Lessons Learned from Studying Olympians and Navy Seals

The Olympians and Navy Seals have much to teach about winning, perseverance, and overcoming.  That’s because they undergo extreme duress, whether in world-class competition or on a battlefield.  I study these high achievers because life poses battlefields and challenges.  I believe the end goal is to arrive at a place of love.  However, you may opt for a different end goal, and whatever goal you have in mind is best.  Simply substitute your goal when applying the following philosophies and tactics.

First, we can accomplish infinitely more than we realize.  In fact, there is no limit to what we can achieve.  It just takes the desire, dedication, and discipline.  Mentorship and coaching can help launch our dreams into reality, too.  Whatever we truly want, it’s there for us to strive for.  And that’s where the real fun lies: in the striving, not necessarily the achievement, although success begets success.  Interestingly, failure (coupled with determination) begets success, too.

Second, take challenges and extra tasks with a Navy Seal can-do attitude.  For instance, I was tasked with extensive cleaning while working, exercising, and taking two online courses.  So, I downloaded a cleaning app called Tody, and instead of resting during breaks, I cleaned.  I cleaned in the morning, in the afternoon, and often in between.  Then, I’d look at my app and knock the next cleaning item off.   Now, I love the thrill of cleaning in bursts.  But it’s important to keep stretching the limits.  That’s because no matter what we achieve today, we can do more tomorrow.

Our thinking is similar.  There is no limit on how efficiently we can hone our thinking.  If Von Neuman or child prodigies exist, that implies that thought has a very high, arguably limitless, upper band of potential.

Third, we can recharge with ice-cold showers.  Try taking ice-cold showers instead of drinking coffee or resting.  The ice-cold showers boost energy for several hours, which is beneficial for students with autoimmune conditions.

Fourth, we can strive to have good posture and breathing form.  This way, we won’t get injured or knocked out of the game if faced with extreme conditions.  For instance, studying at our desks with good posture and a steady flow of breaths will help us sustain a comfortable position for extended periods.  But on the other hand, bad posture and bad breathing techniques will cause us to have a higher prevalence of aches and pains, plus adversely impact our psychologies.

Fifth, compete with ourselves by not getting attached to praise or blame, wins or losses.  Competing with ourselves allows us to freely love our opponents.  We can feel happier even in the face of failure.  We can grow instead of fret when things don’t quite materialize as we hope.  And we can set standards as high as we dream instead of striving for someone else’s measure.  In short, competing with ourselves feels good.

Sixth, don’t go so hard on exercise that we barely perform at work or school the next day.  For instance, I exercised so hard at night that I had very little energy the next day at work.  So, I reluctantly cut out a good portion of cardio, and as a result, I had more power the next day at work.  The Navy Seals say it is not productive to kill ourselves in the gym if we’re too spent to complete our mission the next day.  Instead, find the right balance where we train hard and perform the next day at peak.

Seventh, when we feel pain, make minor adjustments.  And harness our pain into love, not aggression.  (The Navy Seals say to harness pain into aggression, but I believe love is the ultimate choice.  You might have another view, which is the correct one.)

Eight, never quit!  If being told we’re not good enough causes us to stop, we need to control our minds.  That’s because it takes work to arrive where we are today.  But there are many consequences to quitting, too, such as loss of wealth, health, relationships, or opportunities.  So aim to persevere at all costs.

Lastly, winning is a conscious decision.  It takes perseverance through extreme hardship.  We can choose to fail by giving up.  Or we can overcome, learn life lessons, and triumph.  This means it’s vital to find any excuse under the sun to win, even a simple mantra like, “I was born to win!” Even a smile and the words, “Oh well!  Keep going!”  What we say to ourselves matters.  To claim the prize, we must persevere, which can be aided by positive self-talk.

If the Navy Seals and Olympians can overcome, persevere, and win despite extreme hardships, we can too.  And if some of the greatest thinkers in history can invent calculus, computing, and many other accomplishments, we can do that as well!  Ideas are not limited to a restricted class.  We have everything it takes.  In fact, there is no limit to how much we can grow.