The way of the SEAL book cover

The way of the SEAL

The way of the SEAL

The Way Of The Seal book draws on the expertise of Navy SEALs, the elite force responsible for eliminating Osama Bin Laden in 2011, to unlock the secrets of harnessing exceptional mental strength and achieving success in your personal and career endeavors.

By Mark Divine and Allyson Edelhertz Machate, 2013, 224 pages

Original title: “The Way Of The Seal – Think Like An Elite Warrior To Lead and Succeed”

The way of the SEAL book cover2

The Way of the Seal Introduction

What practical advantages come from reading this book The way of the SEAL?

By delving into the book, you’ll grasp the tactics and techniques used by elite Navy SEAL warriors, enabling you to attain any objective.

This guide, inspired by a former officer’s service training, imparts valuable insights.

The author, drawing from his own training background, formulates a set of strategies accessible to all, empowering you to set and achieve goals while becoming an effective leader.

You’ll acquire the skills to enhance your focus and cultivate the essential strategies for success, whether in personal or professional pursuits.

Part 1: For a meaningful life, define a goal

Every person is different, and our individuality is not determined by our skin color, physique, or language; it’s rooted in our soul, our essence, and who we truly are.

Deep within our souls, we hold unique values that define our existence and provide it with purpose. These essential principles act as guiding beacons, illuminating our way, especially in critical decisions like choosing a profession.

So, the question arises: How can you discover your motivating purpose?

To start, establish your non-negotiables, the principles you won’t compromise on.

There is an interesting visualization exercise in The way of the SEAL. Consider scenarios like having just one year left to live, a city shaken by a terrorist attack, or winning the lottery. Also, contemplate choices such as helping a friend move or going on a planned family outing.

Your responses reveal valuable insights into your character traits. Declining your friend’s request, citing other plans, may suggest a selfish or less team-oriented nature.

This introspective process is crucial for understanding your core motivations and identifying areas that need refinement.

For instance, Mark Divine’s philosophy is centered on seeking truth, wisdom, and love for inner peace and joy, as opposed to pursuing thrills, wealth, titles, or fame.

Knowing your unshakeable values is necessary in crafting a purposeful life. In fact, Mark Divine made a significant career change, leaving a comfortable Senior Accountant position (CPA certified public accountant) when he felt he had compromised his authenticity. He embraced the military to align with his profound life vision.

Next, establish your core values.

Core values can be:

  • Wisdom and authenticity.
  • Lifelong learning.
  • Making a positive impact by assisting others.
  • Gratitude for life and not taking it for granted.

In contrast, there are values that don’t align with one’s beliefs:

  • Snobbery.
  • Passing judgment on others and condemning them.
  • Selfishness.

Defining your values is essential for understanding your guiding principles and ensuring they resonate with your authentic self.

Thirdly, ascertain your life’s mission

The key question to answer is: What is the most significant purpose I want to pursue in my life?

Understanding your life’s mission offers several advantages, such as:

  1. Breaking down your objectives into manageable components.
  2. Overcoming hurdles and challenges effectively.

If you fail to pursue your life mission, it can be challenging to achieve substantial progress in your personal and professional life.

For instance, during the grueling first day of SEAL training, designed to assess candidates’ physical and mental endurance, Mark Divine in The way of the SEAL shares that he maintained a positive outlook and tackled the extreme demands with determination. His partner, however, struggled and eventually quit. When asked about his decision, the partner revealed that becoming a SEAL was never his true dream; he had always aspired to be a veterinarian.

So, how did Mark Divine triumph in the face of such formidable challenges? The answer is straightforward: Mark Divine had a clearly defined life mission, while his partner did not.

control your mind

The Way Of The Seal Part 2: Control your mind for sharper concentration

As shared in The way of the SEAL, In their training, Navy SEALs emphasize the importance of maintaining a front-sight focus. This means they understand the need to tackle one objective at a time and remain fully concentrated on it until it is successfully completed.

