Have you ever wanted to have the courage, resilience, and discipline of the most elite warriors on the planet?
Have you ever wanted to build that inner confidence required to conquer any obstacle?
Have you ever dreamt of developing yourself into a man of true power, true grit, and true strength?
I know that I have…
And there are few better teachers on the topic of becoming a strong grounded man than the U.S. Navy SEALs.
Since launching Knowledge for Men, I have had the distinct pleasure of interviewing several former-Navy SEALs including Jocko Willink author of Extreme Ownership, Mark Divine a former Seal commander and founder of SEAL Fit, Cade Courtley former SEAL sniper and author of the SEAL Survival Guide, and even Admiral William McRaven, the man responsible for spearheading the mission that takeout Bin Laden known as Operation Neptune Spear.
Here are the seven lessons that I learned from US Navy SEALs about being a strong grounded man…
1. Find a Compelling “Why” or Wash Out
The common trait [of successful candidates at BUDs] is just a deep burning desire to succeed… and probably a small chip on their shoulder ~Cade Courtley
BUD/s or Basic Underwater Demolition SEALs is debatably the most difficult military training program in the world today.
Trainees are voluntarily subjected to, what can only be described as six months of endless physical, psychological, and emotional torture.
From exposure to the hypothermia-inducing waters of the Pacific or the endless runs carrying 200+ pound IBS (inflatable boat, small) boats on their heads to endless hours of physical training on the cold sandy beaches of Coronado and Virginia, each SEAL candidate is exposed to mental and physical rigors beyond what any common man can comprehend
But the training program isn’t simply designed to break candidates down. It’s a methodical (if seemingly maniacal) process specifically designed to make each trainee question their reason for being at BUDs.
Nothing they are asked to do is beyond the realm of physical possibility for the recruits, it’s simply designed to test their commitment to the program. Any trainee who doesn’t truly want it will ring the bell and drop out.
Without fail, every Navy SEAL that I have interviewed on the Knowledge for Men show has spoken extensively about the importance of developing a compelling “Why” in order to achieve your goals.
No matter how challenging the training might be, no matter how tired, hungry, and cold they are, the men who make it through training and earn the coveted SEAL Trident always have a reason bigger than themselves to keep them going when things are hard.
And even if you aren’t trying to become one of the most elite warriors on the planet, this lesson is just as applicable.
Most men wander aimlessly through life with no purpose, no fire, and no reason to push themselves forward and achieve at new levels.
But for those rare men who are willing to step up to the plate and answer the call of the strong grounded man, they know that this aimlessness is unacceptable.
They know that they must have a compelling reason for why you wake up everyday.
If you do not have a strong “why” then even the smallest obstacle or annoyance will stop you in your tracks, even the slightest breeze will blow you off course, and you will run for cover at the first sign of trouble. Often thinking of all the reasons and excuses to why it’s not your fault.
But when you have a compelling reason for what you are doing, a reason that lights a fire under your butt, you can overcome far beyond what you think you’re capable of.
As Tony Robbins says, “With a strong enough ‘why’, you can overcome any ‘how.'”
2. How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything
If you can’t do the little things right you will never do the big things right ~Admiral McRaven
There is saying by the great philosopher Will Durant “You are what you repeatedly do, excellence, therefore, is not an action, but a habit“.
And truer words have yet to be spoken.
SEALs understand that how you do anything is how you will do everything.
Think about it.
If a SEAL candidate cannot handle the comparatively small physical stressors they face at BUDs, then how can their teammates rely on them when they need to carry a 200 lb. rucksack across 8 miles of enemy territory?
If a recruit is unable to successfully pass a Scuba test in the pool, then how can they be expected to successfully complete an underwater mission when lives are on the line?
If a trainee cannot become a proficient marksman while they are shooting at a gun range, then how the hell can anyone expect them to be a precise shooter whenever their targets are shooting back?
They can’t. And the instructors know this.
They know that they must elicit a high level of mastery from each trainee in the small day-to-day tasks so that when they face the huge task of defending their brothers in combat… they are ready for it.
And this principle is just as applicable in our everyday lives as it is in the fast-paced and dangerous world of special forces combat.
If you cannot be disciplined about budgeting your finances when you are making $45,000 a year, then how the hell do you expect to handle your money when you are making $85,000 a month?
If you land a small client and are unable to take care of them the way they deserve, then what makes you think you could properly handle a larger client?
