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The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. “Usually whatever’s in front of you isn’t as big as you make it out to be,” says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. “We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind.”
BRENT GLEESON: SEAL training is 18 months long. We talk about discipline, we talk about trust, accountability, mental fortitude. Very, very high attrition rate. For my class only about 10 percent ultimately graduated of the original class. But the first six months of that 18 month training pipeline is called BUDS, which stands for Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL. And the first three weeks of BUDS are leading up the Hell Week. And those three weeks are no joke either. They’re just as bad as Hell Week, but you get to sleep a couple of hours a night. But then Hell Week is where you’re going to weed out the rest of your class. By the end of Hell Week 80 percent of your class is gone. Hell Week starts on a Sunday, ends on a Friday afternoon, and the great thing about that Sunday is the class will report to one of the main classrooms with only a couple required items in their possession and we don’t allow them to know when Hell Week will commence, when breakout starts. And it’s pure chaos. Guys will quit minutes into breakout. And so the anguish, the anxiety is just killing you. It’s a fascinating thing to watch. Not a fascinating thing to be a part of. So that afternoon our class leader, who’s the highest ranking officer in the class, he read us – one of the things he did to motivate us was to read us the speech, the St. Crispin’s Day speech from William Shakespeare’s Henry V. And a great excerpt that many people know from that speech is, “”We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.””
ERIC GREITENS: If there was a single question that you can ask someone to measure how resilient they’re going to be, you ask them what are you responsible for. And what you find is that even in the most difficult situations when you look at stories of people who have been prisoners of war, for example. People who survive said I’m going to take control of my thoughts, or I’m going to take control of the way that I breathe. There are certain things even though my freedom has been taken away from me that my ability to eat where I live. All of these things have been taken away from me. I’m still going to control something. And when you focus on actually taking control of something and what happens is your circle of control begins to widen and people begin to see that even in the face of hardship and difficulty, there’s a way for them to build power and live a purposeful life.
DAVID GOGGINS: People always ask me how do you build mental toughness. Mental toughness also has these classes out here. A class on mental toughness. Positive thinking, visualization, all these different techniques—mental toughness is a lifestyle. It’s something that you live every single day of your life. When I was growing up I was a lazy kid. I was a lazy kid and everyone goes how did you get to where you’re at today? How did you get to where you’re running 200 miles at one time in 39 hours being so disciplined. It started off honestly with recognizing that my bedroom was dirty. My bed wasn’t made. I lived a sloppy life. So I took very small increments in my life. I started making my bed. I started cleaning my room. I started doing things, coming outside of my lazy ways to become better. And through a period of time your brain doesn’t like it, but it starts to realize this is a new way of thinking…
Read the full transcript at https://bigthink.com/videos/navy-seals-build-a-tough-mind