Summary of “The way of the SEAL”: The book, based on the experience of Navy SEALS (the special forces that neutralized Osama Bin Laden in 2011), provides the key to developing outstanding mental power, as well as excelling in both your personal and professional life.
By Mark Divine and Allyson Edelhertz Machate, 2013, 224 pages
Original title: “The Way Of The Seal – Think Like An Elite Warrior To Lead and Succeed”
Note: This guest column was written by Thierry Payet from the “Se Coacher” blog whose goal is: “enhance your paradigm for a new life”.
Book chronicle and summary of “The Way of the Seal”
What are the tangible benefits having read this book?
You will learn to achieve any goal by using the tactics and strategies of the elite Navy SEAL warriors.
The way of the SEAL offers insights from a former officer based on his service training.
Using his own training experience, the author devises a set of strategies that everyone can use to define their goals and become a true leader.
You will learn to sharpen your concentration and develop the necessary tactics to carry out your endeavours, whether personal or business-related.
Part 1: For a meaningful life, define a goal
Each individual is unique, but it is not our skin colour, body, or language that differentiates us: it is our soul – our significance, what we are.
Within our souls, we have unique values that are our own, which give our lives meaning.
For example, when you need to be sure which profession to adopt, these vital indicators, like a lighthouse in the dead of night, guide your path.
So, how do you find your inspiring goal?
First off, take a stand and decide what won’t be compromised.
- What would you do if you only had one year left to live?
- What would you do if a terrorist attack shook your city?
- And what would you do if you won the lottery?
- On a weekend, how would you choose between a friend needing your help with a house move or a planned family trip to the cinema followed by a restaurant?
Now think about your answers – they say a lot about your own personality traits.
If your friend asks you for help, and you say “sorry, I have something else planned,” it demonstrates quite simply that you are selfish and that you do not have team spirit.
This process is essential because you will learn what drives you deep down and what needs improvement.
For example, Mark Divine’s position is: “I will find peace and joy by seeking truth, wisdom, and love, not by pursuing thrills, fortune, titles or even fame.”
Knowing what values cannot be compromised, helps shape ones life so that it makes sense.
In fact, he quits a Senior Accountant position (CPA certified public accountant) with a comfortable salary because he had compromised his sincerity for it.
He decides to join the army and risk his life in order to match the strong vision he has of his life.
Secondly, define your values.
Personally, after an accident at a pedestrian crossing where I almost lost the use of my legs, I discovered that my values are:
- Wisdom and authenticity
- Learn continually
- Help others by having a positive effect
- Be grateful for life, take nothing for granted
On the other hand, values that do not resonate for me are:
- Judging others and vilification
Thirdly, understand your mission in life.
Your goal is to answer this question: what do I most want to do with my life?
Knowing your life goal allows you to:
- break down the necessary steps into different elements
- overcome obstacles
However, if you do not pursue your goal, it will be difficult for you to accomplish anything in your life.
For example, on the first day of SEAL training, designed to test the physical and psychological endurance of the candidates, Mr. Divine was able to appreciate the day despite the extreme demands.
However the man he was paired with could not engage with this positive approach. He struggled in vain, and in the end gave up.
Mark Divine asked him what happened; the latter confessed that he did not want to become a SEAL, but that his dream had always been to be a veterinarian.
So how did Mark Divine succeed despite the terribly difficult challenges reserved for aspiring SEALs?
A simple answer: Mark Divine had clearly identified his goal, while his partner had not.
Part 2: Control your mind for sharper concentration
During their training, Navy SEALS learn to keep their main mission in mind, and they call this front-sight focus.
They know they have to approach one target at a time, and stay focused on it until it is neutralized.
The front-sight focus is not only essential in combat – where it is a matter of life or death – but also in your daily life for your own projects.
In fact, all our goals require great concentration so that we can accomplish them, and the great achievements are only possible when we clearly identify those goals and achieve them successively, one single goal at a time.
Imagine that you want to start a business and that you have several goals to accomplish simultaneously:
- reduce your costs
- know your market
- launch your new products/services.
You can try to perform several tasks at once but the inherent lack of concentration will lead to inefficiency.
It would be better to use front-sight focus and concentrate on one immediate goal, then move on to the next, in order to achieve each sub-target more efficiently.
But front-sight focus is not instinctive.
In order to practice front-sight focus, you must first have control of your mind.
You startby learning to ignore external influences or distractions, so you can focus on one goal.
One way to get there is through the practice of deep conscious breathing and silence.
Deep conscious breathing naturally brings you back to the present moment, so you avoid distractions.
Practicing deep conscious breathing regularly will help you focus on your main mission.
