The 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything.
This book is written for my children. I was an ex-Navy SEAL. I loved my work back then. Often, before missions, we would all write letters to our loved ones in case we would not end the mission alive. I want this book to be a pick-me-up kind of thing. This book will inspire you to go for your dreams. The 8 actions are UPERSIST. I used the metaphor of a captain and a ship to build the idea in your head. ‘YOUR LIFE IS UP TO YOU. YOU DECIDE WHAT KIND OF LIFE TO LIVE!’ Do not give up on a dream. Why do you want that dream to come true? Your mind can be your worst enemy. Let your mind work by your side and guide you to where you want to be in future. Live your dreams.
Everyone is given a boat in town, Uptoyou. You can upgrade your boat as you grow up, but you have only 1 boat. Everyone needs to go through hard work to make their boat work. Tim and Ted had similar upbringings but later on in life, Tim had to work harder. Ted made everything look easy. Tim kept his plans to himself. Tim loved the challenge of his job while Ted found his work to be boring and not great enough for what he was destined to be. Tim listened to advice from the older captains whereas Ted didn’t feel he needed any. Tim started beating Ted in racing but he didn’t tell anyone about it. Tim was given more difficult tasks by his boss and he loved the work. On the other hand, Ted felt resentful and jealous. Later, when on a new course, Tim started to panic as he was in unchartered waters. Captain Bill came to Tim’s rescue when his boat stalled. Ted and his friends teased Tim over his incompetence. Later, Tim saw the move magnificent ship that passed him. It was labelled ‘Persistence’. The ship’s captain started talking to Tim. They agreed to meet and have dinner together. Peter admitted that he used to have the same boat as Tim. Peter allowed Tim to tour his magnificent ship. Captain Peter definitely spent a lifetime improving his ship. Peter revealed that he ran aground many times before finally mustering the courage to leave the bay. Later, a man at the Shack embraced Peter. It was Jack, the owner of the clam shack. Peter was in town because he wanted to improve his ship. Peter explained that Jack loved his job and that his passion was infectious. Peter called himself a master and commander, someone who chartered his own path in life. Many people want to be a master and commander, but few succeed. Peter gave some advice Is it a nice to have or must have? Sacrifice is definitely a must. Tim went back to think through it and see whether he would really want the code.
The most important thing about running aground is making sure you understand why you ran aground. When you understand the ‘why’, then you’ll figure out the ‘way’ not to do it again – at least on that particular portion of your course. – Captain Peter
You won’t lose all of your friends, just the ones that aren’t your true friends. You’ll be quite lonely a bit, you’ll feel lost, get scared, be bone tired, doubt yourself. You might even cry yourself to sleep once or twice. You’ll fail many more times than you’ll ever succeed, and sometimes you won’t even know when you’ve succeeded. The code isn’t for everyone though. – Captain Peter
Understand the Why. Tim couldn’t figure out what he wanted to sacrifice or give up. What if your work could make a difference? What if you have a purpose? Chart your own course and do not help others fulfil their dreams. Peter was scuba diving to check on the new propellers that were installed on the ship. Learn to trust and verify. Peter was in extremely good shape and was very energetic. Not everyone is willing to work hard to get stuff done. Peter said he wanted to live purposefully and be able to chart his own course in life. It was all courage having the courage to follow your own courses. Dream the things you want to dream about. Peter advised Peter to learn to dream big. Our brain is always filled with limitations already and it is hard to overcome them. You must learn to dream big. Everyone has two limitations in life, your ability to dream and the ability to pursue those dreams. You decide what your limitations are. Ask ‘What If’ questions. Understand the why. Make your time count. Time is the only thing you have. Understand your true ‘why!’ You must find a ‘why’ to die for. Sacrifice everything to go for your dream. If you don’t have a strong enough reason, you will fumble. When the going gets tough, you will start to question your purpose, whether the sacrifice is worth it etc. This is when you will need a strong why. Don’t venture out if you do not know your why. In life, everything is up to you. You are the master of your fate. Achieve pebble goals first. Create an outcome account. On the left, list down the (+) of your goal and on your right the (-) if you were not be able to achieve your goal. The Outcome account will make you unstoppable. For example, for a Navy Seal a (+) could be: I would do things few people in the country ever get to do; for a (-), it could be: It would mean I had failed at something I believed I could do.
