This is Ron White, I would like to share some things I have learned while working with my friend and mentor, former U.S. Navy SEAL T.C. Cummings, about building confidence.

Be Prepared… the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise. ~ Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts of America.

There is a reason why the Boy Scout organization was so instrumental in raising leaders prepared, and willing to know what to do when needed. Their philosophy was to be prepared in mind and body for any contingency. They taught young men to be leaders by showing them how to think ahead of the pack, before there is a need, and to be ready and willing to take action when necessary. With this they built confident men who could handle any situation.

The Boy Scouts have taken some big hits over the last decade, but you can’t argue with the success of the program in instilling values, discipline and goals in hundreds of thousands of adults today.

My friend, T.C. Cummings, an 8-year veteran of the U.S. Navy SEALs, calls being prepared ‘Operational Readiness.’ Essentially it is the same philosophy as the Boy Scouts, be prepared for any contingency, and being able to commit to follow through. He even has a great personal story I will share with you.

When T.C. was 20 years old he and another SEAL were sent to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were to work with rescue teams and pilots to learn how to react when an aircraft was downed. T. C. was a medic, so this fit right in with his job, and finding and dealing with downed aircraft is one job SEALs need to be versed in.

He and his buddy showed up at the training center on day one, along with about 16 other people from the medical and military fields. The others were not trained like SEALs, so when the instructor said they were going for a workout the SEALs thought they were wasting their time, the callestenics and exercises they were doing were a walk in the park for them. Then the instructors informed the group they were going on a two-mile run, at which the SEALS were thinking, ‘Two miles, we don’t even get warmed up until 4 miles.’

The run was slower than normal for us, so T.C. started to get a little cocky. He literally walked up to the instructor, who was running, and told him this was a waste of time for him and his buddy. The instructor told him to get back in the ranks. By the end of the run T.C. and his buddy were close to the last in the pack and couldn’t catch up. What happened? The SEALs egos got in their way and they failed to be prepared for the change in altitude. They had come from San Diego, at sea level, and were now running in the high elevations of Albuquerque. They didn’t know about the effects of altitude on blood cells and oxygen. T.C. said he had never felt so much pain as he did when they finished the run. The instructor, having dealt with SEALs before, had the last laugh.

According to T.C., ‘I was not operational ready. I had gone into an area not knowing the atmosphere. Instructors had dealt with SEALs before, and this was a way to bring humility to them.’

When you go into a situation where you are not prepared it reduces your confidence.

Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident. ~ Dale Carnegie

You will find the lesson on self-confidence among many available on the training CDs “Mind of a Navy SEAL,” and in our training “Think Like A U.S. Navy SEAL” workshops.




“Mind of a U.S. Navy SEAL” workshop

Wikipedia – Be Prepared:

Brainy Quote –