10 Amazing Lessons I Learned From The Navy SealsDecember 3rd
We’ve all heard of the elite U.S. military corps known as the Navy Seals. These men are groomed for up to 30 months to be superheroes. The term “superhero” evokes images of comic book supermen with exceptional abilities who help and protect others, but Navy Seal training evolves ordinary trainees into supermen who are not fictional characters.
Many Seals have a background in athletics, but not all. Men under thirty in good physical condition can qualify. How are these average men transformed into extraordinary creatures? Here are ten important lessons every Seal must master to stay in the game. If you want personal growth, these lessons can help you achieve it.
1. Keep fit. The Seals fitness plan is based on nutrition, exercise, recovery, and consistency. Four to five small daily meals and a balanced ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fat keeps energy levels steady. This helps Seals to perform optimally at all times. Workouts and recovery are a daily part of life. This is common sense, but consistency is key. Sticking to a plan every day goes a long way toward maintaining good health.
2. Let go of limits. The extreme training to which Seals are subjected may seem like cruel and unusual punishment. It’s designed to build physical stamina, but the primary lesson is to learn what we’re actually capable of. Although only 20-25% of Seals complete training, those who do are transformed from common men into superior mega-performers, equipped to meet and overcome the most dangerous of challenges, Like Seals, we can refuse to settle for being what we are. Instead, we can challenge ourselves to new levels. This can be as simple as doing one thing every day that we think we can’t do. Over time, this practice builds confidence and a winning mentality.
3. Lose the hysterics. Navy Seals do not act out their emotions. Their community has been called a “drama-free zone.” This doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings like the rest of us. Instead, it means they learn to keep cool under fire. Life presents us with many opportunities to practice poise and master our passions. Stress, challenges, and obstacles come to us every day. Do we train ourselves to respond in an intelligent way or do we react blindly with anger or fear?
4. Learn to be uncomfortable. Seals-in-training have to endure almost every form of discomfort, whether it’s performing at peak levels while exhausted, power-swimming in arctic waters, or deploying underwater demolitions. They learn to ignore unimaginable levels of pain only to learn that it won’t kill them. Seal instructors say that most dropouts have the physical ability to master these discomforts; it’s the pressure they can’t handle. While you may not want to challenge yourself quite so much, you can still use the principle to good effect. Choose to go without one creature comfort every day and train yourself to ignore the pain by focusing on something else. What usually happens is that we’re not as uncomfortable as we thought we’d be.
5. Build mental toughness. Seals must cast out fear and doubt with good reason. Negative thinking is a foolproof way to create failure. Make friends with chaos and accept that it’s part of life. Stop expecting predictability. Focus on the goal instead of the obstacles. A reliable indicator of Seal trainees who make it to graduation is a “never say die” attitude and a determination to succeed at any cost. When you decide to do something, keep going until you achieve it regardless of what gets in your way and no matter how long it takes. Never give up.
6. Become part of the whole. Trainees are taught to think and act as a unit because the power of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Together they accomplish more than even the most powerful individual acting alone. Becoming a part of something bigger allows us to do more than we could by ourselves. Seals also learn to treat others as they would like to be treated. A pat on the back from another trainee can be all an aspiring Seal needs to keep going instead of giving up. A Navy Seal team has never left a wounded member behind on a mission regardless of injury or risk. We can follow their example by refusing to abandon an emotionally wounded friend no matter how hopeless their condition might seem.
7. Pay attention to details. One might wonder why Seal trainees must keep their quarters spotless and dirt-free at all times. One answer is that “the devil is in the details.” On missions, the smallest irregularity can signal imminent attack. Most of us notice and deal with the big stuff; it’s the little stuff that can really do us in. Paying attention to what’s around us can supply information that allows us to head off big trouble. It’s also said that “God is in the details.” Taking the time to notice the little things can bring blessings and opportunities we might otherwise miss.
8. Be prepared. Navy Seals plan for every contingency and routinely confront the unknown. During underwater training an instructor might purposely disconnect a trainee’s air hose to see how he reacts. Instead of panicking, the man learns to calmly reconnect the hose and proceed with the mission. Seals learn to visualize challenges before they occur and to see themselves carrying out a desired action. Visualizing scenarios in which we want to behave differently is a form of practice that can actually help us to change our behavior and improve our performance.
9. Learn to think on your feet. Even the best laid plans can fall apart. What then? Seals have to act quickly. The Extreme Fitness portion of their training gives them an edge in any situation involving physical strength and agility, but sometimes the challenge is mental. A decision must be made immediately. Seals have to do the right thing to the best of their ability without getting stopped. How often do we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by a surprise only to have it overcome us? Taking decisive action when confrontations occur is better than becoming a victim by taking no action at all.
10. Follow instructions. It’s imperative to the success of any mission that all team members pay close attention to orders. Instructors have been known to omit a portion of orders while briefing exhausted men just to see who’s paying attention. Seals can’t afford to miss anything or an entire operation could fall apart. Do we create problems for ourselves and others by not paying attention to what we’re supposed to do? Can we avoid errors by following the direction of those who have our best interests at heart? While it’s tempting to skip ahead in our enthusiasm to get the job done, instructions from reliable sources are there to help us succeed and save us from harm or injury.
While we may not want to be superheroes, we can all be more than we are. Why not challenge yourself to climb higher? Practice the lessons of the Navy Seals to encourage your own untapped potential. You might be amazed to discover superpowers you didn’t know you had.