6 Vital Lessons Of Grit From A Former SEAL

What is the importance of grit?


No matter how strong and passionate you are, sometimes, you feel like you just want to quit. It is hard to get up in the morning and continue to chase your goal.

The truth is you are not alone. Even motivational speakers, successful people feel the same way. Maybe, such experience explains our mundane nature.

If you want to stay motivated and look for motivation, the best source is the people who are trained to combat all sorts of challenges.

One morning, I walked with my uncle in the park after a few minutes of jogging. He is a former Navy SEAL who served for 25 years.

I surprised how much information he couldn’t tell me. Those things are part of his former job as a soldier. He still lives in the protocol even if he no longer active in service.

Although I was interested in many things (e.g. combats, the types of guns he carried), I instead asked him the secrets how he managed to serve the country for such a long period of time.

What I found were the six amazing lessons. He did not give them a name. But generally, those lessons emerged as themes from our conversation. And those six themes comprised something we called “grit”.

The following are the components of grit that everyone can use to refuel motivation.

1. The importance of purpose.

Like me, my uncle also believes that defining the purpose or meaning of any action is very important. At the first phase of the training, he was asked why he wanted to enter the military. His response was “I wanted to serve my country.”

This is also the reason why he survived for 25 years. His reason and purpose are deep enough. Those who have external motivation such as to be promoted to a higher rank did not make it. That’s why for over one hundred recruits, only 8 of them survived in the brutal training.

This reality can also be found in real life. You see job applicants who applied for a high paying job and quit later before their first salary. It happened to me before. Why? Because the only thing that makes the job interesting was the high pay. It was never my intention and passion.

Sometimes it is funny to think how people stay in a low paying job. But the real thing is that it is not money that fuels the grit, it is passion and purpose.

2. Treat everything as a game.

My uncle said that “If you want to survive in the training, you need to take everything lightly. Think of it as if you are just playing.”

In real life this lesson is vital. Many people get stressed when they encounter big challenges. Having a mindset like this is a good way to stay focused and competitive without losing composure.

3. Being confident.

My uncle is a Colonel (even after his service). But before he was promoted to that rank, he usually involved in field operations where he led a company. According to him, the hardest part of being a leader is to instill confidence to his subordinates in difficult situations. But he made it. Success in any mission, according to him, depends on self-efficacy and grit.

4. Ample preparation.

According to my uncle, before they embark on any mission, they always made sure that their team was prepared. They prepared not only physically but also mentally.

Grit seems to be stronger when you have enough preparation. Take the athletes for instance, what do you think why they look confident before the game? Because they know they are prepared. They spent months of training for just a single game.

In real life, preparation never ends. People who think that college graduation is the end of their educational journey made the biggest mistake of their lives. Because the truth is, life is always surprising. It will test you in the most unexpected moment. If you are not prepared, you’ll get stunned and disoriented.

5. Always looking for improvement.

“Everyone fails. Despite the training, not all missions were successful. But those mistakes were taken into consideration to avoid the same mistake in the future missions.”

This mentality is common among successful people. They don’t turn their back on failure – they study it and make it better the next time. It is not easy though. Most people suffer from their setbacks. They spend too much time crying over the spilled milk.

But those who are able to quickly learn from their mistakes always find the opportunity to learn and grow.

6. Give and get help.

One of the greatest things that my uncle realized from his experience was that winning involves others. “In any mission, you act and do the job as a group. You are not alone. The survival and success of your mission depend on your collective effort, not on any individual.”

Over the years, several research findings found the vital role of social support. People who help others are most likely get some help when they need it. Life is easier when reciprocal effort exists in social relationships. It starts with a simple “give and takes“.

Help is a vital component of grit.

In life, we will get frustrated easily if we don’t know the reason why we do what we do. Resilience and grit will keep us going if our reason and purpose are profound enough.

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