“From the time you take your first breath, you become eligible to die. You also become eligible to find your greatness and become the one warrior” David Goggins
Ever since I first heard former Navy Seal, David Goggins on Joe Rogan’s podcast, I’ve been a fan of his philosophy. Without truly knowing, his experiences have led him down the path of an almost warrior-type monk-like figure. I will be referencing his words throughout this article.
“The Buddha famously said that life is suffering. I’m not a Buddhist, but I know what he meant and so do you. To exist in this world, we must contend with humiliation, broken dreams, sadness, and loss. That’s just nature. Each specific life comes with its own personalized portion of pain. It’s coming for you. You can’t stop it. And you know it.” – David Goggins
His book, Can’t Hurt Me has left a profound impact on me. His story is one of extreme hardship, struggle, and vulnerability. His philosophy is about taking total accountability for your life and being honest with yourself.
We live in a day of self-help gurus galore, and while many of them share value, it’s refreshing to see a person expose his life, and show exactly how he became one of the toughest humans on earth.
Jocko Willink is another former Navy Seal who’s had a positive influence on me. I’m currently halfway through his book, Extreme Ownership. He’s used his experience in combat and created philosophies to help others fight the battle within and win. Leadership isn’t something that is solely restricted to our careers. It’s a torch we carry every moment we are breathing. The best way to lead is to be the example you wish to see in others.
I’ve adopted many Navy Seal philosophies into my life. When it comes to the way I conduct myself, I am highly critical and mindful not to push my own philosophies and practices onto others. This is simply what I do. It helps me train like a beast, and practice patience during tough situations. I’ve found their techniques beneficial and it may be something that you want to adopt into your life.
Before I share the 7 Navy Seal sayings, let me preface by stating that I wish we lived in a world where there was no war. My wish may be just a pipe dream because humans have always waged war with each other, but I still hope. Is there any value in my hope? I don’t know, but still, I will. However, at the same time, I am grateful to those that have served this country because without their ultimate sacrifice the opportunities that have been given to me and those I love and cherish wouldn’t be possible.
Let’s get to the Navy Seal sayings!
1. The only easy day was yesterday
Today I woke up at 5:30 am. My current location is Susanville, CA, a small town where about 1/3 of the town is employed by either one of the two state prisons. It was 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius). At the break of dawn, I went to the local park to begin a three-mile run, followed by one hundred burpees. Guess what? None of this matters now.
Every day is a new challenge and a new battle. When I look at life this way, I am not so concerned about yesterday. What I do now is more important than anything, and consistency is what pushes the envelope.
Being disciplined is not easy, but I’ve found the easiest way out of procrastination is bringing action to life. It doesn’t matter what the mission or goal is. Sometimes we need to get out of our own way and just do the things we need to do. Sometimes we overthink too much. I know I do.
2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
“Seek out pain, and fall in love with suffering. So I sought out pain, fell in love with suffering, and eventually transformed myself from the weakest piece of shit on the planet into the hardest man God ever created, or so I tell myself. ” – David Goggins
Whether it’s enduring physical exercise, taking cold showers, limiting processed foods, meditating, or journaling, my reasons for these practices are rooted in being in harmony with life, and not in the temporary voices in my mind.
Engaging in too much behavior that is driven by pleasure is a never-ending loop. Meaning you can never have too much. I am finding that progress is putting action toward things that aren’t easy.
We live in a pleasure-driven society where conveniences are everywhere, but there is something beautiful about testing yourself voluntarily in these challenging but safe ways. It’s not easy to change old behaviors, and you may ask yourself, why be uncomfortable?
For me, it’s preparation.
Preparation for those that I will lose one day.
It’s preparation for helping my wife overcome her health struggles so she can make a difference with her organization, Exposing Mold. I look at our current situation as a tactical mission we are trying to solve and complete.
It’s preparation so I can reach my own personal goals and in the process leave this giant rock better than I found it.
It’s also preparation so when life hands me a shit sandwich because we will all get them here and there, I’m able to check my emotions and bring compassion, and resiliency into whatever mission is at hand and be someone that others can count on.
You may have your own reasons. Let them guide you as you embark on a daily love affair with pain.
3. Don’t run to your death.
Seals are trained to be put in comprised situations where restraint, emotional intelligence, and methodical thinking are integral. The saying, “Don’t run to your death,” means assessing situations thoroughly before acting on them.
While we may not be in combat, we can incorporate this saying into our lives. You may have a challenging situation with a family member, losing a job, or the 101 other things that life presents.
Having restraint in tough situations and thinking through things before responding and acting on them can save a lot of energy. It also gives you an opportunity to exercise compassion, which we desperately need more in the world.
4. All In, all the time.
Hell week occurs in the 4th week of a 26-week three-phase training known as BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL). Hell Week forces potential Navy Seals to run more than 200 miles, often with heavy rubber boats on their heads (known as Boat Crews), swim endless miles, and do hours of physical training, all the while being cold, wet, sandy, and sleep-deprived. It’s the ultimate test of endurance for the mind and body. While this is grueling, this is just the beginning of what these courageous beautiful men and women go through.
All in, all the time means attacking what is in front of you all the time. A colloquial term is simply being, present.
What’s in front of me is the only thing happening in my world, so why not devote all my attention to it?
Many times, our monkey mind wants to seek out what happened yesterday and what may happen tomorrow, but this is pointless the majority of the time.
Being present is focusing on whatever you are doing. It may be something as mundane as looking for cheaper car insurance, or something exhilarating like reading this (joke). However, it shouldn’t matter what the task is, we should devote all our focus and attention to it.
When I played high school basketball, our coach would always say, “Leave it on the court.” We were aggressive. We would play every minute like it was the last. At the end of the game, we shook hands with the other team, no matter how much blood was spilled on the court and said good game.
The game of life is similar to this. We must give everything we got until we can’t give any more.
“Mediocrity and moderation won’t get the job done.” – Brent Gleeson
5. Uncompromising integrity is my standard
I end with this Navy Seal saying because I feel integrity is one of the most important traits a person can have. Integrity is behaving honorably, with moral and ethical principles even when no one is watching. Some attributes of integrity are dependability, loyalty, honesty, good judgment, and respect.
Having integrity takes work.
It’s showing up for those we love.
It’s being completely honest with ourselves. It’s asking questions like, am I making the most of my potential? Am I being kind? Can I be better?
Having integrity is showing love and respect to everyone we encounter. We may have differences of opinion. We may disagree on issues.
However, when I see others, I see kindred spirits walking through this short journey of life trying to make sense of it and in this, we are one.
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