Front-sight focus is not only critical in combat situations, where lives are at stake, but it’s also invaluable in your everyday life when pursuing your personal projects.

In fact, achieving any goal demands a significant level of concentration. Great accomplishments are only attainable when you clearly define your goals and systematically achieve them one at a time.

Imagine you’re launching a business and have several objectives to address simultaneously, such as cost reduction, market research, and product or service launch. While attempting to juggle multiple tasks at once, your efficiency may suffer due to a lack of concentration.

A more effective approach

A more effective approach would be to employ front-sight focus, concentrating on one immediate goal before moving on to the next. This method allows you to achieve each sub-goal more efficiently.

Front-sight focus doesn’t come naturally; it’s a skill that requires mental control. To practice front-sight focus effectively, you need to learn how to disregard external influences and distractions so that you can direct your attention to a single goal.

One effective approach is to incorporate deep conscious breathing and moments of silence into your routine. Deep conscious breathing has the natural ability to ground you in the present moment, preventing distractions from taking hold. Regular practice of deep conscious breathing can enhance your ability to maintain focus on your primary mission.

Silence, on the other hand, provides a mental space of pure clarity that allows for clear thinking. For instance, in an office setting, the discussions of colleagues and the constant ringtone alerts from laptops can be distracting and undermine your concentration. One way to counteract this is by stepping outside to find a quiet environment like a park, where the absence of noise permits you to regain control of your thoughts and fully refocus on your objective.

For those who master this skill, the mind becomes their greatest ally, while for those who struggle, it can turn into their worst adversary.

The Way Of The Seal Part 3: build a strong mind

Turn your weaknesses into strengths

In life, it’s quite natural to face situations that trigger doubts, fear, and a sense of inadequacy, as this is an intrinsic part of our human nature. The pertinent question to ponder is: “How can we effectively navigate these challenges to lead the life we desire?”

As the saying goes, “Genius is 1% talent, 99% hard work.” This underscores the importance of putting in the effort to overcome our weaknesses and construct a robust personality. Humans tend to be naturally averse to anything that might cause them harm, and this inclination manifests itself in our everyday actions. Many individuals prefer the comfort of their familiar zones.

For instance, consider the pursuit of a master’s degree, which, while offering a stable 9-5 job for 42 years with an annual salary increase of 2.55%, often fails to provide genuine daily fulfillment, as a significant number of people do not find satisfaction in their work.

While this strategy is comprehensible, it has its limitations. In reality, we are capable of achieving far more than we may initially believe if we dare to step outside our comfort zones.

An executive, who ventured to climb a mountain, had to confront his fear of reaching the summit. During his ascent, he experienced moments of panic, slipping and clutching his rope. Rather than seeking help, his coach advised him to “stop yelling” and encouraged him to focus on conquering his fears. With this approach, he managed to regain his composure, improve his anxiety management, and emerged from the challenge much stronger.

Another noteworthy example is shared by a Navy SEAL who admitted that he was perpetually afraid of parachute jumps. However, to overcome his fear, he developed a technique where, before each jump, he concentrated on his primary mission: serving his country and saving lives. Through his unwavering commitment to his duty, he successfully completed over ten thousand jumps.

To effectively conquer your weaknesses and reach new heights


To effectively conquer your weaknesses and reach new heights, it’s crucial to nurture three fundamental virtues:

  1. Discipline: This virtue lays the foundation for creating positive habits, particularly the habit of managing your fears and anxieties effectively.
  2. Motivation: Serving as the driving force behind your habits, motivation is the unwavering belief in your ability to attain your goals. It encompasses the vision of an improved and triumphant version of yourself that can conquer any challenge.
  3. Determination: Determination represents your unwavering commitment to fulfilling your mission. Regardless of the hurdles and unexpected setbacks that may arise along the journey, your determination drives you to relentlessly pursue your objectives.

