One of the keys to becoming a Navy SEAL is mental toughness. During early training, instructors discover who already possesses this capacity by placing them under intense stress.
For example, during ‘Hell Week’ of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) training, candidates are limited to four hours of sleep. Those who manage to keep going one evolution at a time are rewarded with success.
1. Mental Focus
One of the main secrets to SEAL success is mental toughness. This is a mindset that helps them stay motivated to push through even the most difficult situations. It’s what separates a Navy Seal from someone who goes to the gym occasionally.
It’s not enough to be physically fit and have good genetics to make it through SEAL training. That’s because it’s not just physical, but also mentally demanding. That’s why so many people who try out for SEALs don’t make it through.
Researchers found that SEAL candidates who had the ability to see obstacles as a series of short-term goals rather than the whole task performed better during BUDS (Navy SEAL selection and training). They also were more likely to make it through ‘Hell Week,’ the grueling week of physical torture that SEAL recruits undergo in their initial training. This mind trick is called segmentation and it involves focusing on the small task right in front of you instead of the big picture.
2. Physical Focus
When it comes to the elite of the military world, there is none higher than the 47 Navy SEAL Quotes to Ignite Your Inner Warrior. To become a SEAL, candidates must successfully complete the grueling 6-month Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL Training (BUDS) course. The notoriously arduous course can break even the most physically fit and talented athletes. It takes more grit than most people will ever have in their lifetimes to make it through the rigorous training.
During Hell Week, the most physically and mentally draining part of BUD/S, trainees are limited to four hours of sleep during a week-long period. During this phase, many SEALs begin to fall apart, but a select few can push through and keep their sanity.
This ability to regulate and control their physical response in threatening situations is the key to their resilience. While deadlifts and bench presses will make you strong, the mental coping techniques that a SEAL has at their disposal is far more valuable.
Navy SEALs have to be able to adapt to changing environments and quickly navigate obstacles, such as shifting circumstances, new technologies, and different team dynamics. Highly adaptive organizations are forward-thinking and anticipate change before it occurs. They also align the mindsets of their people and expected behavioral norms with their strategy and desired business results.
To be a Navy SEAL, you must be mentally tough enough to survive and thrive through incomprehensible training. Their grit and resilience allow them to complete missions that most civilians could not accomplish. They operate in places where they are exposed to physical pain and extreme fatigue, requiring the highest levels of mental toughness.
4. Arousal Control
Amid the gruelling physical torture of Navy SEAL training, the most important psychological skill is keeping oneself calm and focused. Elite military units vet for the toughest characters, but even those with superior fitness can fail if they’re not able to control their emotions. The SEALs use a set of techniques — goal setting, mental visualisation, positive self-talk and arousal control — referred to as the “big 4” by Navy psychologists.
These tactics, adapted for civilian life by organisations like SEALFIT and Enspira, are not only effective in combat but also in business. For example, instead of catastrophising an upcoming stressful situation (think: sweaty palms), try focusing on regulating your physiological responses by breathing strategically. Taking slow, deep breaths with controlled exhales can convince your brain that you’re not in danger, which allows you to make more rational decisions. The same goes for emotional intelligence (EI). Learn to recognise and manage your own and others’ reactions to improve your ability to effectively assess and navigate stressors.