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  • Question for Mr Caviston.

    First off I want to say thank you Mr. Caviston for the amazing help you give all of us on here.

    Second, I have read many threads and posts of yours and I have researched a lot on these forums and I can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for. I apologize in advance if it is on here I have not been able to find it and I will continue to look.

    But now to my question,
    I have seen you talk a lot about Mental preparation and how important it is and posts like "We encourage candidates to work on basic mental strategies to overcome adversity (the Big 4: goal setting; visualization; self talk; and arousal control)"

    I'm just not very strong mentally and honestly I don't have the mentality it takes to become a SEAL at ALL. I dont thrive on adversity or anything. I have done a lot of research and have some how come up with NOTHING. So my question is, what kind of things can I do to prepare mentally? Mental exercises, anything that will help.

    Anyone else with any thought feel free to comment also.

    Thank you so much!

  • #2
    Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

    Would you be open to someone other than Mr. Caviston answering? I have a few resources I could share (books, exercises, etc.) none of which are officially sanctioned by the NSW center, but have personally helped me a lot. And, if you can, check in your local area for those offering courses in meditation, mindfulness, and that sort of thing. Usually having a mentor who knows you and is actively helping you is better than just a book or a couple of tips online. The reason this sparked my interest is because I don't consider myself a mentally tough person, but have always longed to be. I even went through a very serious bout of depression a couple of years ago, but with a lot of guidance came out of it. But, just let me know if you'd like me to share those resources. If you only want Mr. Caviston's answer, that's fine too.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

      Originally posted by LukeHall View Post
      Would you be open to someone other than Mr. Caviston answering? I have a few resources I could share (books, exercises, etc.) none of which are officially sanctioned by the NSW center, but have personally helped me a lot. And, if you can, check in your local area for those offering courses in meditation, mindfulness, and that sort of thing. Usually having a mentor who knows you and is actively helping you is better than just a book or a couple of tips online. The reason this sparked my interest is because I don't consider myself a mentally tough person, but have always longed to be. I even went through a very serious bout of depression a couple of years ago, but with a lot of guidance came out of it. But, just let me know if you'd like me to share those resources. If you only want Mr. Caviston's answer, that's fine too.
      Oh no man feel free to share whatever you want I'm more than happy to read anything anyone has to say. I am currently reading "The Warrior Elite" and I is giving me a real look into what it takes mentally to be a SEAL. The only thing is, I get discouraged sometimes when I hear about how mentally tough they are and I start telling myself I'll never be good enough and ill never be like them and I can talk myself out of it but I would rather not have to talk myself out of it. I don't mean to sound like a wimp I am just trying to figure out how to break this mentality and develope one needed to make it through BUD/S and to be a competent SEAL (which even if I wasn't pursuing the SEALs I would still want to have).

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

        It starts with desire.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

          Don't worry; you don't sound like a wimp. You sound like an honest guy with a goal who feels there are many obstacles toward overcoming that goal and that's perfectly reasonable. Everybody worries whether they have the mental toughness to handle a career like this. Some people are so scared by this they kind of lie to themselves and say things like, "I'd die before I'd quit!" Which, if this were true, would be an incredible resolve, but most people instinctually are not like that.

          Mr. Couch's books are great! I've read quite a few, and think they are really thoughtful pieces. Here are some resources I'd like to share:
          --"Full Catstrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Mind and Body to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness". I read this when I was about to undergo surgery, and thought John Kabbat-Zinn's ways of thinking were really helpful. It is generally directed toward those undergoing trauma, but I feel that it's rather applicable. I won't list too many other books on mindfulness, but if you like this book check out some more of them.
          --"Warrior Mindset" by Dr. Michael Asken. This was one that I read rather recently. It may intimidate you by it's introduction. It asks you whether you would be willing to kill another human being. That sounds like a fairly standard question for someone wanting to be a SEAL, but it really delves into the psychology behind what makes a human being capable of doing something like that and yet still maintain their integrity as a human being.
          --"Navy SEALs Training Guide: Mental Toughness" by Lars Draeger. This would obviously be the most applicable to our situations. It's fascinating and though-provoking.

          Above all else, I feel like it's about changing the way we think through habit. It's good that you've acknowledged the way you think, because many people consider that the first step. I'm sure there are many other resources out there, but these are the only ones I've personally read and can recommend. So check them out. If you'd like to talk about them, feel free to PM or just post on this thread.

