Don Macdonald of the USA and France blogs his aquatic journey swimming, hosting swims around the world, one body of water at a time.
Those who aspire to this life goal please join and share.
James, a Navy Seal, said the same thing about getting through the tough times at BUD/S:
Many people don’t recognize that what they’re doing at BUD/S is assessing your ability to handle a difficult circumstance and keep going.
It’s a game. If you want to be or attempt a seriously long swim in excess of say 6 miles and/or in cold water , you’ve got to play that game. You’ve got to have fun with it and you’ve got to keep your eye on the bigger picture.
In this series we are breaking apart Erin Baker's article on why Navy Seals are so tough (Resilient) and what the everyday open water marathon swimmer can learn.
Purpose And Meaning
To say SEAL training is hard is a massive understatement. The initial vetting phase (“BUD/S”) is specifically designed to weed people out who aren’t serious.
How do you get serious? Grit often comes from a place of deep purpose and personal meaning. Here’s James:
"At BUD/S you have to know what you’re getting yourself into and what you’re there to do.I still mentor a lot of guys who are interested in trying out for BUD/S and they always ask, “What do I need to do to make my push ups better?” or “Can you teach me the proper swim technique?” My first question is always, “Why do you want to be a SEAL? What is it about being a SEAL that appeals to you?”
The research backs James up. Without a good reason to keep pushing, we’ll quit. Studies of “central governor theory” show our brains always give in long before our body does.
“…Overall, it seems that exercise performance is ultimately limited by perception of effort rather than cardiorespiratory and musculoenergetic factors.”
But this isn’t just true for athletics, it also holds for careers. In a study of West Point alums, those that had intrinsic goals (“I want to serve my country. I want to test my abilities.”) outperformed those that had extrinsic goals (“I want to rise in the ranks and become an officer because that’s a really powerful position and it’s prestigious.”)
So purpose matters. But what’s the attitude that keeps you going in the moment? It’s actually a bit less serious. If your just trying it to see if you will get across, you will more than likely fail.