Tuesday, November 22, 2016

On Mind Training with the SEALS

I have to admit, I am a student of the mind. I think mind discipline is the foundation for critical success.

Physical endurance strength results in increased mental strength.

The BUD/S training is the 6-month training that Navy SEALS undergo before they graduate. The First Phase of BUD/S consists of 8 weeks of basic training culminating with "Hell Week." During Hell Week, recruits stay awake for five days straight (only up to 4 hrs total napping time allowed).

"Hell Week is a test of physical endurance, mental tenacity and true teamwork where 2/3 or more of your class may call it quits or “ring the bell ”. Physical discomfort and pain will cause many to decide it isn’t worth it. The miserable wet-cold approaching hypothermia will make others quit."
Source: Sealfit

What is significant in such training is not only the physical aspect, but the mental resilience as well. Going through extreme levels of discomfort toughens the mind. As often described, trainees become capable to witness, and than transmute a negative emotion.

"Transmute the negative emotion to its positive counterpart. For example, fear becomes courage, anger becomes commitment, jealousy becomes appreciation, shame becomes pride and despair becomes surrender." (Commander Divine). Fit civilians would not have access to Seals training, but they could go to the SEALFIT Kokoro retreat.

Here are some lessons that anyone can apply.

  • Get tough. Get physical. While at it,
  • Push your boundaries. I don't think anyone comes to BUD/S with the intention of failing. Furthermore, most of these folks are pretty much equal in terms of fitness, vigor and ability. Yet 7 or 8 out of 10 drop out. For the few that make it forward [to Pool Week] the drop out rate decreases drastically.  That doesn't mean it's easier going forward, it means the ones that made it through have increased their endurance baseline. It becomes clear those that make it through are the ones with the strongest mind and will.
  • The entire military training is based on the concept of discipline, So many people, in real life, lack it.
  • People come from military training changed in the sense that they overcome obstacles with less drama or struggle, because obstacles and retreats are a natural part of life.
What's it like on Hell Week ?
"After your 3rd day of staying awake with no sleep, you start seeing weird things - yes hallucinating. But what is really happening is your brain wants to go to sleep and go into a dream land so you actually start seeing your dreams superimposed on reality. You can be talking to your buddy and he falls asleep standing up. It is funny when he wakes up talking jibberish. It is also really weird to see cartoons running the obstacle course, or a little muscle man for a fire hydrant. One of our boat crew members kept seeing a wall and trying to push off the wall during our 12 hour "around the World paddle." -Stew Smith, @ Military.com

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