          I would like to note one thing before I stop typing. These are just the things that have helped me, personally. Other people may disagree, and that's fine. Mental toughness is difficult to debate about because it's a topic nobody really knows about for sure.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

            You can exercise those 4 things just by how you go about doing things in your everyday life. It's not so much about what the specific task is, but your consistency in implementing those 4 in order to get the task done. If you do, by the time a big challenge comes along, they will be second nature and come easily, though the task might be a hard one. Also, you might not be aware of it, but we all use these skills to a degree when accomplishing a task.

            For example: You come home from work or school and you're exhausted. However, you promised your wife, or girlfriend, or mom you'd clean the house that afternoon. Seems stupid, right? How can I compare BUD/S with cleaning your friggen house? I'm not. I'm comparing the skills used to accomplish any task, whether it be BUD/S or life at home. Like I said, you're tired, your dazed, you want people to feel sorry for you perhaps (haha) and now you have some choices. You can either not do the task, do it poorly with a bad attitude, or you can self talk and tell your head to eat a big bowl of shut the **** up, gain a positive attitude and implement the big 4. Visualize the task - see yourself tackling the cleaning and realize it's not that big of a deal. Goal setting - make a plan, divide the house into sections, gather supplies, estimate time, then execute. Maybe you self talk again when you get sick of cleaning and get a grip on things. This is also where arousal control comes in. Take a step back for a split second, regain composure and kill the "arousal" to complain or stop or whatever might detract you from getting cleaning the house done. Tell yourself you'll feel better and the situation will be better when the house will be clean. It really is as simple as that.

            Another good one to work on is patience. Maybe your wife starts bitching to you about how you missed a spot on the carpet when you were vacuuming. You've had a long day and she's really annoying the **** out of you. How do you handle that situation? The general theme with this is self awareness. Some of us are naturally decent at this/these things, some are not. None of us have been tested, though.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

              Originally posted by LukeHall View Post
              Don't worry; you don't sound like a wimp. You sound like an honest guy with a goal who feels there are many obstacles toward overcoming that goal and that's perfectly reasonable. Everybody worries whether they have the mental toughness to handle a career like this. Some people are so scared by this they kind of lie to themselves and say things like, "I'd die before I'd quit!" Which, if this were true, would be an incredible resolve, but most people instinctually are not like that.

              Mr. Couch's books are great! I've read quite a few, and think they are really thoughtful pieces. Here are some resources I'd like to share:
              --"Full Catstrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Mind and Body to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness". I read this when I was about to undergo surgery, and thought John Kabbat-Zinn's ways of thinking were really helpful. It is generally directed toward those undergoing trauma, but I feel that it's rather applicable. I won't list too many other books on mindfulness, but if you like this book check out some more of them.
              --"Warrior Mindset" by Dr. Michael Asken. This was one that I read rather recently. It may intimidate you by it's introduction. It asks you whether you would be willing to kill another human being. That sounds like a fairly standard question for someone wanting to be a SEAL, but it really delves into the psychology behind what makes a human being capable of doing something like that and yet still maintain their integrity as a human being.
              --"Navy SEALs Training Guide: Mental Toughness" by Lars Draeger. This would obviously be the most applicable to our situations. It's fascinating and though-provoking.

              Above all else, I feel like it's about changing the way we think through habit. It's good that you've acknowledged the way you think, because many people consider that the first step. I'm sure there are many other resources out there, but these are the only ones I've personally read and can recommend. So check them out. If you'd like to talk about them, feel free to PM or just post on this thread.

              I would like to note one thing before I stop typing. These are just the things that have helped me, personally. Other people may disagree, and that's fine. Mental toughness is difficult to debate about because it's a topic nobody really knows about for sure.
              Thanks man, I will definately look into these after I'm done reading my book. And I will work hard on changing the way I think through habit. The only thing is, I have a hard time remembering stuff like that when my habits start to kick in...but I'll figure it out.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

                Originally posted by tfranc View Post
                You can exercise those 4 things just by how you go about doing things in your everyday life. It's not so much about what the specific task is, but your consistency in implementing those 4 in order to get the task done. If you do, by the time a big challenge comes along, they will be second nature and come easily, though the task might be a hard one. Also, you might not be aware of it, but we all use these skills to a degree when accomplishing a task.

