The power of crucibles for your personal journey


By creating crucibles in our lives, we create the forums and potential for change which will enable us to grow and evolve.
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The US Marine Corp has a final challenge of recruit training known as The Crucible. It is a 54-hour training exercise that validates the physical, mental, and moral training they’ve endured throughout recruit training.

The recruits are broken down into squads to face the challenges of the crucible. They face challenges testing their physical strength, skills, and the Marine Corps values they have learned throughout training. Throughout the event, the recruits are only allowed a limited amount of food and sleep.

The final stage of The Crucible is a 9-mile (14.5 kilometres) hike from the training grounds to the Iwo Jima flag raising statue at Peatross Parade Deck. Upon completing this challenge, the recruits are handed their eagle, globe, and anchors, symbolising the completion of their arduous journey to become US Marines.

A conversation with US Marine commander Mike Ettore on the Ultrahabits podcast reveals just how powerful and transformative these processes are for a recruit.

So, what can we adopt from this process into our own lives, and why should we?

Personal development is a process that many people engage with, whether its post graduate studies, running a marathon or learning a new skill. For many these challenges are adhoc and are rarely connected to deeper purpose or a sense of who they want to become.

My research points towards the major benefits of being intentional with your personal evolution journey and the activities you undertake.

Here in lies the power of crucibles in your own life: it’s your opportunity to manufacture growth opportunities through short- or long-term challenges that specifically push the boundaries in key areas of your life. You are the diamond allowing yourself to be moulded in the areas of your life that you choose.

The first step you need to do is a personal inventory of where you are at in your life. This inventory requires a deep level of honesty such as where are you lacking, what areas in your life would you like to optimise, what behaviours do you want to rid, and most importantly determining what the ideal version of yourself looks like. Becoming very clear on your idealised self, with supporting attributes and ways of being is very important – this is you, self-actualised. You can’t aim at anything if you don’t have a target.

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From here you are now able to create the context via crucibles that are going to specifically help you develop more capability in these areas. The key here is accountability, formality with clear milestones of advancement, for example instead of joining a gym and looking to go on your own, join a group fitness program that drives accountability, has structure, and honours your progression and journey.

Crucibles can be adopted for areas in our lives that are much more subtle or where our beliefs and emotions require challenging. When I commenced my own transformation journey, I struggled with healthy relationships, and while it was an incredibly difficult area to shine the light on, I joined a men’s group. This group had a range of men in age and relationship status, the shared wisdom, our collective journey, and group accountability was transformational for me. Ultimately, I was able to move through my blockages and enter and stay in a committed relationship.

The point is, by creating crucibles in our lives we create the forums and potential for change which will enable us to grow and evolve. On the path we celebrate our progress, hold ourselves to account, and ultimately, we allow our crucibles to help redefine the way we operate.

RJ Singh is a corporate and ultra-endurance athlete and the creator of Ultrahabits. Find out more at Peak Performance with RJ Singh: Ultra Habits for Ultra Performance