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“Navy SEAL’s train so hard because in times of stress you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to the lowest level of preparation.” - Some random person on the internet.
After discovering that I was inspired to learn more about the process in which Navy SEAL’s prepare, that led to an exploration on how one becomes a SEAL. A few articles and short videos later I became obsessed with the process.
SEAL training or BUD/S (Basic, Underwater, Demolition/SEAL) training lasts roughly 28 weeks. It has ~30% pass rate. In fact ~30% of all people who start the process do not last longer than 3 weeks! Primarily because the 3rd week is the infamous hell week or as most people like to call it, one really long day.
A part of the training stuck out to me: how SEAL Instructors teach the mindset needed to graduate BUD/S.
Seal Instructors use the term “Evolution” for each event in the SEAL training schedule. Instructors wanted to break down the 28 weeks into tangible events that your mind believes you can accomplish. If you looked at the entire 28-week program it would be too overwhelming (daily 4 mile runs in boots, underwater exercises in frigid water, endless pushups and pull-ups, etc…). After the first week, no one in their right mind would stick around for 27 more. However, if you change your mindset to think just One-Evolution-At-A-Time you can focus on just accomplishing what is right in front of you. The students that succeed in their SEAL class quickly learn that the goal isn’t getting through the 28 weeks, it’s about the fundamentals of executing at a high level every Evolution they put themselves through.
There are very few programs on this planet that spend as much thought and time molding the mindset of their future.
Conceptually, SEAL Training is analogous to startups and the entrepreneurial journey. Even the most successful startup founders when asked if they would go through the process again pause at great lengths and typically respond “Hell No.” But those same founders were the ones that had a canny ability to break down the process and focus on small tasks where the whole would become greater than the sum of its parts.
The high level of discipline during each phase (or better yet each Evolution) when building a company is what allowed the creation of so much impact and value. Not to diminish long-term thinking, as every founder starts off having a big goal. The same goes for an officer or enlisted member of the Navy. In the beginning, their goal was to become a SEAL, but as you progress through each Evolution, your goal “evolves" and you increase your strength of getting through the Evolution - the thing that is right in front of you.
I’m incorporating this mindset into my own life, professionally and personally, and every time I publish something, it will be a reflection on a particular Evolution I went through. As I mentioned in my first email, I want to be very opportunistic about what I write. Each post will undoubtedly be about an Evolution that had a significant impact on me. Maybe it’s sharing research into a particular industry that piqued my curiosity. It might be about a thesis I have for the future of technology and how it converges with other sectors, alongside how I developed that argument.
At the very least I hope this be a constant reminder to focus on One-Evolution-At-A-Time.