Why do Navy SEAL candidates quit BUD/S?

Andy Stumpf former BUD/S instructor

“I wanted to make more people quit.”

In Episode 3 of “Cleared Hot”, Andy Stumpf talks about his time as a Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUD/S) instructor. According to Wikipedia, “BUD/S is a 24-week training challenge that develops the SEAL candidates’ mental and physical stamina…” and according to Andy, one of the instructors’ jobs is to eliminate candidates from the program. Specifically, those who do not have the mental toughness required to be an operator.

Cleared Hot Episode 3 – Sean Hughes

“Nothing lasts forever, this sucks now, but it’s going to end.”

Andy interviewed many candidates who quit. He wanted to know what lead to their decision, so he could develop techniques to exploit the weakness in others. Their most frequent response was that they were overwhelmed by the duration of BUD/S. They were experiencing discomfort and multiplied it by the time remaining in the course. Psyching themselves out.

One Foot in Front of the Other.

Successful people focus on breaking down seemingly insurmountable tasks into smaller objectives. Achieving each smaller objectives creates a momentum that allows them to blast through the larger obstacles.

Although I’m not a SEAL and never will be. I’ve personally experienced this in Marathon Training, Weight Lifting, and Entrepreneurship. The first mile, squat, and pitch — those moments felt overwhelming because I knew how tiny my current output was compared to the end goal. But each day I put in the work. I focused on following the plan and completing today’s objectives, not worrying about the end state. When the time came to complete the mission I had been training for, my body and my mind were ready.

Show up, do the work, rest, repeat.

Questions of the Day

What’s the largest goal you’ve succeeded at? How did you break it down into smaller pieces that you could accomplish? What in your life today is stressing you? What’s the next incremental step towards fixing it?

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