By Jason Kuhn
We’ve heard the word since Little League. We put the word on the backs of T-shirts and locker room signs, but how much have we really considered what the concept means? How many players can explain how to apply commitment?
In my Navy SEAL training class known as BUD/s, we started with 135 students. If someone had asked each student if they were committed to completing the training, every single one of them would have replied with yes. However, at the end of “hell week” only 20 of us remained. Why? Were the guys who quit not committed? They certainly believed they were.
I believe everyone is committed at some level. Everybody wants to graduate the training. When adversity hits, we find out the level of an individual’s commitment and their ability to apply discipline. The question becomes, “is what we want worth it?”
Commitment is a decision to remain disciplined to fundamental principles in the face of uncontrollable circumstance. When the inevitable adversity comes, we must apply discipline not desire. Discipline is doing what you don’t want to do, when you don’t want to do it. It’s the road we travel to reach our desire. In training, as students become hypothermic and exhausted, minds begin to drift to self-pity, blame, and doubt. Given the circumstance these thoughts are justified. However, they contain no value. Winners discipline themselves to mental fundamentals that contain value. We concentrate on ways to help our teammate through the pain and create inspiration (Fundamental 1: The Team-First Mind), because what we desire is worth it. Valuable thoughts must become our habit. Hard things meet heavy adversity by their very nature. Therefore we must embrace adversity as great opportunity. When the pain comes we will react according to our mental and physical habit. Our habits must be fundamentally sound. The harder something becomes, the more rewarding the victory. So as the BUD/s instructors say: “Embrace the suck! “
When the pain comes, we use emotion to fuel our discipline. Everyone in decent physical shape has the ability to complete Navy SEAL hell week. The only variable is the person’s mind. If I were to put you through a hell week right now could you do it? …What if I were to put you through a hell week right now,…but at the end of the week I could give you a big league contract with your favorite team?…or ten million dollars?…or the girl of your dreams? Starting to become worth it? This emotion is what must be applied into every moment of effort in our preparation, …every pitch, ground ball and swing. Emotion fuels the discipline to get up at 4:30am, work out hard in the gym and inspire our teammates while we are there. Remember, just like every student who started my BUD/s class, all of the other teams are “committed” to beating you. Pre-season training is when you build trust. Trust builds confidence. Confidence leads to aggressive fundamental action.
BUD/s students eventually come to a crossroad. Do they want to call themselves a SEAL or are they willing to do what it takes to be one every moment of every day. Do you want to call yourself a champion or do what it takes to be one? A SEAL once said “It’s not that we’re that good, we’re just better than everybody else”
You don’t have to know how you’ll get to the championship game. Just do the next right thing. I thought about quitting one time…Wet, cold, and exhausted, I had no idea how I would make it another four days without sleep. A decision to quit would have been justified…most of my friends had already, but I knew I had the discipline for one more step in the right direction and away from that bell. One literal step, and the rest is history. Don’t let adversity break you. Let it forge you. That’s how winning is done and It Pays to be A Winner. Is what you want worth it?
Jason is a former D1 baseball player and Navy SEAL. Find him on Twitter at @sealteambuild or online at www.stonewall-solutions.com