Follow by Email

StatCounter

Friday, May 30, 2014

Life Lessons



Naval Admiral William H. McRaven recently gave a commence address a the University of Texas. He presented the 10 life lessons that he learned as a Navy SEAL. It's worth listening to.


Excellent advice -if you want to approach life as a Navy SEAL. There are other paths, even other warrior paths, that approach life differently.

Early in his address he points out how one person can influence many lives. He gave examples of soldiers deciding to go one way rather than another and saving 10 lives. Those lives touch other lives and through the years that one action influences many many lives. This is true enough.

How about the person who does not join the military and convinces 10 other people they can do other things with their lives? Not only do they not die from an IED, they aren't at risk for PTSD, physical maiming, homelessness, alcoholism, drug abuse, and maltreatment from a VA center. Talk about an unsung hero.

How about the guy who starts a movement that prevents a war in the first place? Millions are saved. Then what are we to think of the leaders who get their countries into unnecessary wars? The waste and horror reverberates down the generations affecting millions. Are they not evil incarnate?

I am not cutting down the Admiral here, or the Navy SEALS for that matter. He and they are very good at what they do. There are lessons here valuable to anyone about endurance, cooperation, the power of hope and many other things.

Yet . . . I can't help but wonder about some of the people who ring the bell. There's a bell that a SEAL in training can ring and it's all over. He's out, just like that. No doubt many, most, almost all, ring the bell because they just can't take it any more. After all, the SEALS are some of the best of the best. The very definition of an elite unit is one that few can join.

What about that rare individual who can complete the training but decides not to? Imagine such a man who though some inner journey decides he does not want to be a SEAL after all. Perhaps he's read Beowulf and knows the fate of the ultimate warrior.

Imagine the inner strength of such a person. He voluntarily becomes a “failure.” In front of all his peers he rejects their path. Instead, he decides to find a different path in life. Now this is a man who can turn his back on all that training and teamwork. He decides to go his own way. This is a man who joined the military in the first place, completed regular training, and qualified to try out for the very best. At one time he must have bought into the whole warrior culture. Suddenly he decides to go his own way, alone.

A man like that is a dangerous man. He can do anything. Most likely he'll fail, but since he's failed before and moved on, nothing can stop him. He can be killed, but not defeated. These are rare individuals indeed, but they do exist. I've met a couple.
SEAL training is excellent for building warriors. That mind set is useful in many areas of life, but not all. How many formerly elite warriors fail miserably at civilian life? Heck, they even freak out about little things like having an unmade bed, or a bed not made to precise military standards. It can take a lifetime to unlearn some of the lessons taught. What works for the military might not work so well for the individual in the rest of his life.

It would be fun to counter his 10 lessons one by one. I've always been a fan of exceptions and loopholes. However, that would just be mean spirited. Instead, I'll leave you with this thought. Navy SEAL training is not about benefiting the individual. It's about perfecting a fighting tool. That's it.

-Sixbears





13 comments:

  1. I think it was "Mr. Rogers" that was a Navy Seal with 25 kills who became a pacifist Presbyterian preacher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And to think that Mr. Rogers is the nicest kindest man there ever was.

      Delete
  2. I once knew a young Marine special forces. They were sent to Iraq to find wmds's before th invasion. Twelve teams were sent, None found any wmd's! He decided then it was perhas time to change. He got out and went to school. Last I heard he was doing well. Oh by the way, they went in via HALO.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I forgot to add that the decision he made, caused rejection by his team.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I admire a man who can make such a difficult choice and live with it.

      Delete
  4. I can relate , even tho I was only in SF....
    When watching the show Dual Survival, Joe was always beating his chest. Declaring that his SF training allows him to be master of the universe in survival ....HA ! It allows you to be a fighting machine and perhaps a little more prepared to survive in the wild. Nothing more....
    Now Cody Lundin, I'd follow that man anywhere. He has much to share and knows how to survive off the land.
    Two totally different mind sets entirely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm much closer to "bush hippy" Lundin in approach. Rather be part of the wilderness than fight it.

      Delete
  5. Just because you serve in the military doesn't mean you are called to kill, I was a typist/secretary to chaplains in the US Navy they were non-combatants they never killed anyone, some were killed, it was for brave men no women then...I heard their stories and thought them brave, seeing many killed on the field, giving the rights of last rites to many dying..I thought them real heroes you don't hear much about them at all, it affected them a lot..war to me is living Hell, what if they had wars and no man or women volunteered to go and fight, what would that be like at all..I adored Mr. Rogers a lot, did not know that fact about him at all, he spoke so gently, maybe his being in the military changed him for peace and peaceful life forever, one could only hope for that resolution..My only child has lived in a world of no fellows she has dated has gone off to war at all, her teachers at college the same, would it not be delightful to have no more Wars in our small lifetime I think that would be wonderful!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The warrior mindset is great for certain times, but as you say it doesn't necessarily prepare one for everyday living.

    Different strokes for different folks, I reckon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reckon so, Hermit Jim. Oh if you need things broken and people messed up, the military way works fine. The problem is that when your only tool is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.

      Delete
  7. Regarding making your bed, as I like to say, your greatest weakness is depending on your strengths, and your greatest strengths come from overcoming your weaknesses. Having the discipline to make your bed every morning is great, but not if it means you can't sleep at night if the bed isn't perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just read these 10 things and thanked God I was never in the Navy.

    Taut bedsheets and starched uniforms never saved a life, and a stupid slid down a rope has ended many a career.

    Guy's a tool..

    ReplyDelete