Make it to the Next Meal
What could be more difficult than Navy Seals training? I doubt much.
And nothing is easier to quit. All you have to do is ring the bell.
So how do the few who make it, do it?
In all three books I read, all of the men used the same strategy. They focused on making it to the next meal.
They didn’t know for sure if they could get through all of the training. They didn’t know if they could make it through the next week. They didn’t know if they could even make it through the day.
And of course, they didn’t know for sure they could make it to the next meal, but it did seem possible. The Navy doesn’t purposefully starve the sailors.They keep them well fed. They won’t kill you, they only try to make you wish you were dead.
In Navy Seals training there only two guarantees. One is that it will be impossibly hard. The second is that you will get to eat.
And the next meal is coming. Not even the instructors can stop time.
In the early morning, they focused on making it to breakfast. If it was after breakfast, they struggled through to lunch. In the afternoon, they fought their way to dinner.
And that’s the secret.
Actually, it turns out not to be much of a secret at all. The instructors even tell the sailors this. They give them advice on how to survive, but still so few do it.
When faced with the task of all of the training, it would quickly overwhelm. Who can do all of that?
But it helped them to focus on finishing what they were being asked do at that very moment. They didn’t plan for tomorrow. They didn’t even plan for later that day. They only focused on now.
They focused on putting one foot in front of the other. They focused on breathing. They focused on holding their breath. They focused on running faster. They focused on swimming. They focused on surviving.
And they had to let go of what they thought it would be like some day to be a Navy Seal. And then become a survivor. A do’er of the now. An eater of breakfast or lunch or dinner.
And in the middle of the mess, the current step is more than enough.
Letting Go of the Ending
When we choose our own story, far too often we begin by writing the ending. Our dreams are wrapped up in what we want the story to become eventually. We are more in love with the fairy tale ending than we are with who we must become.
We want all of the recognition, but none of the becoming. We want the rewards, but not the process.
And then, in the middle of the mess, the story becomes difficult. The outcome is uncertain. Obstacles come out of no where. Impossible situations develop that need to be overcome. And guess what happens? We give up. We ring the bell.
When trying to write a better story there is one simple way to keep moving forward. Focus on the next thing. Focus on what you have to do today. Focus on the now.
And let go of the future. Stop worrying about whether or not anybody will hear about your story. Forget about awards. Let go of recognition.
The process itself is the focus. The work is what you need to do. You need to live in the now. You need to make it to the next step. Nothing more.
Letting Go Allows us to Become
Who we want to become stands in the way of what we need to do to become.
Which is better? To be given the title of a Navy Seal? Or to be the person who pushed through? To be one of the few who didn’t ring the bell?
Of course, for those who do push through, specific training soon follows. And in the case of the Seals, they become the best in the world at it. But only because they first became Navy Seals.
For you to become who you want to be, you first have to become. And the only way any of us will change is through pain.
Nobody changes by drinking coffee, eating donuts, and staying warm.
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