How To Be As Mentally Strong As Navy SEALs And Olympic Athletes

By : Ben Hayward |


Ever wondered how people with some of the most mentally demanding jobs in the world manage to build up that inner strength and drive?

Two of these groups are surely Navy SEALs and Olympic athletes. It may seem like these two careers are poles apart but it turns out that both groups actually use a lot of the same techniques – whether they’re handling deadly situations or dealing with the pressure of the entire world watching them.

A research study examining what Olympians do to prepare for their big day and an interview with Navy SEAL Commander James Waters, highlight how the methods they use can be employed by people to perform better in their everyday jobs.


Talk Positively To Yourself

This is highlighted by the dreaded ‘pool comp’ section of SEAL training. You’re underwater with SCUBA gear when an instructor swims up behind you, yanks the regulator out of your mouth and ties your oxygen lines in a knot. Your brain starts screaming – you think you’re going to die.

The trick is to stay cool – SEALs are not allowed to panic – think positive and talk yourself through the procedure to get your gear working again. Only one in five guys pass first time. So if you’ve got a big presentation coming up you need to remember be an optimist when talking to yourself and follow your plan – it’ll keep you calm and focused.

Set Goals

The best athletes from the study had clear daily goals. They were determined to accomplish these goals and focused fully on doing so. SEALs learn to set goals too. Sometimes really small ones, but they keep them going when every muscle in their body is screaming for them to quit.

So how can you use this? Write your goals down and track your progress – nothing motivates you better than being able to see your progress.

Finally, how do you get ready for the unexpected problems that always pop up at the last minute?

Practice Visualisation

When you have big challenge, close your eyes and walk through every step. The best of the best do this all the time.In fact, the top athletes have the best developed imagery skills and use them to prepare for training, perfect skills, make technical corrections and to see themselves achieving their ultimate goal.


Again SEALs do the same. With mental rehearsal they learn to visualise themselves succeeding in their activities. You just have to adapt it to your environment –  visualise your presentation, you have to see problems and how you will overcome them.

Olympians and Navy SEALs are, by definition, the best at what they do. But we can all use their methods to achieve what we want. So go on, give it a go, work out those brain muscles and get ahead.

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