Here are the top 10 Navy SEAL quotes of all time. New trainees begin to hear these quotes from SEAL instructors immediately upon their arrival at Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, CA.
1. The only easy day was yesterday. There are not “easy” days for individuals and organizations seeking excellence. This slogan was created by BUD/S Class 89 and can be defined as the constant pursuit of thriving forward no matter how tough life can be. Our lives and careers are entirely of challenges. We must face those challenges head-on, controlling what we can and ignoring what we can’t.
2. It pays to be a winner. During hell week, the class is broken into boat crews – seven-man teams during SEAL training. We often compete against the other crews, encouraging leadership, teamwork, and accountability. The instructors would shout, “It pays to be a winner, gentlemen!” Winning boat crews would sometimes be allowed to sit out during the following evolution to get some rest. Winning results will follow when leaders make engagement, accountability, and cultural priorities.
3. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. On any given day during training, you learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. When individuals and teams regularly push their comfort zone's boundaries, that area becomes wider. And in my experience, it’s outside the comfort zone where the magic happens. When you practice this philosophy with discipline, things that used to be seemingly impossible can become part of your everyday life.
4. Pain is weakness leaving the body. Learn to adapt to pain. Suffering will build character. Persevere. Thrive forward always.
5. The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat. The harder you train, the better you'll be prepared for battle. Same with all aspects of life. Make a habit of always being prepared.
6. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. That’s how movements and behaviors become muscle memory – imperative in high-speed combat. Always be cool, calm, and collected. Remain balanced no matter when all others around you lose their focus.
7. We demand discipline. We expect innovation. Organizations today face almost constant change, forcing them to attempt to grow faster with fewer resources and face challenges they have never experienced – hence the need for creativity and innovation. The “this is how we’ve always done it” mindset no longer applies. Unless, of course, you’re a fifty-year-old BBQ joint in Nashville – then you should never change! Leading change successfully requires discipline and innovation. Focus and follow-through are critical.
8. Embrace the pain. During BUD/S training, those who maintained a positive mental attitude through the worst parts of training survived without being dropped or ringing out. There's no chance anyone will get through life without pain. So accept it and be strong. You'll never regret it.
9. I am never out of the fight. Never give up. No matter how dire the circumstances, keep moving forward.
10. Situation Dictates. Be flexible. Be ready to adapt. Wartime-like life is full of surprises. Never lose your balance; stay in the fight no matter how dire the circumstances.