The silence, meanwhile, delivers a mental space of pure clarity in order to think with lucidity.
For example if you work in an office, collaborators’ discussions and laptop ringtones are the mental distractions that will insidiously break your concentration.
One way to overcome this is to go outside and find a quiet place like a park where silence will allow you to take the reins of your mind, and create the opportunity to fully refocus on your goal.
For the one who masters it, the mind is the best friend; but for those who fail, it becomes the worst enemy.
Note: you may be interested in “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papas an who promote the effectiveness of doing one thing at a time.
Part 3: build a strong mind
Turn your weaknesses into strengths
Naturally in life, you will be confronted with several things that will make you doubt, scare you, make you feel that you cannot do it; that is human nature.
So the right question to ask is:
“What is the best way to best manage these challenges in order to lead the life you want?”
Genu is is 1% talent, 99% work.
Yes, you have to work hard to overcome your weaknesses and build a strong personality.
We are naturally afraid of what could hurt us and our actions reflect this aversion to risk on a daily basis.
Most prefer to stay in their comfort zones.
For example, you achieve a master’s degree that guarantees 42 years of plodding 9-5 work, with a 2.55% salary increase per year. And all this delivers no real daily fulfillment because almost two thirds of French people do not like their work.
Although we can understand this strategy, it does have its limitations.
In reality, you can accomplish much more than you think by going beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone.
An Executive, climbing a mountain, overcame his fear of the summit.
During his ascent, he panicked, slipping on many occasions and grabbing his rope.
Instead of calling for help, his coach said, “Stop yelling,” and he focused on overcoming his fears.
Instead of panicking, he was able to calm down and better manage his anxiety, and came out much stronger from this challenge.
Another example is a SEAL once explained that he was always afraid of parachuting, but that in order to overcome his fear, before every jump he thought of his main mission, that of serving his country and saving human lives.
In service, he completed more than ten thousand jumps.
In order to excel at overcoming your weaknesses, cultivate three essential virtues:
- Discipline creates habits, a habit to dominate your fears and anxieties.
- Motivation is the energy underlying habits, it is the belief that you can achieve your goals, it is the image of a better self, triumphant in the face of all adversities
- Determination is your commitment to fulfilling your mission; in spite of the obstacles and contingencies that will pop up along the way, you work hard to achieve the goals you have set
These virtues are used by elite warriors, some of whom, after retiring, have become businessmen, cardiologists, or brokers.
Now you can use them to overcome your fears and extend your field of possibilities.
If you are afraid of water, start in a small pond, swimming small lengths.
Then, day after day, you progress to the point where you are able to swim in a large deep pool until you can swim longer and longer distances by managing your fears.
You will be triumphant thanks to your daily discipline, motivation and determination.
Develop your mental strength by rejecting fear by using positive internal dialogue
Those who have mental strength are the first to face any challenge and the last to throw in the towel.
They never give up, they face challenges of all types with a smile.
How do you cultivate your mental strength?
To build a strong mind, you need to take control of your thoughts.
Positive internal dialogue is a key strategy to put in place.
There are two ways to talk to oneself:
- either you let the fear invade you, and you speak negatively by telling yourself that you are worthless.
Example, “I am useless, or” I will never make it, others can, but I cannot”, this type of internal dialogue weakens you, so you maintain fear.
- or you arm yourself with courage, decide to have better self-esteem and you say to yourself: “I can do it”, “I am a winner“, “I will get there”, “I am doing well”, this type of internal dialogue strengthens you, and you gradually eliminate fear.
By rejecting fear and showing courage, you will gain the strength to respond appropriately to any type of situation.
Next,to continue to reinforce yourself mentally, emotional control is also necessary.
It is clear that emotions act on both a mental and physical level.
Let’s look at a couple of everyday emotions:
- anger stiffens the muscles.
- fear causes a contraction of the diaphragm, breath shortens, the brain is less oxygenated, you are less lucid mentally, your physical performance is impaired.
For example, during his military training, one of Mark Divine’s teammates loses a tooth. Without thinking, he gets angry about the error that led to this incident. His muscles are tensing and his performance is diminishing.
So, becoming aware of the impact of negative emotions, he decides to channel his anger into determination, which gives him the strength to get through the training session faster.
Part 4: listen to your intuitions for great achievements.
Have you ever had the intuition that something bad was about to happen, and that the course of events went on to confirm it?
This intuition comes from your unconscious and knowing how to communicate with this part of your mind, is of great value.
In order to exploit the power of your unconscious, be fully aware of things around you that are filtered by your senses.
To achieve this, slow down your physical pace and collect information through your senses – smell, sight, hearing, touch, taste.
