When and if you go to selection, you’ll no doubt hear it was harder “back in the day.” Regardless of when you go, you can’t just wing it. Everything about selection is personal. There are trials where you’re working in teams, but it’s still a personal evaluation. There is no team, only individuals.

Beyond that, the rigors are predominately mental, because physically, you’ll meet your breaking point or close to it. It’s your ability to recalibrate and discover your personal happy place that will carry you to the end. However, getting to the end isn’t enough. It’s about how you finish, which is a mixture of your preparation and your mental resiliency.

You can certainly prepare, but the will to act, the ability to work through your worst frustration, is tough to prepare for. It’s an experience. It’s a great life experience—maybe one of my favorites. In all, I had a blast at selection. I don’t have a single negative thing to say about it. It’s up to you and no one else to succeed. There’s a lot of freedom in that.

If I went back to selection today, it would be a cinch. I’m far beyond anything I thought possible in terms of fitness and mental strength today compared to the man I was then. I was a kid. I prepared like anyone else. I rucked and ran, did push-ups and whatever else I felt I should. But it’s easy to get distracted by “Crossfit” and other en vogue training techniques. Selection isn’t a battlefield or an athletic venue. There’s no rest and there’s no bus ride home after the win or loss. It’s a test of endurance and an attempt to measure you in your entirety.

You’re going to need to run 5 miles at an 8:00 mile pace and ruck 18 miles at the infantry standard pace. There are no curveballs. The standard remains in tact. For pull ups, the army asks you to do 6. While selection standards might be secret – the army standards aren’t.

You can fail out of selection, but you can’t somehow not meet an invisible standards that is beyond the baseline standard. For example, if you do 8 pull ups and everyone else does 20 – you didn’t fail. It’s a data point and goes into a greater algorithm that’s both quantitative and qualitative. At the end, the board picks it’s selections. The PT Test, score a 270 or you’re probably going home.

If you can’t stomach working with people you do not personally like, don’t join SF. Most important, if you don’t see every problem as an opportunity – re-assess what your intentions by joining the regiment. It will never a simple mission brief and and execution. You’re more likely to eventually wade into the unknown, professionally.

Friends of mine who have sat the table for Tier 1 and SF selections have similar tales. It’s all about the board and your overall performance. Yes, it’s a race against the other. So when you’re running, try to be in the top third. But, remember you need to beat everyone – that should be your mentality. I know it’s confusing, but internatlize that and realize your top competition is yourself. Only you and your level of preparedness can flunk you from selection.