The worst navy seal of all time was Dan Bilzerian.
Many know him as the shirtless playboy that claims to have had over 10,000 one-night stands. Before his Instagram life turned him into a D-grade celebrity, he was known for his work as an almost navy seal.
Dan talks as if he was a navy seal on active duty though. But the truth is he failed to make it through the training. His stories on the topic make him sound tougher than Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator.
For years he got away with the lie.
Then a Reddit thread of people who knew him or were in the same training revealed what many had suspected: he lied.
During one popular overnight challenge at navy seal camp, the group was woken up to do a headcount. Dan the man fell asleep in a field.
His team failed because of him.
When it came to stand up and be a leader he blamed his teammates for not waking him up. Dan never qualified as a navy seal.
His class of navy seals hated him so much that they made their anthem a Pearl Jam rock song with the words “Can’t find Bilzerian” rather than the actual words, “Can’t find a better man”.
Teamwork is what these elite warriors live and die by. They are weak by themselves. And they are unstoppable against ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein when together in a wolf pack.
Connected minds are harder to break.
When cracks appear in one mind, another mind is able to pave over them with words of wisdom or inspirational actions.
Navy seals are heroes or murders depending on your viewpoint.
I mean they’re macho dudes that kill for a living. And they do some wild activities that some might call torture in order to qualify. Yet we can learn powerful lessons from everybody, especially those we don’t like.
Take these lessons from navy seals and use them to construct a fortress around your mind.
Stay in your present zone of genius
Becoming a navy seal is one of the hardest things in the world. There are many steps one has to complete to be given the keys to the machine gun closet.
If you ask a navy seal they’ll tell you no one part of the training is hard.
Normal people can achieve at least one section. The unbelievable difficulty comes from all the tasks when done one after the after. The entire journey is what breaks people like Dan Blizerian.
To a normal member of the public like me, it’s often believed Hell Week is the hardest part. In 5.5 days navy seal wannabes sleep no more than 4 hours, run 200+ miles, and do physical activity for more than 20 hours per day.
Hell week isn’t when most navy seals quit.
According to Teddy Mitrosilis who spent 3 days in wilderness training with navy seals, wannabe trainees typically quit during the 1-mile beach run. The run itself isn’t hard.
Most of us, including my skinny ass, can do a light jog.
What messes with candidates’ minds is they’re not told when the run will end. So what happens is they start to think too far into the future. The uncertainty creates enormous anxiety. This leads them to barricade themselves away from the present.
The self-talk about the uncertainty starts to hijack their actions. Their minds start to break. “I can’t do this anymore” is all it takes to end their promising navy seal career.
Lesson: Focus on the present to build mental muscle.
Tough times can be won with the words you say
If you’ve ever listened to former navy seals Jocko Willink or David Goggins speak on a podcast, you’ll notice they are deliberate with words.
Their elite training teaches them this superpower. Teddy observed while on navy seal training that when things get tough the importance of our speech intensifies.
Our tongue is our rudder.
So if the enemy is about to infiltrate your mind or a bomb is about to blow up three feet from your boots, notice your words. Are they serving you or sabotaging you? Does your self-talk increase energy or piss it up against the wall?
“When your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done”
David has the world record for the most amount of pull-ups done in 24 hours. People mistakenly think it’s his superior strength or level of craziness, or his navy seal training that made him reach this enormous goal. Nope.
Your mind is a liar. It’s the joker card.
As soon as a task gets hard our mind tells us to stop or says we’ve done enough. David learned it’s at this point that we’re only 40% done. The mindset he recommends is that we keep going when it gets hard.
I use this technique in writing. My brain at the start of my writing career wanted to give up after 1000 words. I always pushed the word count slightly higher. After doing it for 8 years, I can write 20,000 words in a day and not blink an eye. I’m not smart or gifted.
My brain is simply rewired to accept higher limits.
When your mind says “enough,” all you do is say “a few minutes more.” If you repeat this exercise enough times, your old limits will start to look ridiculous.
The mental exercise that kills many navy seals
Navy seals have to complete an exercise called drown-proofing.
It’s as terrifying as it sounds.
Trainees have their hands and legs tied together. Then the brutal trainers toss them into a 9-foot-deep swimming pool. Their challenge is to survive in the water for 5 minutes.
As soon as many wannabe seals hit the water they start to panic and beg to get lifted back out again. The struggle to get out of the water is so immense, many trainees slip underwater and lose consciousness.
Seals on standby then have to lift out the poor trainee from the water and attempt to resuscitate them.
Unfortunately this exercise kills many wannabe navy seals.
Not everyone dies though. A few make it through. They learn that the more you struggle underwater the higher the chance is you’ll sink to the bottom and face death. In other words, they learn to resist their survival instincts.
The other skill they learn is not to panic. When you panic underwater you deplete your oxygen faster. This is what can lead to drowning or falling unconscious.
Trainees learn to get comfortable with resisting their will to live.
Final lesson: don’t panic when you’re struggling with a difficult challenge. Embrace the obstacle as it’s the path to success.
Struggles make your mind stronger. And a strong mind can achieve goals many say are impossible.
We rise to the level of our mental toughness.