Your unconscious receives all this sensory data and exploits it so that you develop a better understanding of your environment in order to make the right decisions.
For example, when chatting with a person, your ears will not store the words, but they will pick up on the intonation of the voice that transmits the emotional state of the individual who is in front of you.
In addition, by using sight, you can more effectively observe the body language of that person. Your unconscious will compare this incoming data and send a message to your conscious.
Another example, in golf; on command, Tiger Woods can connect his best shots to a state of hypnotic trance.
He developed this skill of easily connecting with his unconscious, after extensive work with sports psychologist-hypnotherapist, Dr. Jay Brunza.
This champion says “I tend to get memory loss, I know I was there but in reality I do not remember hitting the golf ball”
For full access to the hidden resources of your unconscious, you should use the following two techniques:
- The first is an acute awareness of your environment that allows your conscious mind to be fully engaged in gathering information.
- The second is to have a relaxed consciousness by not focusing on anything special, just an overview of what is happening.
Repeatedly using these two types of consciousness will allow information to move from the conscious to the unconscious, and from the unconscious to the conscious in the form of strokes of genius or inspirations.
Albert Einstein used this technique by taking a nap after a period of acute concentration.
The majority of his insights emerged after his naps.
Now you can duplicate this system so that your unconscious is a great source of inspiration, so long as you use all your senses to optimises to rage and information processing,in order to better address your environment.
You have taken a big step because now you know how to structure your mind for success.
Coming up, we will take a deeper look at these tools in order to achieve your goal.
Part 5: Entrepreneurship
Build a strong business by spending on smart ideas
Do you know that 95% of start-ups fail after the first five years?
Because the business world is extremely changeable, new technologies quickly make your products obsolete and your investors can drop you along the way.
What is the best way to manage these risks?
Although you can’t avoid all risks, you can develop a more resilient business by choosing high-value targets.
This procedure helps you allocate your resources more effectively, and this is done by understanding what is essential.
You can evaluate the value of a target using the acronym FITS (appropriate fit, importance, good timing and simplicity):
- Is your target aligned with your team’s skills?
- Is it important to fulfill your overall mission?
- Whether is it the right time to approach the target?
- Is it clear and simple or rather complex?
Imagine that you are running a company that develops technologies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions of diesel engines.
You are ethical of course, and you would not ask your teams to write fraudulent software to prejudice control tests;-)…
You can therefore use the FITS tool to evaluate the relevance of your project.
Then you can ask yourself the following questions:
- Are my teams qualified to install and implement this new technology?Are my employees cut out (fit) for the job?
If not, do the benefits of this new technology outweigh the cost of training teams?
- Will it help your business to be more competitive? Is this important?
- Is this the right time to make these changes?
Does my company have the resources to achieve this goal?
- Finally, is the project simple enough to be done efficiently?
If the answer is no to any of the above, you should reconsider and work out whether it is worth launching your technology to reduce the carbon emission rate of diesel engines.
If you have decided to launch the project regardless, you run the risk of having trouble dealing with the unexpected.
Because you have allocated your budgets to the wrong thing(s).
If a product does not work, deconstruct it and make improvements
Sometimes you have so much of yourself invested in your ideas and in your creations that you have trouble letting go, even if it is vital.
Instead of making corrections to a defective product until it works, deconstruct it and build another.
Even if your product fails along the way, do not be upset, quite the contrary, see it as an opportunity to learn from your past mistakes.
For example, in the United States, the Body Rev fitness product was unsuccessful because it was too complicated to use and targeted the wrong niche market.
Instead of trying to make his initial product simpler or to find a new niche to sell it, he decided to create a new simple product, the perfect push-up.
The creator learned from his mistakes by releasing a simple product and targeting a lucrative niche.
Innovation separates leaders from followers.
It is best not to wait until failure occurs to make improvements.
Instead, think innovatively about how to create better quality products.
One way to do this is to apply bench marking study and analysis to your organisation (quality, productivity, speed, deadlines, ROI return on investment, work methods, customer feedback…) in order to evaluate your strengths and the areas that need improving.
“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created”Albert Einstein
Indeed, even if you enjoy relative success with a range of products, use customer complaints as a source of inspiration to create innovative products that address their current issues,so you retain them as customers.
You are not looking to sell them your product, but by listening carefully, you innovate by proposing solutions that meet their real expectations, and purchasing happens naturally.
If you do not, competitors will do it instead and you will lose your position as market leader.
Always be in offensive mode
There are always conflicts in life, in business or in private.
You must be prepared for these conflicts when they arise.
Repeating a defensive mode until it becomes a reflex is not very effective.
