In 2007, the book, Lone Survivor, was published recounting the stories of Marcus Luttrell fighting in Afghanistan. Six years later, Mark Wahlberg appeared in the movie and brought the stories to life on the big screen. Regardless of whether or not you've seen the film, I'd recommend reading the book. Here's why:
1. You're Never Out of the Fight: Luttrell and his fellow Navy Seals are outnumbered and backed into the side of a mountain. Objective onlookers would've agreed that his chance of survival was slim. However, Navy Seals are trained to never give up. People often wonder why these guys endure such brutal training before they're actually deployed. As strong as these guys are physically, they've been trained to steady their minds during extreme adversity.
When we go through tough things, the first thing we typically do is complain. The Seals, on the other hand, use the term "Maximum Benefit" to describe what most of us would complain about. If it's raining tomorrow, we'll probably complain about the weather. The Seals, however, see this as a way to maximize their training because now the task at hand is a little more challenging. The next time something is hard or is made harder due to circumstances outside of your control, embrace the Seal mentality and look at it as a benefit.
2. You're Tougher Than You Think: Luttrell falls off a cliff and breaks bones all over his body. Even then, he's crawling to safety and strategizing ways to attack his enemy. When you're physically or mentally broken, think about that word, "broken." The word itself implies that you can be fixed. Or, depending on your definition of "broken," you don't function like you used to so you're now worthless.
Luttrell's body was clearly broken, but even then, he wasn't giving up or giving in. He was simply adjusting his strategy. How easy do you give up? And if your answer is, "easily," what are you doing to train yourself so that giving up no longer is an option?
3. Give Yourself a Chance: Marcus Luttrell should've died up on that mountain. He probably should've died again when he fell. But, each time, he put himself in a position to prolong the inevitable.
Oddly enough, other things were happening around him that would eventually help him survive. In the fight, though, he didn't know that.
Most of us overthink: we think about all the bad things that might happen. We think, "I just broke several bones. I can't walk. I know I'm going to die."
I know a lot of people who probably don't pay enough attention to reality, but these people often have an advantage over my practical friends: they don't overthink anything, and they see the upside in everything.
For someone like Marcus Luttrell, he had to turn off the part of his brain that was screaming in pain. While that was his reality, embracing that wasn't going to help him in any way. On the flip side, he needed to have hope that he could make it out. Was that realistic? Again, for a while there, probably not.
My point is that we often see what we choose to see. We believe what we choose to believe.
The most dire situation to one doesn't apply to another.
If you've read this book, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thank you to all who serve our country and for the sacrifices you make.
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John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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