The Easy Way Out
Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, known as BUD/S, is a six month (minimum) crucible where warriors are forged from a series of physical and psychological tests that eliminate 7 out of every 10 individuals that attempt to make it through the gauntlet. To make it through, one has to have physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fortitude, or what I like to call resilience. Slogans such as; pay now or pay later, the only easy day was yesterday, and it pays to be a winner, are common fare at BUD/S. In short, there is no easy way out of the training, unless you want to quit or fake an injury. To make it through SEAL Training, or anything that is worthwhile in life, you need vision, discipline, and work.
Without vision, we are blind. This applies to both the physical as well as the psychological. Our vision gives us the clarity to see the world the way it manifests itself to us. Vision gives us the ability to see what is coming towards us, and gives us the chance to adjust our strategy to adapt to the future. Clarity of vision puts us in a position to succeed in the future. Vision gives us the time to plan and anticipate what the future will bring us. With the proper vision, we can “see” ourselves in a better position. Some have called this “playing the tape out” and visualizing what the future will bring. For good or bad outcomes, vision helps us to adjust present situations to affect the future. The incredible thing about vision is that we have the power to see the future. By having the correct vision about yourself, you can actually affect future events simply by willing them into existence. This is called a self fulfilling prophecy and can be a good thing as well as a bad thing, depending on what you visualize.
Discipline is the glue that holds humans accountable to each other. When you have discipline, you are essentially making a promise to yourself to properly execute your vision. The concept of discipline is forged in military operations and steadfast individuals who make it through difficult courses of training like college and trade school. When people are disciplined, they hold themselves accountable to their vision and don’t falter from it. They stay the course no matter what happens, and if they have to adjust their vision they do it in a methodical manner that involves a concept known as critical thinking. Critical thinking is a part of discipline where you analyze your thought process and find out what is the most effective way to solve a problem. Having the discipline to continue with a project must be coupled with the discipline to know when to adjust your aim and regroup. This is also called resilience. Discipline without resilience is wasted energy and often times leads to disappointing end results. Vision and discipline go hand in hand to create a targeted approach to achieving your mission.
Accomplishing anything worthwhile requires effort. This scares many people. You must go against the grain and against the path of least resistance if you want to succeed at anything. This applies to both SEAL training and life in general. The path of least resilience leads to complacency, laziness, and ultimate failure. Hard work that has been harnessed by proper vision and discipline will yield incredible results, both external and internal. External results are obvious. A safe place to live, food, and the tools and amenities that we need to survive and thrive are all part of the external results. Internal results are much more powerful. They include things like the internal satisfaction of doing a great job or helping someone who needs help. These are the internal, or intrinsic rewards of work that go far beyond the external rewards. That’s not to say that we don’t need external rewards. But external rewards without internal rewards lead to an empty existence filled with material possessions and an unfulfilled life. Concentrate only on money and you may get rich, but you will not be happy. Targeted hard work pays off in the long run. Getting through BUD/S took a lot of hard work to get through all the physical and mental tests, harassment, and pitfalls that filled the journey. But remember that getting through life requires more than just hard work. Work needs to be tampered with discipline and vision to properly be effective. The three concepts must work in concert with one another for the process of success and happiness to come together.
This week, don’t take the easy way out. If you have a choice between taking and elevator and the stairs, take the stairs. When you park your car, find the furthest parking space that you can find and walk. Take a cold shower. Walk that extra mile at night even though you don’t want to and are tired. Take a look at your work. Do you have the necessary vision and discipline to be successful? If not, then work on holding your self accountable for your actions (discipline) and looking into the future to see where you want to end up (vision). Hard work without vision and discipline can wear you down and lead you down a path of burnout. Above all, understand that you are human and that you will make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the deal; how you recover from them and move out is what really matters.