Christian Griffith is a beast.
He treks through countless Tough Mudders and Spartan Races, and he runs ultra-marathons like they’re jogs in the park. But recently, he experienced something more intense than anything else he’s ever been through … and that’s saying a lot considering he almost died from an amoeba he contracted in Nicaragua during a 100K back in 2012.
Griffith is best known for his recent appearance on the History Channel show “The Selection.” It’s a 16-day test of mental and physical strength put on by instructors in the special forces.
But before getting too far into that, it’s important to hear about Griffith’s past.
He grew up a skateboarder in South Carolina. In high school, he spent a lot of time focusing on skateboarding and not a lot of time focusing on school. Growing up, he always had an “I do things my way” kind of attitude toward life. That’s still true to this day.
Despite this, Griffith overcame the odds by pushing himself through college — and he excelled. Because he could choose what he wanted to learn about, he finally felt like he was free.
“I realized that I wasn’t a dumbass like everyone thought I was,” he said with a laugh.
He got his degree from the University of South Carolina, and from there his rise was fast and furious. He quickly worked his way to the top with a six-figure salary job and an office in downtown Atlanta as the Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy.
While Griffith was proud of this accomplishment, he’s more proud of the fact that he did it his way — a guy with long hair and tattoos basically said “We’re doing things the way I want to do them.”
While there was this sense of accomplishment, Griffith still felt a little empty.
As someone who lived such an active lifestyle, an office job in the city just wasn’t fulfilling enough for him.
“I thought, ‘I just need to get back to the beach,’” he said.
So he did. He moved to Jacksonville in 2015 and got a job at Goruck. But it wasn’t as awesome as he had hoped.
“That was actually worse. So now I was looking out the window with palm trees swaying. At least when I was in Atlanta, I didn’t know what I was missing. Sitting there and seeing it every day, I was like, ‘This makes no sense to me.’”
Remember that amoeba he contracted in Nicaragua in 2012? That whole story was on an episode of the TV show Monsters Inside Me. Griffith watched the episode air on Thursday, October 29, 2015, and after seeing the episode, he said, “I’m quitting my job Monday.”
“Something about seeing myself cry on national television, about how awful my ordeal was, really brought home to me the finite nature of life,” he said.
So with that, he quit his job and founded his own company, Live For a Living. It started as a hashtag, and now it’s his digital strategy company. He enjoys it because he is his own boss and works on his own terms.
Now that we’ve been caught up on how he got here, let’s get back to “The Selection.”
“It changed me profoundly as a man,” he said. “It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
He went through some of the most intense physical and mental challenges possible while there. At the end, he was one of four who made it, but he came very close to quitting at one point.
The moment came when he was going through torture training. They put him in a room where he had a hood over his head in a box, sitting in other people’s urine while the sound of a crying baby louder than a rock concert was playing. He went through this for 11 hours. That was the only moment he thought of quitting.
“I kept thinking one foot in front of the other,” he said. “I also said never make a race decision on an uphill. I equated that torture test to an uphill.”
That mentality worked, as he emerged victorious.
As for the future, Griffith hopes to focus more on other people rather than himself. He’s taken part in countless tough mudders and Spartan runs, so now, he wants to be there for people who want to do those types of physical challenges for the first time.
You can catch full episodes of “The Selection” on the History Channel’s website.