                For example: You come home from work or school and you're exhausted. However, you promised your wife, or girlfriend, or mom you'd clean the house that afternoon. Seems stupid, right? How can I compare BUD/S with cleaning your friggen house? I'm not. I'm comparing the skills used to accomplish any task, whether it be BUD/S or life at home. Like I said, you're tired, your dazed, you want people to feel sorry for you perhaps (haha) and now you have some choices. You can either not do the task, do it poorly with a bad attitude, or you can self talk and tell your head to eat a big bowl of shut the **** up, gain a positive attitude and implement the big 4. Visualize the task - see yourself tackling the cleaning and realize it's not that big of a deal. Goal setting - make a plan, divide the house into sections, gather supplies, estimate time, then execute. Maybe you self talk again when you get sick of cleaning and get a grip on things. This is also where arousal control comes in. Take a step back for a split second, regain composure and kill the "arousal" to complain or stop or whatever might detract you from getting cleaning the house done. Tell yourself you'll feel better and the situation will be better when the house will be clean. It really is as simple as that.

                Another good one to work on is patience. Maybe your wife starts bitching to you about how you missed a spot on the carpet when you were vacuuming. You've had a long day and she's really annoying the **** out of you. How do you handle that situation? The general theme with this is self awareness. Some of us are naturally decent at this/these things, some are not. None of us have been tested, though.
                Thank you tfranc, all of your posts have been very helpful to me in many different situations. You are a very knowledgeable person. I will do my best to create these things as habits. again thank you very much.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

                  Originally posted by mental help View Post
                  Thank you tfranc, all of your posts have been very helpful to me in many different situations. You are a very knowledgeable person. I will do my best to create these things as habits. again thank you very much.

                  No problem man. I really appreciate the compliment, too. Good luck with your training.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

                    Originally posted by tfranc View Post
                    You can exercise those 4 things just by how you go about doing things in your everyday life. It's not so much about what the specific task is, but your consistency in implementing those 4 in order to get the task done. If you do, by the time a big challenge comes along, they will be second nature and come easily, though the task might be a hard one. Also, you might not be aware of it, but we all use these skills to a degree when accomplishing a task.

                    For example: You come home from work or school and you're exhausted. However, you promised your wife, or girlfriend, or mom you'd clean the house that afternoon. Seems stupid, right? How can I compare BUD/S with cleaning your friggen house? I'm not. I'm comparing the skills used to accomplish any task, whether it be BUD/S or life at home. Like I said, you're tired, your dazed, you want people to feel sorry for you perhaps (haha) and now you have some choices. You can either not do the task, do it poorly with a bad attitude, or you can self talk and tell your head to eat a big bowl of shut the **** up, gain a positive attitude and implement the big 4. Visualize the task - see yourself tackling the cleaning and realize it's not that big of a deal. Goal setting - make a plan, divide the house into sections, gather supplies, estimate time, then execute. Maybe you self talk again when you get sick of cleaning and get a grip on things. This is also where arousal control comes in. Take a step back for a split second, regain composure and kill the "arousal" to complain or stop or whatever might detract you from getting cleaning the house done. Tell yourself you'll feel better and the situation will be better when the house will be clean. It really is as simple as that.

                    Another good one to work on is patience. Maybe your wife starts bitching to you about how you missed a spot on the carpet when you were vacuuming. You've had a long day and she's really annoying the **** out of you. How do you handle that situation? The general theme with this is self awareness. Some of us are naturally decent at this/these things, some are not. None of us have been tested, though.
                    If I may re-do this a little bit, just an attempt to organize the 4 a little more:

                    Goal set - figure out exactly what you want to accomplish and the time frame and supplies needed in order to accomplish it. Visualize - see yourself completing that goal. See yourself meeting all the challenges presented in accomplishing that goal and formulate a plan to get you there. See what lies ahead and realize it's not a big deal. Self talk - this can be coupled with visualization. Tell yourself it's not a big deal and that you can do it. Arousal control - control fear and quick reactions by being self aware and using the other 3 to keep a level head and complete the task. These can be mixed around and can occur anytime you need.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

                      Just my two cents, as tfranc did a great job outlining.

                      For goal setting, it helps to have an overall goal (100 pushups in 2 minutes, completion of a 9 mile LSD, etc), then a series of small and reasonably obtainable goals (add 3 pushups to my max this week, complete a 5 mile run this week, etc.) that build to the overall goal. Milestones.

                      It will help your motivation and make a larger task more manageable. If you are doing 100 pushups, they are done one at a time. If you are running 9 miles, it is done one step at a time. Looking at the immensity of the whole shebang can be mentally daunting. Splitting it up won't make the task physically easier, but it will make it less challenging mentally.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

                        You bring up a great point IRunMan. That type of goal management, breaking up big goals into smaller ones, is such an awesome tool to have in your box. They say in Hell Week to just try and get to the next meal. It's just breaking it down and allows you to focus on what's happening right now in the moment while keeping a clear head.

