Not Dead Can’t Quit! An Introduction

Not Dead Can’t Quit!

It is just four simple words connected together but the structure and intention of its message is loud and clear; if you are not dead then you have no excuse to quit. Every great accomplishment in the whole of human history owes its existence to the basic fact that, whoever discovered, created or owned it refused to quit until it came to be.

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certainway to succeed is to always try just one more time."

-Thomas Edison

This is not some magical ability, it is not something that you have to be born with and it not some kind of godlike feat. It is simply the ability to navigate the moment in which most human beings would decide to give up. It is the essence of success in any endeavor. It is the basic skill that allows average people to overcome the odds by simply not quitting.

What is quitting?  What does it look like, sound like, smell like, taste like and feel like?  How do you know when you’re about to quit?  These are important questions to understand because by the time you’ve quit, it’s already too late.  What that means is that if you cannot accurately sense the signs and symptoms of quitting, then you will not be able to correctly identify, diagnose and deal with the moment that you are about to quit on yourself.

The great thing about understanding the nature of quitting is that you don’t need to be a doctor or a rocket scientist. If I could figure this out, then you should have no problem taking these skill sets on board and using them to accomplish everything that matters to you.

I say this because I have used the basic ideas available to members of Team NDCQ through to accomplish everything I have ever done. And, at the heart of every success I have enjoyed are the critical concepts expressed in the words “Not Dead Can’t Quit!”

The basics for getting your head around the idea of quitting is to recognize that in almost every instance quitting begins as a conversation. It starts off with a few simple words put together in a way that makes quitting much more likely in a given moment. That little conversation is often very subtle because in that moment it is a conversation that makes complete sense to you and it would most likely make complete sense to anyone that could or does hear it. It is critical to understand the quitting conversation is a very reasonable conversation that makes absolute sense at the time you are having it.

What exactly does the quitting conversation sound like when it begins?  It may sound something like this. “I can’t.  I won’t.  F- this! Why me?  This is B.S.  Screw this!  Those guys are idiots!  The company is this, the CEO is that, The boss is…”

Also, what is most surprising about the quitting conversation is that you would probably be able to find a large number of people who would agree with those statements.

Hints of the quitting conversation came up often when I was serving as a U.S. Navy SEAL.  There were times when I actually thought to myself, “Okay, let me get this straight.  I’ve got to parachute into the ocean, swim five miles to land and haul a pack twenty miles through all kinds of terrain just to get to a place where someone wants to shoot at me.  You’re kidding me right? Oh, and I am doing this job for twenty-four thousand dollars a year.”

I think it is reasonable to say this was a very reasonable conversation and I bet a lot of people would agree that it’s a very reasonable conversation. It would have been very reasonable for me to bail out on that commitment.  Few of us would have wanted to move forward into that kind of a situation. 

But that’s not what I chose.

I chose to be a U.S. Navy SEAL.  No one put a gun to my head and said that I had to do it. I moved forward and completed the task at hand for ten years in SEAL Team because I was able to recognize and manage the quitting conversation when it showed up.

Over the last twenty-five years I have had several accomplishments in which the odds of success were very much stacked against me and managing the quitting conversation was a moment-to-moment, day-to-day and year-to-year skill that still continues to be honed. I have become very skillful at being unreasonable!

Accomplishing great things often requires the ability to be unreasonable.  Think about it.  Going to the moon was unreasonable.  Martin Luther King’s fight to gain equal rights for all citizens was unreasonable.  At a particular point in history, declaring America into existence seemed incredibly unreasonable.  There were tons of reasons why these things couldn’t or shouldn’t have been done at the time.  But those reasons did not stop those who were committed to their execution.  In the empty space of what is possible, groups of people will throw in reasons as to why something cannot be done.  It’s not because these people are mean or malicious, although in rare occasions that may be true.  It’s just that for them, it’s easier to fill that space with things they think they know, their beliefs, justifications, rationalizations and excuses, their reasons they think something isn’t possible.  The more difficult alternative is to sit in that uncomfortable space of not knowing and committing to the unreasonableness of accomplishing what must be done now. 

It’s easier to have reasons for why you don’t do something than to be unreasonable and not stop until you accomplish the thing you set out to do.

Each of the achievements referenced above required a conversation that was managed in such a way as to allow movement toward that particular goal, no matter what.  We simply can’t get to a place called winning without working through the conversation about quitting.

"Winners never quit and quitters never win."

-Vince Lombardi

This is not to suggest that anyone stubbornly and repeatedly bang his or her head against a concrete wall.  Movement towards a goal may indeed require enormous flexibility.  It may mean that new strategy and tactics must be employed.  Or it may simply require going over or around the wall.  But ultimately, it means continuing to take one more step towards the target that’s been set, and not fixating on the obstacles in the way.  

Completing a ten-year career in SEAL Team, being a successful entrepreneur, writing and getting a book published that is now available in four different languages, developing, hosting and producing my own television shows requires that I be able to generate within myself the attitude of always moving forward.  And I have to want to accomplish my mission badly enough to be willing to do anything to finish the job, regardless of and in spite of all the obstacles, in spite of all the hurdles, and in spite of all the stress and pain. 

For me, it is a very binary way of thinking.  When I am under extreme stress and pressure, when I am in pain, I have to be able to make the distinction that I am either moving forward to accomplish my objective or I am not.  That keeps it very simple.

I must be completely aware of when that quitting conversation begins to show up in my head.  And it shows up for each of us.  It shows up when we’re tired.  It shows up when we’re angry.  But to go through adversity to face those trials, to move through all of the doubt and second-guessing; these are the moments when our character is defined!

When you hear people begin to blame others or complain about their circumstances, you can bet that this is the beginning of a conversation called quitting.  It may mean that they’re quitting on themselves.  It may mean that they’re quitting on their loved ones or quitting on their coworkers and teammates. 

You can also bet that it’s probably completely reasonable and it will make complete sense at the time. 

What is unreasonable is accomplishing what they said they were going to do – hitting the target no matter what.  This kind of attitude goes against logic.  It goes against odds.  It goes against reason.  But if we said we would do something no matter what, then we WILL do it, no matter what.  Hitting our targets and keeping our word is all about being unreasonable.  It’s about not finding excuses for why we didn’t reach our objective.

But make no mistake about it.  Going after your dreams will be challenging. There will be a price to pay.  No matter what your objective, there are going to be moments that are uncomfortable.  Being a great friend to someone will at times involve a level of discomfort.  Being a committed and loving spouse or parent can certainly be uncomfortable.  And being a leader in any field inherently brings discomfort with the job.  There will be times when you will want to quit – and it will seem very reasonable.  But the ability to not quit is available to anyone.  It’s available to you right here, right now. as a whole is essentially a weapon to help you get comfortable with the idea of being very uncomfortable.  Let’s face it; success is really about doing the things that most people don’t want to do.  And that can be very uncomfortable. 

This is where learning to manage the quitting conversation becomes critical, developing and executing simple plans becomes essential and completely committing to the things that matter most to you is vital.

Not Dead Can’t Quit!

It is just four simple words organized in a specific way to evoke a designed act of intention that is packed with an aggressive mindset, a locked on physical point of reference and an absolute commitment to completing the task at hand. By being a part of Team NDCQ you will learn how to develop and use these skills to serve you so that conveniently manufactured reasons are not the excuse for you quitting on yourself.

Thanks for visiting and for reading this post.

With all my respect,



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