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"Navy SEALs 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 reading that quote for the first time, I was inspired to learn more about the process in which Navy SEALs prepare, which led to an exploration of how one becomes a SEAL. I became obsessed with the process after a few articles and short videos.
SEAL training or BUD/S (Basic, Underwater, Demolition/SEAL) training lasts roughly 28 weeks and has a ~30% pass rate. ~30% of all people who start the process do not last longer than three weeks! Primarily because the 3rd week is the infamous hell week or, as most people 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 activities your mind believes you can accomplish. If you look at the 28-week program, it would be too overwhelming: daily 4-mile runs in boots, aquatic 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. Students who succeed in their class quickly learn the goal isn't getting through the 28 weeks. It's about the fundamentals of executing at a high level every evolution.
Very few programs on this planet 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.
When building a company, the high level of discipline during each phase, or better yet, each evolution, allows the creation of impact and value. Not to diminish long-term thinking, as every founder starts with a big goal. The same goes for an officer or enlisted member of the Navy. In the beginning, the goal was to become a SEAL. Still, as you progress through each evolution, your goal "evolves," and you increase your strength of getting through the evolution - the thing right in front of you.
I'm incorporating this mindset into my own life, professionally and personally. Every time I publish something, it reflects on a particular evolution I went through. As I mentioned in my first email, I want to be very opportunistic about my writing. Each post will undoubtedly be about an evolution that significantly impacted 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 is a constant reminder to focus on one-evolution-at-a-time.