If you can’t do the small things to improve your health every day (like sleeping 8 hours, eating well, and exercising) then how can you expect to handle real physical challenges when the time arises.
At the end of the day, the small tasks are what prepare you for big wins.
So take extreme pride in everything you do, no matter how small.
At the end of the day, you will be rewarded.
3. Discipline = Freedom
Discipline equals freedom ~ Jocko Willink
We all want freedom.
The freedom to do what we want, when we want, with who we want, how we want.
We want the freedom to wake up without an alarm clock, spend the day with people we love, and spend our time doing things that bring us joy and fulfillment.
But in order to achieve this level of freedom, you must first develop a high level of discipline.
Because without discipline, you will never take the consistent actions required to achieve true freedom.
If you want the freedom to wake up whenever you want, travel the world, and live a life of luxury, then you need to develop the discipline to wake up at 5 a.m., work on your business with laser-like focus, and reinvest every penny you earn into growing your dream.
If you want the freedom to date dozens of beautiful women, have an amazing sex life, and one day marry the woman of your dreams then you must develop the discipline to grow your social skills, get in uncomfortable situations, and eradicate your inner “Nice Guy” and become a stronger grounded man.
If you want the freedom to enjoy vibrant health and an impressive physique throughout the rest of your life, then you must develop the discipline to wake up early, go to the gym, and eat right.
You will never achieve freedom without discipline, it just doesn’t happen. The right book, youtube video or podcast can’t save you. All the information in the world will be useless until you develop discipline to do what needs to be done consistently over a long period of time.
You can start small, but what’s important is that you start.
So decide what it is that you want and what actions you must take each and every day to make them happen.
Then, with your plan in place, all that is left is for you to step up to the plate, put in the work, and have the discipline required to make it happen.
If you’d like support with this you can check out my upcoming online workshop on becoming a stronger grounded man so you can have more success in your life and relationships here.
4. Win the Morning, Win the Day
The test is not a complex one: when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed, or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win—you pass the test. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail.
I have interviewed nearly 400 high performing men on the Knowledge for Men podcast, and of those men, nearly every single spoke about the importance of having a morning routine.
Of the four Navy SEALs that I have interviewed every single one told me that winning their morning was the most important part of each day.
Cade Courtley touched on his morning coffee, journaling, and exercise.
Jocko Willink infamously created the “4 a.m. Club” a group of individuals on social media who are awake and working towards their goals by 4-430 every single morning.
Admiral McRaven talked about how the seemingly simple task of making his bed every single morning has radically transformed his life and productivity.
Mark Divine talked extensively about his morning routine of meditation, yoga, and deep internal work to help him get grounded before the chaos of the day.
Each of these elite warriors (who have now become very successful businessmen) follow a strict and unique practice each morning to help them get centered, grounded, and ready for the day.
Remember, if you want an amazing life, you need amazing months, weeks, and days. And to win the day, then you need to win your morning.
Win the morning, win your life.
5. The Art of Simplicity
“An embrace of simplicity offers another potent and liberating opportunity. It allows you to reduce the number of commitments, material possessions, and unsupportive relationships we burden ourselves with. These tend to clutter the mind and weigh you down.” ~Mark Divine
War is chaos.
Modern life can sometimes be chaotic.
Our days are filled to the brim with superfluous activities and things that burden our minds and distract us from what is truly important.
We are constantly distracted by social media, the comparison trap, news, politics, workplace drama, and pretty much everything except the things that we should be focused on.
And it shows….
Despite the relative ease and comfort of our modern lives, people are more anxious, depressed, and frustrated than ever before.
Workplace satisfaction is at an all-time low, divorce rates continue to rise, and male depression is a more prevalent issue each year.
We often think we need to be doing more and more like were not doing enough.
To combat the inherent complexity and inevitable stress of modern life, former SEAL Mark Divine suggests a “radical” solution.
Cut the crap. Get rid of the unnecessary distractions. Toss out any possessions that don’t bring value or joy into your life. Remove any obligations that aren’t truly serving your end goals.
Now, with less consuming your mind you have more energy to do what really matters to move the needle forward.
Your stress and problems will decrease as your results will increase.
In today’s world, less is more.
6. You Can’t Win the Battle Alone
You can’t change the world alone – you will need some help – and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them. ~Admiral William McRaven
In the SEALs, this lesson is driven home, and it’s driven home hard.
