The Three Pillars of Success Important to Any Mission, Including Fitness

Command sergeants major flip a tire.
Command Sgt. Majs. Allen Brooks, right, Thomas Baird, middle, and Kevin Austin, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, perform tire flips at Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 30, 2018. (Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard/U.S. Army photo)

That's what I call the "3 Ps," or the three pillars of success:

  • Passion
  • Purpose
  • Persistent action

Here's why they are so critically important to anyone who is about to or is on a "mission." I'm not just talking militarily here. I'm talking about going after your own goals, your own objectives. The key to anything -- and I mean, anything -- in life is your ability to persevere, but the trouble is that most folks give up too early. They give up on their dreams and goals. They accept others' opinions of failure as the only option. It's the "why even try" attitude.

So the key question to ask is: How do those who persevere (such as making it through SEAL training or starting a company) continue to do so when others quit? Herein lies the question and my answer. I stress my answer, since this isn't a scientific study but one that I've learned over 30 years of persevering. Follow your passion and link it with a purpose. (Hint: The higher the purpose, the more powerful your resolve will be to continue your persistent action.)

This is not rocket science, folks; it's just hard work. It's easier, though, when the work you're doing fires you up. One of my life's passions is fitness. It has transformed my life from the days of being an asthmatic, sickly kid into an adult with the confidence and courage to pursue what matters most in my life.

Passion is a great start, and I would argue an absolute must for those considering embarking on a mission. But passion alone won't be enough firepower for you when the going gets tough. You need to link this passion with a purpose, and the stronger the link, the stronger your resolve.

In the case of starting Perfect Fitness, and not quitting when we were down to the last few dollars, my purpose was wanting to tell my children to follow their dreams, just like their dad. If I failed and turned over every single stone in so doing, then fine. But we hadn't turned over every stone, even with the few dollars left, and under that next stone was the Perfect Pushup.

I created a link so strong that failure just wasn't an option. I could recite hundreds of SEAL stories where SEALs had a similar mentality on their missions, and they found a way to succeed, because they had built such a strong sense of purpose with their passion, that their persistent action was overwhelming anyone in their way.

That's exactly what I want you to think about:

  • What's your passion?
  • Create your purpose.
  • Take persistent, unrelenting action to accomplish your mission.

More to come, but I want to plant this seed with you now, because life is too short not to follow your dreams.

Alden Mills, creator of the Perfect Pushup, is CEO of Perfect Fitness. Mills went to the Naval Academy, where he went on to become a Navy SEAL. After retiring in 2000, he earned his MBA at Carnegie Mellon. His ultimate mission is to inspire everyone to pursue their own dreams. For more from Mills, check out

Want to Learn More About Military Life?

Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, has you covered. Subscribe to to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.

Story Continues