Ever felt like you want to hang up your boots? The first time I felt this way was during our primary scout camp. I had though it would just be another weekend jaunt only to find out I was wrong. Long walks and unending press ups on murram and grassy coated ground. At my age, I thought it was unnecessary torture, just wanted to go back home – I did not sign up for this. I did not go home though, I could note because I did not have means, I had to wait until the camp is over. I endured all the exercises and I came to love every bit of it.
I know better now. Let me tell you about Navy SEAL in the U.S Military. The training puts the candidates through what can be termed as the most intense ordeal in the U.S military. The attempt is to break you! As Pressfield says, they want to see you crack! You rather fail in the training camp than in the combat. They assert.
During the training, each entrant sleeps at most four hours during the entire week, runs more 320 km, and does physical training for more than 20 hours per day. The candidates have to complete timed 3 Km swim with fins in less than 90 minutes, the 6 Km run with boots in 31 minutes. Intense! Very Intense!
The difference between my experience and the SEAL candidates is, in SEAL training they have a bell. If someone decides to drop along the way (hang up the boots), they drop the helmet next to a poll with a bell attached to it and ring the bell 3 times. Yes, when you are ready to quit, when you have enough, you walk to the pole and ring the bell. And that’s it, you have dropped out.
You and I have such a bell, oh yeah, we do! We all have such a bell. When it gets tough, we ring it and quit. The question is, are you going to ring your bell? The difference between my initial experience as a scout or one at the Navy SEAL is that, the ordeal in our lives now is even tougher, it is hard, simply because we are alone (get me right here).
No one to train us, no one pushing and beckoning us to continue. Our friends are busy and no clear structures. No one is willing to feed you, house or clothe you. No one will validate you. We do not know if we are doing the right thing or whether we are falling apart. If we finish, no one will be waiting to award us with a diploma. It is a battle we cannot explain to anyone, we cannot call for someone to help us. That is why it is so hard.
Me and you (probably) know how to fight. In a closet probably!
But the question still is, will you ring the bell?
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