These virtues have long been utilized by elite warriors, some of whom transitioned into diverse roles after retiring, such as businessmen, cardiologists, or brokers. Now, you can apply these virtues to confront your fears and expand your realm of possibilities.

For instance, if you have a fear of water, you can commence by venturing into a small pond and gradually swim short distances. Through daily practice, you’ll progress steadily, eventually swimming in larger, deeper pools, and even conquering longer distances, all while effectively managing your fears. Your daily commitment to discipline, motivation, and determination will lead you to triumph over your fears.


Enhancing your mental strength

Enhancing your mental strength involves conquering fear through the use of positive internal dialogue. Individuals with robust mental strength are the ones who boldly confront challenges, exhibiting unwavering determination. They don’t give up, facing diverse challenges with a resilient attitude.

To nurture your mental strength, it’s essential to take command of your thought processes, and employing positive internal dialogue plays a pivotal role in this journey. When it comes to self-talk, there are two distinct approaches:

  1. You can allow fear to permeate your thoughts, leading to negative self-talk that diminishes your self-worth. Phrases like “I am useless” or “I will never succeed, others can, but I cannot” perpetuate your fears and erode your mental strength.
  2. Conversely, you can summon your courage and opt for an empowering self-dialogue. By affirming “I can do it,” “I am a winner,” “I will achieve my goals,” or “I am making progress,” you bolster your mental fortitude while gradually dispelling fear.

By rejecting fear and embracing courage, you will amass the strength needed to respond effectively to any situation. Additionally, to continually fortify your mental resilience, emotional control is equally imperative.

Emotional resilience

It’s evident that emotions exert an influence on both our mental and physical states. Consider a couple of common emotions in our daily lives:

  1. Anger, for instance, has a tangible effect on muscle stiffness.
  2. Fear triggers the diaphragm to contract, causing shallow breathing, reduced brain oxygenation, diminished mental clarity, and decreased physical performance.

For instance, during military training, one of Mark Divine’s teammates loses a tooth due to an error. Without pause, he succumbs to anger, resulting in muscle tension and a drop in his performance.

However, he recognizes the detrimental impact of negative emotions and chooses to redirect his anger into determination, thereby gaining the strength to complete the training session more swiftly.

The Way Of The Seal Part 4: listen to your intuitions for great achievements.

Have you ever experienced that nagging feeling that something undesirable is on the horizon, only to see it materialize later? This sensation often arises from your unconscious mind, and tapping into this aspect of your psyche can be immensely beneficial.

To harness the power of your unconscious, focus on being fully attuned to your surroundings, filtering them through your senses. The key is to slow down your pace and actively gather information using your senses – smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste.

Your unconscious mind receives this sensory input and processes it to enhance your understanding of your environment, enabling you to make informed decisions. For instance, in a conversation, your ears don’t just register words; they pick up the nuances in the speaker’s voice, conveying their emotional state. Simultaneously, you can observe the person’s body language using your sense of sight. Your unconscious mind then evaluates this data and communicates insights to your conscious mind.

Consider the example of Tiger Woods in golf; he has honed his ability to access his unconscious mind after extensive work with sports psychologist-hypnotherapist, Dr. Jay Brunza. Woods attests, “I sometimes experience memory lapses; I know I was present, but I don’t recall hitting the golf ball in reality.” This phenomenon demonstrates the connection between elite athletes and their unconscious states, which can be tapped into for peak performance.

To unlock the concealed potential of your unconscious mind, you can employ two effective techniques:

  1. Heightened Environmental Awareness: This approach involves engaging your conscious mind to the fullest extent, allowing you to actively gather information from your surroundings.
  2. Relaxed Consciousness: Here, you refrain from fixating on anything in particular; instead, you maintain a broad, relaxed awareness of your surroundings.

By consistently practicing these two modes of consciousness, you create a pathway for the exchange of information between your conscious and unconscious minds. This exchange may manifest as flashes of brilliance or inspiration.