Mark Divine, with his elite military field experience and as a business leader (with a multi-million dollar turnover), knows that everyday success is about continually taking initiatives.
In fact, in offensive mode, you drive the pace of the battle and your competitors will do whatever it takes to follow you.
Thus, the way you express yourself portrays your offensive or defensive attitude.
This impacts on the creativity of the teams you manage.
“Maybe”, “try”, “fail”… portray uncertainty and doubt.
On the other hand, if you use “we tackle this challenge with a smile”, “we will grow from this”, “I enforce my strengths”, your organisation will be stronger and more motivated.
If you reinforce these new assertive habits by using words and body language (the latter representing80% of communication), you will master both your professional and personal relationships.
Leadership is not a question of skill, but rather of character.
In addition, offensive mode has the advantage of the element of surprise and will keep your competitors on their toes.
The modern world has seen significant transformation, in particular digitisation. In order to survive, your ability to react quickly is essential.
For example, at the time of writing this article, PayPal, Apple with its contactless payment chip, Google, and non-banks, have entered the niche market of payment methods.
These innovative companies are gradually starting to take market share from traditional banks that have not been able to adapt to technological developments.
“Success is a bad teacher, it makes intelligent people think that they can’t fail.” Bill Gates
For some time now these banking institutions have been struggling to change their status quo, which dominates them entirely.
In this regard, you may be interested in a book entitled “The End of Banks?” by Philippe Herlin, Eyrolles Publishing.
Stagnation, the opposite of initiative, is detrimental to the development of your business.
If you are on the offensive, you are able to lower your competitors’ guard, taking advantage of their slow defensive reactions and get some big wins.
Note: this is law no.16 of the “22 Laws of Marketing” chronicled in this blog.
The fundamental principles of “The Way of the Seal:
- Set a goal
- Control your mind for sharpened concentration
- Build a strong mind
- Transform your weaknesses into strengths
- Develop your mental strength by rejecting fear through positive internal dialogue
- Develop emotional resilience
- Listen to your intuitions for great achievements
- The warrior in entrepreneur mode
- If a product does not work, deconstruct it and make improvements
- Always be in offensive mode
Conclusions about “The way of the seal” by Thierry Payet, from the “Se Coacher” blog
In “The Way of The Seal”we learn:
- What it takes to develop personal discipline, a code of honour, and therefore how to live a new life.
- How a former Accounting Executive now masters his life so much better, and that we can duplicate this successful model.
- Learn simple tricks to work out how our decisions can be tactical.
- How to control our fear and build up our courage for optimal health.
If you want to achieve your goals, start by clearly defining your overall mission in life, then act accordingly.
You will fully exploit your potential by:
- Sharpening your mind with positive language
- Adopting an acute and relaxed consciousness
The motto of the SEALS is “It pays to be a winner”.
For my part, in my childhood I received a Christian education where I learned to turn the other cheek. I was shy.
The Way of The Seal taught me to approach life differently;I learned to overcome my mental limitations and to enforce my strengths.
- I got involved in a long legal battle with a motorist who hit me on a pedestrian crossing.
- Following an unfair dismissal, with the help of a lawyer I asserted my rights.
- I developed the vision of who I really am by leaving the insurance business where I was a team manager.
Now I am actively involved in personal development and health, and as a result have a positive impact on others.
To return to the section of the book on entrepreneurship, the author talks about competitive intelligence and takes into account opposing elements in his own strategy, nothing very new in itself.
Nevertheless, he insists on an uninterrupted offensive mindset in order to innovate and develop leadership, a quality we need to develop in France so we can return to being in the top 5 major economic powers in the world.
We may find the Americans naïve in that they believe that anything is possible if you dream big.
Mark Divine very much insists on positive visualisation, yet Google, Amazon, PayPal, Apple, are the world leaders in the new technology sectors.
- The parts that talk about mental strength are exceptional, you finally access the tools necessary for an invincible mindset, as the author is a living example of it.
- Mark Divine delivers ideas that you can put into practice quickly, whether you are an executive or a sportsman.
- The author talks openly about two of his failed companies and the lessons he learned about how to bounce back and enjoy success with other businesses.
- By applying these principles, you will have more confidence in what you do, be more genuine and enjoy your passions.
- You could criticise the author for too much self-promotion, putting forward his Kokoro camp and his Seal Fit all about exceeding ones limits.
- If you want to apply all the principles of this book, you may end up feeling that what you are required to do is beyond your abilities.
- Regarding the exercise on visualization, nothing too tangible here. Lanny Bassham, Olympic shooting champion, does a better job in his book “With Winning in Mind”.
In the late ‘70s, Bassham taught mental skills to the Seals, who continue today to train with experts from all walks of life.)
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