knew me way
back when would never believe.
How did Mike Gillette overcome catastrophe after catastrophe and still pull himself together to become one of the world’s most deadly renowned tactical trainers?
Most people would have been crushed by those experiences, but not Mike. What was his ‘secret’ to bouncing back from adversity?
WHAT GAVE MIKE THE POWER TO LEAD HIS AMAZING LIFE WAS HIS MENTAL TOUGHNESS.
In life, you’re either the hammer or the nail. Which one depends on how you choose to deal with your circumstances.
Keep training hard (mentally & physically),
Greg ‘Take No Prisoners’ Noland
CEO & Founder
Grey Top Warriors
P.S. Check out what others are saying…
P.S. More than 75% of the inventory of the Psychology of
Strength has now been sold.
Silence your fears and discover how to tap into your peak
performance state by focusing on a few simple mindset exercises
that only take a few minutes each day.
Unlike Anything I’ve EVER Seen or Heard Before in 15 Years
“The materials that I’ve seen from Mike were really different
than those I’ve seen from other Sport Psychologists…some
decent content but the substance and practical application
The difference with Mike is his practical experience is just
incredible and second to none, therefore adding to his
credibility and he actually offers some very applicable tools
to take away and use with the athletes that I train and add
another dimension of performance to their game.
The #1 lesson I’ve taken from this event has been how to
help athletes deal with their different emotions during
competition in order to have them play at the top of their game.
It’s so common to see different anxieties, fear of failure, stress,
the regular emotions that an athlete feels throughout the course
of a competition come into play and can impact their performance
in a positive or negative manner…I’ve definitely learned some
tools that will help me help those athletes cope with those
situations better and I’ll be able to use in their training in the
weight room, in conditioning that hopefully carries over into
their actual game day performance.”