An exemplar of this technique is Albert Einstein, who utilized it by taking a nap following periods of intense concentration. Many of his profound insights occurred after these naps. You can employ a similar process to harness your unconscious as a valuable source of inspiration. It’s crucial to employ all your senses to optimize data gathering and processing, thus enabling you to better navigate your environment.

This knowledge is a significant stride toward structuring your mind for success. In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into these tools to help you reach your goals.

managing risk

The Way Of The Seal Part 5: Entrepreneurship

Build a strong business by spending on smart ideas

Establishing a robust business involves investing in intelligent strategies. It’s worth noting that a staggering 95% of startups don’t survive beyond their first five years. This high attrition rate stems from the dynamic nature of the business landscape, where emerging technologies can swiftly render your products obsolete, and investors might withdraw their support along the way.

What is the best way to manage these risks?

What’s the best approach to mitigate these risks? While it’s impossible to eliminate all risks, you can fortify your business by targeting high-value objectives. This approach optimizes your resource allocation, focusing on what truly matters. You can assess the value of a target using the FITS framework, which stands for Fit (alignment with your team’s skills), Importance (relevance to your overarching mission), Timing (opportunity assessment), and Simplicity (complexity factor):

  1. Do your teams possess the necessary skills for implementing this new technology?
  2. Is it vital to achieving your broader mission?
  3. Is the timing appropriate for pursuing this target?
  4. Is the project straightforward or exceedingly complex?

Let’s consider an example: Suppose you run a company specializing in developing technologies to reduce CO2 emissions from diesel engines, all with a strong ethical commitment. To evaluate the relevance of your project, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your teams adequately equipped and trained for the task?
  • If not, do the benefits of the new technology outweigh the cost of training your teams?
  • Will it enhance your business’s competitiveness, which is crucial?
  • Is the timing right for implementing these changes?
  • Do your company’s resources align with this objective?
  • Is the project manageable enough for efficient execution?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, it might be prudent to reconsider the launch of your technology aimed at reducing diesel engine carbon emissions. Otherwise, if you proceed despite these concerns, you may face unexpected challenges down the road.


This happens due to misallocated budgeting.

If a product isn’t working, it’s essential to deconstruct it and make improvements. Sometimes, we become so attached to our creations that we struggle to let go, even when it’s necessary. Instead of endlessly trying to fix a faulty product, it’s better to break it down and build something better. Even if this process leads to initial failures, consider them as opportunities for valuable learning. For instance, the Body Rev fitness product failed in the United States due to complexity and targeting the wrong market. Rather than trying to simplify the existing product or find a new niche, the creator developed a new, user-friendly product: the perfect push-up. This shift was informed by the lessons learned from the initial failure.

Innovation is what distinguishes leaders from followers. Instead of waiting for failure, it’s better to think creatively and strive for better product quality. One effective approach is benchmarking, which involves studying and analyzing various aspects of your organization (e.g., quality, productivity, speed, deadlines, return on investment, work methods, customer feedback). This assessment helps identify strengths and areas that need improvement.

As Albert Einstein wisely said, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” Thus, even if you have some successful products, use customer complaints as a source of inspiration for creating innovative solutions to address their needs. This way, you can retain them as loyal customers. By listening to their concerns and proposing effective solutions, you’ll naturally foster more sales. If you don’t take this proactive approach, your competitors might, and you risk losing your position as the market leader.

Always be in offensive mode

Life, whether in business or personal matters, is often marked by conflicts. Being ready to confront these conflicts is crucial, and simply relying on a defensive approach that becomes a habitual response isn’t the most effective strategy. Mark Divine, drawing from his extensive experience in elite military operations and as a successful business leader with a multimillion-dollar turnover, understands that ongoing success requires a proactive mindset.

