The most difficult part of any selection process is not the short periods of deliberate physical training, which are designed to drive participants to extreme exhaustion. It is the time spent between those high-intensity moments, when the sleep deprivation, severe body aches, and extreme hunger begin to truly test the will and motivation of a person.
Our SWAT Selection was comprised of 30 participants from various law enforcement agencies. These men were hand-chosen by each of their respective leaders to represent their departments. They were the best of the best and their department heads believed they each possessed the capability to withstand nearly any stressor placed upon them, whether physical or mental.
The 30 participants dwindled to 20 within the first week. They disappeared without a trace. They didn’t openly bow out during the designated physical training sessions, but rather in the private moments when they reflected on the severe difficulty of it, which they would continue to face if they didn’t give in.
The purpose of a selection process is not to discover the gifted athlete who experiences minor discomfort during an intense physical workout, but rather to find the person who is beaten down and exhausted, but can still maintain composure and press on to accomplish their mission. These men are often not the fastest nor do they possess the most physical prowess, but they have an X-Factor that only shines through when things seem the darkest. They can persevere through any stress and maintain mental fortitude to make clear and calculated decisions in critical situations.
The majority of people will actively try to avoid discomfort automatically in life.
Many men and women will move into their discomfort and spend countless hours in the gym developing their physical stamina, but then neglect to approach other challenges in their life that would strengthen and develop their mental toughness.
While staying within any of your comfort zones may feel satisfying momentarily, anyone who genuinely seeks to reach his true potential must routinely expose himself to new and uncomfortable situations. Real resilience comes as a result of being put in positions where you are the most vulnerable and threatened and yet you still figure out a way through it.