What You Can Learn From Navy SEALS About Grit and Mental Toughness

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For generations, the U.S. Navy SEALS (Sea, Air, and Land) have set the standard for military special operations. Relied on for the toughest missions, these men are as notorious as their training, which begins at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado off the coast of California. Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or BUD/S for short, is the crucible in which SEALs are made, but the 24-week course, the first that SEAL candidates must endure, is actually only a fifth of the nearly two and a half years it takes before a man goes on his first mission.

The first phase, BUD/S, assesses candidates’ endurance and conditioning, water competency, camaraderie, and grit, culminating in “Hell Week.” The challenge has captivated men for years, and for good reason: Of an average 170-person class, around 30 make it to Week Five. Such severe attrition of some…

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