Operating in an offensive mode means setting the tempo of the engagement, and your competitors will strive to keep up. Your choice of words and expressions reflects whether you’re adopting an offensive or defensive stance, and this can significantly impact your team’s creativity. Using phrases like “maybe,” “try,” and “fail” conveys uncertainty and doubt.

In contrast, expressions like “we’ll tackle this challenge with a smile,” “we will grow from this,” and “I reinforce my strengths” will make your organization stronger and more motivated. By reinforcing these assertive habits through your choice of words and your body language (which constitutes a substantial 80% of communication), you can master your professional and personal relationships effectively.

Leadership is not a question of skill, but rather of character.

Being in an offensive mode offers the advantage of surprise, which can keep your competitors on their toes. The modern world has undergone significant transformations, particularly in the realm of digitalization. In order to thrive, your ability to respond rapidly is absolutely crucial.

For instance, as of the time of writing this article, PayPal, Apple with its contactless payment technology, Google, and non-bank entities have entered the niche market of payment methods. These innovative companies are gradually chipping away at the market share traditionally held by banks that have struggled to adapt to technological advancements.

Bill Gates aptly noted, “Success is a bad teacher; it makes intelligent people think that they can’t fail.” For a considerable period, these traditional banking institutions have grappled with the need for change as they remain locked in an outdated status quo. Stagnation, which is the polar opposite of initiative, poses a significant obstacle to your business’s growth. By adopting an offensive approach, you can catch your competitors off guard, capitalizing on their slow defensive reactions to secure notable victories.

Here are the key principles outlined in “The Way of the Seal”:

  1. Establish clear goals.
  2. Master your mind to enhance focus.
  3. Cultivate mental toughness.
  4. Turn weaknesses into strengths.
  5. Boost mental strength by combating fear with positive self-talk.
  6. Develop emotional resilience.
  7. Harness your intuition for remarkable achievements.
  8. Adopt an entrepreneurial warrior mindset.
  9. If a product isn’t working, deconstruct and enhance it.
  10. Maintain an offensive stance at all times.

Conclusions about “The way of the seal” by Thierry Payet, from the “Se Coacher” blog

In “The Way of The Seal,” we discover several valuable insights:

Learning the importance of cultivating personal discipline and a code of honor to transform one’s life.

The inspiring journey of a former Accounting Executive who has successfully mastered his life and how we can emulate this model.

Techniques to make strategic decisions and analyze choices more effectively.

Strategies for managing fear, boosting courage, and optimizing overall health.

The significance of clearly defining your life’s mission to achieve your goals.

Realizing your full potential through methods such as positive self-talk and maintaining a balanced state of consciousness.

The SEALS’ motto, “It pays to be a winner,” and how it contrasts with traditional teachings like “turn the other cheek.”

Personal experiences shared by the author, illustrating the transformative impact of “The Way of The Seal.”

Exploring competitive intelligence and the importance of maintaining an offensive mindset for innovation and leadership development.

Embracing the power of positive visualization in achieving ambitious goals, akin to successful tech giants like Google, Amazon, PayPal, and Apple, which lead in their respective industries.

These ideas highlight the profound impact of adopting an entrepreneurial and strategic approach to life.

Final thoughts

The way of the SEAL excels in discussing mental strength and provides readers with invaluable tools for developing an unshakable mindset. Mark Divine serves as a living example of these principles.

Mark Divine presents practical ideas that can be readily applied by a diverse audience, whether you are an executive or an athlete.

The author openly shares his personal experiences, including two failed businesses, and the valuable lessons he learned about bouncing back and achieving success in other ventures.

By implementing these principles, readers can gain increased confidence, authenticity, and a deeper sense of fulfillment in their pursuits.

Some readers may find however that the author’s self-promotion, particularly in promoting his Kokoro camp and Seal Fit programs, can be excessive.

The comprehensive approach of The way of the SEAL may leave readers feeling overwhelmed, as the requirements outlined may appear to be beyond their abilities.


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