The problem is most people don’t allow themselves time to dream. They don’t ask the ‘what’ questions. Great dreams come from great questions. The better the questions, the more exciting the dreams! – Captain Peter
Most people think they know why they want to do something, but they give up before they accomplish their dream. – Captain Peter
Plan in 3 Dimensions. A lot of people do not plan and they just dive head in. Peter said he used to that when he was young until his boat ran out of gas half-way. Learn from your failures and recover from them. It’s a lesson learned. Embrace your FAILURES. The only failures are the ones you learn nothing from. Failing is a part and parcel of life. Having a plan will show you what works and what doesn’t. There will be no one to guide you. A linear plan wouldn’t work at sea. You need to consider all possibilities and have a contingency plan. However, your plan is not fool-proof and has to be edited along the way. Planning helps prepare you for the unexpected. Fortune favors the prepared. Planning is the key for mission success in the Navy. Not planning will cause you to lose your life. Define your goal and write it down and read it every day. Divide your goal. Do it daily. ‘What action can I take towards my goal today?’ Passion can only take you so far. You need to find the purpose in life. The key for success is always to do your best at the next task at hand. Focus on your daily progress. Make progress and work on your goal every day. ‘Do it daily’.
To prepare, one must first plan. The better you plan, the better you can prepare; the better you prepare, the better your chances of success. – Captain Peter
Exercise to Execute. The main reason why plans don’t work is because they have not been tested. Your body obeys your brain. Every action is something which you can control. The problem is that most people neglect their bodies. If you do not exercise, your body will not listen to your brain. Exercise builds stamina and concentration, which you will need to fuel your goal. Exercise is one of your best mechanisms to prevent yourself from giving up. The fitter you are, the harder you can work to make your plan a reality. The second part of it is to do it DAILY. Get your heart pumping. It works. Exercise is like a miracle drug and it will also make you more attractive. This will be your secret weapon. It keeps your brain focussed and your attitude positive. Push ups also work out different muscles in your body. You can also do it anytime and anywhere. Exercise produces dopamine. When you get stuck at work, go exercise!
Exercise can help keep you going when you feel like giving up. I consider exercise part of executing a plan. I do it first thing every morning. It stokes my engine all day as I tackle the intricacies of executing my plans. – Captain Peter
No one has the time to exercise unless they make it a priority! – Captain Peter
I’ve found push-ups to be the single best exercise when I don’t have time for a row or run. Push-ups engage all the major muscle groups, and you can do them anytime, anywhere. In fact, I use them to help me to stay awake when I’m on watch late at night. – Captain Peter
Recognize Your Reason to Believe. Belief in yourself. Have confidence. Peter pulled out a stone which was smooth on one end and had the word ‘Kanji’ on it. It read ‘Before you can achieve, you must first believe.’ It was the relentless flow of a river that smoothens a stone. You must be like a river and continuously believe in yourself. Your small wins will give you the confidence required. Exercise can you the confidence you need to believe in yourself. Take control of your body first. Our beliefs have a huge impact on our actions. When you don’t have belief, you won’t succeed because you won’t be motivated to take action. What you believe can impact what you or cannot do. With belief you can be unstoppable. Never stop believing. Jacques was a brilliant chef. He was a perfectionist. With belief, you will never give up. Peter named his ship Persistence. Success comes from building the correct habits. You must make your goal visible. Persistence helped me endure through my Navy SEAL life. Focus on something which you belief that is absolutely true. Start from yourself.