Trainees are pushed to the limits with physically demanding tasks that can only be completed through strategic teamwork with every single man pulling his own weight.
An entire class of candidates can be punished for the mistakes of one man.
This is done not only to weed out the weak and acknowledge the strong, but also to teach recruits a lesson that is vital to success in the teams and in life.
You cannot win the battle alone.
They are called the SEAL “teams” for a reason.
In a real world operation, one man’s mistakes can get an entire unit killed and one man’s heroism can save the lives of thousands.
Instructors know this and do their best to simulate this reality during training.
But outside of the SEALs?
Men feel more isolated and alone than ever before.
In fact, many men in the United States today would struggle to name a good friend that they could call during an emergency.
This is a tragedy and is cited by many experts as a leading reason for the prevalence of depression and suicide among young men. The suicide rate is indeed 4x higher in men than women.
Men are trying to do it all alone… And it’s killing them.
If you want to succeed at any endeavor whether it’s sculpting the ideal body, building a seven-figure company, or finding the woman of your dreams, you are going to need a team of men around you to help you, support you, and hold you accountable.
You need other men in your corner who can guide you and support you through the tough times when you feel like giving up and resorting to a life of mediocrity.
Because here’s a simple truth… Life is hard.
Becoming the strongest version of yourself isn’t easy either. And playing the game of life by yourself, you will not make it.
Period. You will wash out.
So before you move on to the last point in this article, I want you to think of different ways that you can surround yourself with the right men in your life.
Maybe you need to hire a coach. Or maybe you just need to reach out to some old friends and reignite your relationship.
Whatever you need to do, write it down and go make it happen because your future depends on it.
7. You Need to Constantly Challenge Yourself or You’ll Constantly Grow Weaker
You’ve gotta get your ass kicked every once in a while ~ Cade Courtley
When I interviewed Cade Courtley for the show, I asked him a question that he receives quite a bit.
“What is the common factor you see with men who succeed at BUDs and in the teams?”
Per the usual, he mentioned the importance of a strong “why” (see point 1), but what I didn’t expect was when he told me that most guys who succeeded were actually the guys who’d had their asses kicked their entire lives.
Men who’d suffered from childhood abuse, been bullied in schools, or suffered another similar trauma almost always lasted longer than the men who, despite their excellent physical condition, had never experienced true adversity.
And it makes sense when you think about it.
Who do you respect more, the man who inherited $10 million or the man who went bankrupt three times building his real estate empire and after pushing through when he thought about giving up reached a net worth of 10 million at the age of 45?
Who do you want to learn from? The man has always been good with women and regularly dates models or the man who was a social outcast his entire life and was forced to learn the nuances of social dynamics in order to achieve success with women?
Who would you rather have training you? Someone who was blessed with good genetics and always had a great physique, or the guy who was 200 lbs. overweight, reclaimed his health, and became a top-ranked physique competitor?
Men are naturally drawn to men who have faced adversity, men who have struggled, men who have gone through some real shit and come out on the other side victoriously.
The journey of ups and downs is what makes life worthwhile.
Because those are the men you can learn from, those are the men you want to spend time with, and at the end of the day, that’s what makes you a strong grounded man.
To most men, Navy SEALs appear to be gods walking among mere mortals.
They are strong, grounded forces of nature who seem to walk on water and do the impossible.
But after interviewing several of the most renowned SEALs on the planet, and getting to know several more on a personal level, I’ve realized something…
They’re just men like you and me.
Yes, they developed exceptional levels of discipline and self-mastery.
Yes, they have cultivated extreme work ethic and drive.
And yes, they have built themselves into the equivalent of a human weapon.
But at the end of the day, they did it through sheer power of will and an indomitable desire to succeed.
They look just like you and me – regular guys. They
weren’t born with any special talents, gifts, or abilities. They became who they were because they set a goal and worked to achieve it… Period.
And guess what?
You can do the same.
I believe what one man can do, another man can do.
So there is no reason why you can’t you can achieve any goal that you have set. You can overcome any obstacle in your path. You can become the kind of man who moves mountains, fills oceans, and builds empires.
But first, you must strategically develop yourself to become a stronger more grounded man, a man of action, courage and discipline.
For the men I interviewed, BUDs was a critical point in their lives that developed them into a stronger grounded men who could achieve any goal.
How will you do it?
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