First off, let me preface this article with the fact that I definitely don’t think I’m some gift from God that has come down from the heavens to judge others and act like I know everything. I do feel very fortunate and lucky to have accomplished and experienced the things that I have so far in my life. Most guys here at SOFREP have a whole lot more military and life experience than I do, I’m sure they could teach me a thing or two. I just wanted to throw that out there and let everyone know that I’m not standing on my soapbox as I write this. This article stems from my own experiences, challenges, and failures and I think everyone can probably relate to it.
On occasion, people have asked me how hard SWCC training was and how I got through it. They were pretty much asking how I coped with freezing my ass off, getting sand in places it should never be, and getting screamed at and berated for months on end. I also got hurt right at the end of the selection phase and as a result had to repeat the whole phase over again, which was pretty frustrating. So, to answer these peoples’ questions about my success in training, I came up with a pretty straightforward response: “Once I decided I wasn’t going to quit, things got a whole lot easier”.
Now, this may sound like a trivial and slightly cliché response, but for me, this mindset has made overwhelming challenges a whole lot easier to cope with. During training, so many guys would quit and within an hour they would completely regret it and want back in. I was always so confused by this. Didn’t they know the training evolution was going to come to an end? It’s not like they were going to kill us. I felt as though this impulsive action stemmed from an internal struggle.
So many guys would convince themselves that if they quit, they could still go get another “cool” job in the Navy or maybe they could just get out altogether. By justifying to themselves that they could quit, they gave themselves a way out. Unbeknownst to them, their compromising mentality made them weak, and when push came to shove, they gave up. Now, needless to say, we don’t really want those types of people in the special operations community anyways. But, I do think if some guys had been a little more mentally determined, they never would have quit and they would’ve made it to the boat teams.
Sometimes quitting is the easiest route, but rarely is it rewarding. Even during a hard workout, it is so easy to just want to cut it short. But, when you press through and finish, you feel so much better for it and have a great sense of accomplishment. Accomplishing small challenges like this helps gear your mind for the larger challenges that life very well may throw your way. It is important to see things through, even when it becomes overwhelming and downright miserable. The reward is almost always worth the misery.
A no-quit attitude has a place for everyone, for all walks of life. If you’re reading this and you’re about to enter a special operations training pipeline, I highly recommend you take this tidbit of advice and hang onto it. For the rest of us, this mentality can be applied on a daily basis to help keep us all a little more motivated and to be help us be the best we can be. Okay, now I’m going to step down from my soapbox.