Take control of your body and you’ll take control of your life. – Captain Peter
The more you believe in yourself, the harder you’ll try and, when that happens, you’ll learn there’s nothing you can’t do. – Captain Peter
Survey Your Habits. Identify the obstacles that are hindering you. Then modify them so that they won’t get in your way. For instance, these could be bad habits which you have. Bad habits can be re-programmed. For instance, Peter learnt to latch a hatch every time he went through it after learning from his previous mistakes. ‘The mother of perfection is repetition.’ Famous saying. If you have a bad habit, you need to keep correcting it and repeating the correct again. Build a habit of welcoming and facing adversity. Adversity is the best teacher around. Have the never stop learning attitude. Riding out a storm gives you a sense of accomplishment. Learn from adversity. Keep your mind open to new things. The most challenging tasks only happen in your mind and depends on your mindset. Having a positive mind set is very crucial. Be careful of unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking etc. Face your problems and be responsible for your actions. In SEAL training, Pool Comp was super tough and one needed to stay calm as the oxygen mask will be removed from you as part of the test for a short while. Keep practising until it doesn’t seem familiar to you anymore. Your actions when you were short of breath will determine whether you succeed or not. Training will teach you to think under pressure. Practise ACT – Aware, Concentrate, Take Control. Everything is up to you.
Improvise to Overcome Obstacles. Peter introduced the guy running the ship to Tim. He was Robert. Robert invented a new battery system. Peter actually thought of giving up on a battery system as he encountered multiple failures. He was not an engineer and a lot of money was spent on fixing the system. In the end, this project was handed over to Robert and Peter gave him moral support. Robert was motivated because he wanted the chance to help the crew of Persistence. You need to understand the ‘how’ as well. Robert had to experiment and create multiple prototypes before the breakthrough. Implement and adapt. NEGU – Never Ever Give Up. Sometimes, there will be a need to be flexible and to improvise. Never be satisfied and always look for ways to improve. Peter actually thought his chef, Jacques, and Robert the code as well. There is a place in this world for everyone. Don’t treat people as a servant. Rather, you want people to work for you. Improvising means doing things differently. In the Navy, not taking action can actually kill someone. Through a mistake, you will learn another way not to Do Something. The obstacles are there to stop the other people.
Implement an action, adapt to the result, and repeat until you’ve overcome the obstacle. Be like a river and find your path over, under, around, or through – always keep trying and don’t stop flowing. Your success will come from your ability to keep trying. – Captain Peter
You need a crew that’s great at everything you’re not good at, and you need to leave your ego on the pier and be open to accepting that you will not always have the right answer. You’ll need to learn to trust your crew. Then a funny thing will happen. – Captain Peter
Improvising is a habit like exercising and planning, and it takes time and practice to make it a habit. The ability to improvise is not a talent that you’re born with; it’s a mindset that you create for yourself… – Captain Peter
‘The scary thing about improvising is that you have no idea how your idea will turn out. That’s okay, no one does. But if you don’t try to improvise, your results are guaranteed: Nothing. – Captain Peter
Seek Expert Advice. 1) Understand that you will never be great at everything; 2) Understand your strengths and weaknesses; 3) Find people who are good at covering for your weaknesses. Turn your liabilities into strengths by seeking advice. Learn from those who have gone before you. Arrogance kills and please try to learn from others. Look for people who can help you on your goal. Put your pride aside.
Team Up! Peter would be giving Tim a final exam to see if he understood the code completely. Action 8 is about choosing tough challenges which will eventually reap benefits. The tougher it is, the more rewarding it will be. You need a team. It’s a never ending cycle as you groom your new team. Press on. NEGU. Learn how to overcome your obstacles. 1) Understand the why, and you’ll figure out the way; 2) Plan in 3 dimensions; 3) Exercise to execute; 4) Recognize your reason to believe; 5) Survey your habits; 6) Improvise to overcome any obstacle; 7) Seek expert advice; 8) Team Up. Your ‘Why’ is the most crucial if you want others to join you on this.