                        You have another good one with your "overall goal" example. I really like goal trees for training and anything that takes a good amount of time. List the goal, then tree down on a piece of paper what it takes to achieve it, then what it takes to get to that level underneath and so-on.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

                          Originally posted by IRunMan View Post
                          Just my two cents, as tfranc did a great job outlining.

                          For goal setting, it helps to have an overall goal (100 pushups in 2 minutes, completion of a 9 mile LSD, etc), then a series of small and reasonably obtainable goals (add 3 pushups to my max this week, complete a 5 mile run this week, etc.) that build to the overall goal. Milestones.

                          It will help your motivation and make a larger task more manageable. If you are doing 100 pushups, they are done one at a time. If you are running 9 miles, it is done one step at a time. Looking at the immensity of the whole shebang can be mentally daunting. Splitting it up won't make the task physically easier, but it will make it less challenging mentally.
                          I have a tendancy to look ahead and when I tell myself to stop I just do it more, how do I stop from doing this?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

                            Part of it, in my experience anyway, is realizing that the image going on in your head, the one where the next 6 miles are reeaalllyyy long and it's over 100 degrees outside or whatever and you'll be so tired and this and that is fake. You're making it up in your head. You aren't at that last mile, the temperature isn't over 100 degrees, you aren't that tired. The reality is that you probably won't be that much more tired by that time anyway. Focus on how you're doing what you're doing in the moment, not so much on just what you're doing. It also takes courage.

                            You're always going to look ahead. Everyone is. There's no way around it. It's human nature and it takes ten times more effort to try and ignore looking ahead than it does to just do the stupid thing. So, what do you do then? Looking ahead is just another way to say "visualization". What you see is your choice. You can see yourself crushing what you have in front of you, or see how "bad" everything is. How do you know how "bad" something is when you aren't there yet? You don't. That's why it's fake. You can make what you see empowering or debilitating. Do the one that feels good. That's the mental exercise. Eventually, if you keep doing that, your confidence will take over and the positive image you see for each task will be the one you have more of an inclination towards. You'll "know" in your gut that the image of yourself groveling around like some real housewives of new jersey or whatever the **** fake blonde haired, spoiled "lady" who just had to sell one of her 15 mansions to pay off her ferarri is absolutely ridiculous, fake and not you. You'll "know" that the one of yourself completing the task and crushing it like it's nothing is real. It just takes mental discipline and consistency to get there. Above all else, you've got to be self aware and know when you're slipping into that self-doubt mode.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Question for Mr Caviston.

                              It isn't about not looking forward - you absolutely need to be looking towards the goal/future. It is about not being intimidated into inaction by the immensity of reps/distance/effort between your current position and the goal. Breaking that immense goal down into smaller steps helps.

                              Here is an example that many people may not think about, but probably do. Counting pushups - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 1; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 2.... This is not only an easier way to count pushups, but it breaks down a larger set into sets of 10. I know it sounds like mind games (which is exactly what it is), but I am always surprised to find this works. On a set of 50, when I do a straight count, I can feel this mental block when I get to 25-30 and I start getting muscle fatigue and thinking 'man I've got a lot of reps left.' When I do 10 counts, the reps are the same but I am just focused on finishing that 10 count. I'm not stupid - I know the number of reps are the same, but don't underestimate the effect your mentality can have on training.

                              If you find yourself hyperfocused on the big goal that seems far away, that is where positive self-talk and visualization can come into play. Embrace your fear of failure and channel it into training. Ignoring it or pretending it doesn't exist is the worst thing you could do in my opinion.

                              For me, the days where I feel like I am behind the training curve is when I push it the most. There are always days where you feel sluggish or like things aren't going your way. On days like that, I sometimes hop on here and look at some of the ridiculously impressive PST scores I am competing against. I tell myself - "If another human can do this, I can do it with the correct preparation and work ethic" and "If they can do this, why can't you." Perhaps I am different than some, but nothing makes me motivated like feeling inadequate. Then some more self talk - "I will not be a burden; I will pull my weight; I will not fail." At that point, I am ready to hit the workout with full momentum. It is certainly a negative feeling, but I use it as my fuel to work towards a positive outcome.

                              Long story short - find what truly motivates you. It may be idea, or perhaps a way of thinking. Whatever it is, ride it for all its worth.

                              Comment

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