4 lessons from the Navy SEALs for a better life

The U.S. Navy SEALs are one of the world’s most elite special forces units. Oftentimes, the SEALs are tasked with executing the most difficult missions in some of the most challenging conditions all around the world. The acronym for SEAL actually stands for United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land Team.

Thus, whether you’re looking to join the world’s toughest special forces unit or just trying to get a leg-up in life, here are some things that we can learn from the Navy SEALs.

1. Make your bed everyday

During the 2014 University of Texas commencement, Admiral William H. McRaven; SEAL and ninth commander of the U.S Special Forces had this brilliant piece of advice to give; make your bed every day.

This is a deceptively simple habit that has been ingrained in soldiers all over the world. As part of their morning routine, soldiers are required to make their beds. Doing so instills a sense of discipline in yourself while also helping you achieve the first task of the day.

From here, you’ll be able to gain the momentum to continue throughout the day. Whether it’s meeting clients or showing up for work on time, making your bed sets the standard for the rest of the day. Also, if you’ve had a particularly bad day, coming home to a neat and well-made bed can be a source of comfort.

2. Build up your mental strength

For those brave enough to attempt it, BUDs or Basic Underwater Demolitions Training lasts about 24 weeks where candidates undergo some of the most grueling tests imaginable. From sleep deprivation to brutal water competency tests in freezing water, less than 30% of candidates attending training pass selection. 

With such an intense training regime and a nigh-on impossible selection, there should be no doubt that SEALs are some of the toughest soldiers in the world. Successful candidates have stated that mental fortitude and tenacity have gotten them through BUDs training.

While the outside world may not be as brutal as BUDs training, being able to face up to mental hardship and challenges are essential if you want to live a happy, sustainable life. Athletes in top ranks of football odds have also to endure similar tests, that make the body and mental resistance to maximum.

In life, there will definitely be times when you feel down and out. Whether you’re stuck in a dead-end job or things just can’t seem to work out, all you have to do is to persevere and keep on going. At the end of the day, your success is determined only by you and you alone.

3. Recognize failure as a part of life

As anyone who’s ever been in the military will tell you, uniform inspections are a part of life and failing an inspection will likely result in punishment. This is no different during BUDs and candidates who fail uniform inspection are ordered into the freezing ocean to get good and wet. 

After that, they will be forced to roll around on the beach until they’re covered from head-to-toe in fine white sand i.e. resembling a sugar cookie. In his speech, U.S Admiral William McRaven states that “some days, no matter how much you prepare, you’ll just end up a sugar cookie”.

He uses this to illustrate the fact that sometimes failure is just a part of life. Even if you’ve done your best and give it your all, failure is unavoidable. Stand up, clean yourself up and keep on moving forward because that’s just how life is. When we accept failure as a part of life, we’re that much more ready to deal with setbacks. 

4. Never ever give up – don’t ring the bell

The previous 3 points have built up to this; never giving up even in the face of impossible odds. Throughout SEAL training, candidates are actively encouraged by their instructors to throw in the towel and quit the course. When a candidate quits, he has to ring a brass bell in the middle of the compound.

Given the harsh training conditions, it’s no surprise that nearly 80% of candidates drop out from the course or fail. Instructors intentionally make quitting easy in order to weed out candidates who lack the mental toughness to become SEALs.

Those who remain until the end are usually running on sheer willpower alone. This illustrates how only through perseverance and persistence are we able to achieve our dreams. Giving up may be easy but it also prevents us from reaching our goals.

While you may not be parachuting onto the battlefield or infiltrating deep behind enemy lines, the lessons imparted by the Navy SEALs can also be brought in the real world. Discipline, tenacity and courage will help you succeed in life.

This post was written by Benjamin Lee.

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