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

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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.

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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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June Silny

ADHD Coach, Writer, ADDitude Magazine featured contributor

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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