A Navy SEAL Reveals 8 Secrets To Grit And Resilience

USA Navy Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training

What can the USA Navy SEALs and research teach us about getting through life’s tough times? James Waters, a former SEAL Platoon Commander, offers the following:

1) Purpose And Meaning
Without a good reason to keep pushing, we’ll quit. Studies of “central governor theory” show our brains always give in long before our body does.

2) Make It A Game
What’s one of the things people who live through disaster scenarios have in common? They make survival a game. The best way to deal with stress is to see problems as challenges, not threats.

3) Be Confident — But Realistic
Lack of confidence isn’t an option but neither is denial. Hope and despair can be self-fulfilling prophecies.

4) Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Marathons aren’t as hard after a few months of training. But if you had to run one tomorrow you’d probably cry. Who survives catastrophic scenarios? The people who have prepared. Reducing uncertainty reduces fear.

5) Focus On Improvement
When you frame things as a win/lose scenario and they don’t go well, you’re a loser. And so you quit. When you take the perspective that everything is a learning experience, there are no winners or losers. And you just keep getting better.

A “growth mindset” (believing abilities aren’t fixed and you can improve) is a key element of success. Focus on your weaknesses, not your strengths. Debrief after the completion of a mission; determine what you could do better next time.

6) Give Help And Get Help
By giving help we increase the feeling of meaning in our lives. This helps people in the worst situations keep going.

7) Celebrate Small Wins
Taking a moment to appreciate the little good things that happen is more motivating than thinking you need to win that Nobel Prize before you’re allowed to be happy.

8) Find A Way To Laugh
Humor provides a powerful buffer against stress and fear.

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