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If You Want To Change The World, Do What The Navy Seals Do Each Day

If You Want To Change The World, Do What The Navy Seals Do Each Day

Do you think you can change the world? One person can make an impact on how the rest of the world lives. What if that person is you?

The list of world-changers is endless. From Marie Curie to J.K. Rowling, and our favorite life-changer of all, the great Steve Jobs.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been since 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee kick-started the World Wide Web. It was 1977 when Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield’s (MRI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging invention enabled surgeons to see inside the body’s soft organs without invasive surgery or X-rays.

Filmmaker George Lucas founded Industrial Light and Magic in 1975 to bring his vision of Star Wars to life. ILM went on to revolutionize special effects in the movies, changing the economics of the movie industry. And just imagine how different life would be without the invention of the birth control pill by Gregory Pincus, M.C. Chang, and John Rock, which the FDA approved in 1960.

These are the contemporary world-changers, but think of all those who came before them. How do you think they were able to achieve such remarkable results?

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According to Admiral William McRaven, a Navy SEAL for thirty-six years, these world-changers have the same skills that he learned in SEAL training.

SEAL training is six tortuous months of long runs in soft sand, midnight swims in cold water, obstacle courses, never-ending calisthenics, days without sleep and always feeling cold, wet, and miserable.

The purpose of this training is to seek out those who can become leaders in an environment of constant stress chaos, failure, and hardships.

This is what it takes:

1. Make your bed.

Every morning at bed inspection, instructors check to see if the covers are tight, the pillow centered right under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the bed.

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As ridiculous as it seems, this simple mundane task gives you a sense of pride and encourages you to do another task, and many more. Making your bed proves that little things matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. Success requires discipline, no matter how small the task may seem. Start every day with a small act of self-discipline.

2. Find someone to help you paddle.

Every day the boat crew is instructed to paddle several miles down the coast. No matter how high the seas (10 feet!), every paddle must be synchronized perfectly with the count of the guide. Following the guide, every member must exert equal effort or the boat will be tossed back on the beach.

Everyone must paddle. If you want to get from the starting point to the destination, you need a strong, in sync, support system and a guide to lead the way. No one achieves success alone. Find a mentor, support system, and create a team that moves you towards your destination.

3. Measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

Boat crews are determined by the size of the men in them. One crew was named the “munchkin crew,” all under 5-foot-five. They ran faster, paddler harder, and out swam all the other boat crews, always reaching the shore before the big guys. Size doesn’t matter, only your will to succeed. If you want to change the world, don’t judge people.

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4. Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Uniform inspection is exceptionally thorough. Every piece of cloth has to be perfectly pressed, polished, and starched. The instructors always finds something wrong. When they do, the student has to run into the surf with his clothes on, and then roll in the sand until every part of his body is covered in sand. He becomes a “sugar cookie.”

The lesson learned is that no matter how well you perform or prepare, you would always end up as a sugar cookie. That’s just the way life is sometimes. Acknowledge and accept that even when you put your best effort forward, unfortunate circumstances might arise. When you get knocked down, get up, brush off, and keep on moving in the direction of your goal.

5. Don’t be afraid of the circus.

Every day there are long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, and hours of calisthenics. Each event has a time limit. Failing means an invitation to “the circus”- two extra hours of calisthenics. The sole purpose: to wear you down, break your spirit, and force you to quit.

Life is filled with circuses. You will fall, fail, and it will be painful and discouraging, testing you to the very core of your being. Expect failure; don’t fear it.

6. Sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle course headfirst.

The most challenging obstacle is the slide for life- a three level 30-foot tower with a long 200-foot rope in between. The goal is to climb the tower, grab the rope, swing underneath it hand over hand until you reach the other side. The record time remained the same since 1977. Until one day, a student slid down headfirst. It was dangerous, but he plunged forward and beat the record by half the time. If you want to change the world; you have to go against the grain. Fall out of the herd. Be the first one who is brave enough to do something different.

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7. Don’t back down from the sharks.

Before the night swim, after a brief training session on all species of sharks, SEALs are taught about how to deal with sharks in the open ocean. They are taught that if a shark encircles you, you must stand your ground. Do not swim away and do not act afraid. And if by chance the shark is darting towards you hungry for a midnight snack, punch him in the snout. If you want to compete the swim, you must learn how to deal with the sharks. The dark waters in the river of success are filled with sharks. There are the people vying for your position or product. Business ventures can get nasty. Stand your ground. Do’t run away and do not afraid, even when you are.

8. Be your very best in your darkest moment.

Training to conduct underwater attacks against enemy ships, Navy SEALs swim underwater for over two miles with only a depth gauge and a compass to reach their target. As they approach the ship, they go under the keel where the engine is deafening and it’s pitch black. Every SEAL knows that in the darkest moment, you must remain calm, composed, using your tactical skills, physical power, and all of your inner strength to carry out the mission. There are many dark moments in life. You may not be able to see where you’re going or how to get there. The only thing you have to depend on is yourself: your skills, power, and inner strength. Stay calm in the darkness.

9. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

The ninth week is “Hell Week.” Six days without sleep, under constant physical and mental harassment and one day in the Mud Flats. Imagine fifteen hours in the freezing cold, mud, howling wind, and instructors pressuring you to quit. Admiral McRaven relates a story about that week. He said that, like a scene from the Titanic, after eight hours of chattering teeth and shivering moans, with only heads visible in the mud, one voice started singing. Before long, one voice became two until everyone was singing. Just one person’s voice, enthusiastically singing was enough to spread hope and maintain the entire team until morning. One person can change the world by giving others hope.

10. Don’t ever ring the bell.

A SEAL candidate can quit at any time. All he has to do is ring the bell in the center of the compound. Simply ringing the bell frees you from waking up at 5:00 a.m., sharks, mud, and freezing waters. No one wants to ring the bell.

Changing the world, like Navy SEAL training, is not easy. You will be tested, discouraged, and pushed to your physical limits in the worst conditions imaginable.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to change the world, then know that life is not fair and you will fail often. Take risks. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Face the bullies. Stand up when times are the toughest. Stay calm in the darkest moments. Lift the downtrodden. Start the day with a task completed… and never, ever give up!

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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