Ron White memory guy, Two-Time USA Memory Champion; memory-training expert and memory keynote, shares lessons from TC Cummings Mind of a SEAL program on how discipline techniques can carry over from U.S. Navy SEAL training to everyday life.

Take a look around you at the people you admire in business. What sets them apart from the others? Is there a certain characteristic they possess that others do not?  I would bet you will pick out someone who has attained success through their ability to focus on a goal, lead people through respect and communication, and possess the self-discipline to follow through on projects to completion.

My friend and coach, former U.S. Navy SEAL T.C. Cummings, has some profound lessons on discipline he learned throughout his eight years of training with the SEALS. . T.C.’s definition of discipline is: “What drives our actions when we lack motivation.” When we don’t have that internal push to keep us going forward we rely on discipline to move us forward.

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday

In SEAL training each day a new goal is set. They are constantly pushing themselves to strive higher, competing against themselves to better their running times or the number of push-ups they do.  Each day the instructors add more challenges, in addition to the ones they already have. It is a rigorous training, and few last through the end of the 26-week basic training, much less through “Hell Week,” or are prepared for a mission.

When they are through their training they realize that 80% of SEAL training is mental. Although the physical is strenuous, and pushes them past the limits the body can usually take, the ability to focus and tune out all distractions allows the body to carry on.

This lesson on discipline, along with so many valuable ones that can help you in business and in life, can be found in TC Cumming’s “Mind of a Navy SEAL” program.

1. You want to eat, don’tcha?

Throughout training SEALs are not starved, but a hot meal in dry clothes is definitely something to strive for during BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training). Each day they have physical and mental training, and in addition they have to do push-ups before their meals. Each day one more push up is added to their requirements (the first day one, the second day two – each day to the end of the training). If they can do the required amount, they can put on dry clothes and eat a fresh, hot meal – inside. If not, they have to run ½ mile down to the beach, roll around in the ocean, run back to the dining hall and eat their MRE’s (Meals Ready To Eat – food prepared months before in plastic wrappers), outside – no matter what the weather, in their wet uniforms.

They still got to eat, but didn’t get the rewards of accomplishment – a hot meal. This lesson builds discipline. The instructors want you to succeed – but if you can’t they don’t want you out there with your brothers unprepared.

2. You Can Never Go Home.

Once you have undergone any part of the SEAL training you will never be the same. Lessons learned have disciplined you to focus, push yourself and move forward. You learn to set your standards higher and higher – to the point where you don’t enjoy doing the same things anymore. Once you’ve stretched your imagination you can never be satisfied with what you were doing before. Becoming a better soldier, and a better person, means you continually work at setting your standards higher.

3. Adapt, Improvise and Overcome.

If you continue to use the same tactics, whether it be in selling, playing football or fighting on the battlefield, soon your enemies or competition will know your plays and be able to outwit you. Each day you have to look at how you are going about things, make changes and you will be successful.

Thomas Edison once said – “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

T. C. told a story about the time he and his buddies were working with an allied team who were experienced in boats. The SEALs know how to get in and out of one, and ride in one, but are not trained to know the boats themselves and how to work them. The allied team, being in their home port, had people spying on the SEALs and when war games were being played knew the tactics the SEALs would use. When the SEALs found out they decided to change the plan. They “borrowed” a volleyball net nearby, and knowing the allies would be using a canal, set up the net so it would get tangled in the rudders. They proceeded to ambush the allies and climb aboard their boat while they were distracted with the net. They adapted, improvised and overcame in this situation.

Every day look for new ways to make things happen, Develop a solution-oriented mindset and look for challenges on a daily basis. Adapt that challenge to work into your goal, and improvise ways to carry it out and overcome the obstacles in your way. Ask yourself: “What actions can I take so I can benefit from more discipline, and therefore experience the benefits that come into my life?”

If you can’t adapt, don’t complain if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected.  A SEAL never plays the role of victim!

This lesson on discipline, along with so many valuable ones that can help you in business and in life, can be found in TC Cumming’s “Mind of a Navy SEAL” program.