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Here’s Why Navy SEALs Training is So Difficult - and Some Lessons You Can Learn From It

The training program for the U.S. Navy SEALs is widely regarded as the toughest in the world. But for those who haven’t graduated from this rigorous bootcamp, the question has to be asked: why is it so hard?

Turns out, there are some great reasons why SEAL training is so difficult.

By understanding these reasons, we can take some lessons to apply in the civilian world as well:


The SEALs Are the Best of the Best

A very small proportion of people who enter SEAL training pass and actually become full-on Navy SEALs. This is intentional – SEAL training is so difficult because the organization only wants the best of the best.

For example, most SEAL classes have only around 10 or so recruits who graduate out of an initial class-size of around 150 to 200 officers. (Remember, the people in these classes are not “wet behind the ears” recruits. They’re already some of the top people in the U.S. Navy!)

In general terms, SEAL training can be thought of as a discovery process. It separates the proverbial "men from the boys".

The Lesson:

What can you learn from this? To be the best in your field, no matter what it is, you must go through the toughest training and learning process available. It’s not enough to just be excellent.

The truly best in any field are far above the others in their niche. This lesson extends into practically any industry, ranging from computer science to entrepreneurship to art and more.

SEALs Must Support Each Other

SEAL training isn’t about teaching every man to be for himself. It’s also a vigorous lesson on the importance of teamwork. SEAL classes often fail together if even a single person falls behind or does not complete a particular physical challenge.

As a result, SEAL trainees have a vested interest in making sure that their teammates complete the training as well. This is important for SEALs in the field too, of course, since they’ll need to rely on one another to complete their dangerous operations.

The Lesson:

We can take a big lesson from this aspect of SEAL training: that no man is an island unto himself. Indeed, the most worthwhile pursuits are usually undertaken with friends or allies.

SEAL training teaches us that teamwork is much more effective and valuable than even the “best” single person in a field or industry.

SEAL Training is 20% Physical, 80% Mental

There’s a saying among SEAL graduates as they caution new trainees about to enter the program: the work is 20% physical and 80% mental.

This sounds crazy at first – after all, isn’t SEAL training regarded as the toughest physical challenge the military has to offer?

Yes… but the way SEAL graduates beat these challenges is by fostering and harnessing extreme mental toughness that will get them through the toughest challenges they'll ever face. 

The Lesson:

In the civilian world, the lesson is clear: SEAL training demonstrates that mental fortitude is far and away more important than physical strength.

Breaking the barriers of the mind sets our capabilities skyrocketing.

Would you have what it takes to cut it as a Navy SEAL? The first step to any success is the belief that you can overcome any challenge, which is a good lesson we can apply to all areas of life.

While it may seem extreme, SEAL training epitomizes the core values of being an undefeatable warrior. We’re taking notes, and you should be too…

 Justin | Maine, USA