How to Succeed at Anything (By the Man Who Broke BUD/S Students)

Ex-DEVGRU operator, Andy Stumpf, knows all about quitting.

Put it this way:

Only about 20% of BUD/S students actually make it through to become Navy SEALs.

And the SEALs that then try to join DEVGRU (the Navy’s elite counterterrorism unit)?

A large percentage of those guys don’t make it through, either.

Bottom line?

Andy Stumpf has succeeded where most fail.

How come?

Well, he learned that after becoming a BUD/S instructor, and talking to the students who quit.

Not to make them feel better but to understand what had caused them to drop out.

That way, the instructors would have a better idea of which buttons to push…

…to make more students quit.

(Sounds cruel but they are after the best of the best)

And he learned that it ultimately came down to one simple thing.

Get that thing wrong, and you quit.

Get it right, and you succeed.

Whether we’re talking about BUD/S, getting in shape, parenting, building a business or whatever else.

So, here’s the deal…

Inches, Bricks and BUD/S

OK, you’re just a couple of hours into a course that lasts a full 6 months…

…and you’re already wet, cold and tired.

Even at this early stage, students are quitting.

Why?

Because they’ve allowed themselves to become overwhelmed.

And, thanks to Andy Stumpf, the instructors know exactly how to twist the knife.

As he says, you just need to plant the seed…

“Hey, how long do you think you can be cold like this for?”

In reality, BUD/S is a power struggle.

Andy puts it this way:

There’s two worlds in BUD/S:

There’s the student – they need to think small, they need to think ‘inches’.

My job as an instructor? I need you to think big.

And that’s all it is, it’s a battle between the ears.

Can I get you to think about the big picture, and can you tune me out and think about the small world.

The inches.

That’s the difference between success and failure at BUD/S.

So, just focus on making it through until the end of the day, the next meal, this one push-up.

Of course, some find that easier to do than others.

Why?

Well, according to Andy, that’s largely down to things you experience in your formative years.

(He learned the lesson at a young age with a pallet of bricks)

Ultimately, it’s about becoming conditioned to doing things where you have to:

Set yourself up mentally and emotionally for a task that sucks but you can’t accomplish in one moment.

In his case, a pallet of 500 bricks got delivered to the construction site where he was working.

His task?

Take those 500 bricks up to the roof of the building.

Now, you have a choice:

Do you focus on the 2000-lb mountain of bricks in front of you?

Or do you focus on just picking up six and carrying them to the roof?

That way, 500 bricks soon become 494, then 488, 482…

…20, 14, 8, 2.

You break that big, seemingly-impossible task down into a bunch of smaller, manageable tasks.

You make incremental progress.

To Andy, this is what it boils down to:

It’s inches, not miles.

Inches will become miles.

Now, in a world obsessed by cheats, quick fixes, shortcuts and “hacks”, small increments of progress might sound kind of lame.

But it’s the best way to achieve incredible results.

Why?

Because it allows small success to get stacked on top of small success.

That way a solid foundation gets built.

There’s no weak layer.

Incidentally, that’s why the How To Get Lean, Strong & Bulletproof Course is so incredibly effective.

It’s not about taking giant, unsustainable leaps with restrictive diets that end up grinding you down.

Or endless 6-day-per-week workouts that hammer you into the ground.

Nope.

It’s about taking small, consistent steps that add up to something much bigger.

Keeping Yourself on Track

Now, Andy Stumpf is a serial overachiever.

In addition to being a father of three, he’s a licensed pilot, a sponsored BASE jumper and skydiver, and holds two wingsuit world records.

He’s also widely known for both charity work and business consulting.

So, he’s got this success thing dialed, right?

He had his epiphany carrying bricks one day and it’s all been plain sailing from there.

Don’t you believe it.

As he says:

When it comes to the mindset of taking it one inch at a time or never quitting, I struggle with those things all the time, too.

It’s not a lesson that you learn and then you can just shelve it and expect that you don’t have to reinforce it to yourself.

There are situations that I encounter in life and I have to constantly remind myself:

‘OK, I’m thinking about this too big – I need to bring it back and bring it down, and I need to make this small’.

It’s something that the lesson is great, [but] the constant reinforcement is what’s necessary.

Whether you’re a SEAL or an accountant, it’s the same theory.

You still have to talk to yourself.

You also need consistent and ongoing support from like-minded people on the same path.

Not only will they help to keep you on course…

…you can also take advantage of their hard-won experience to fast-track your own progress.

That’s the way it works in the military, sports teams, successful businesses and much more.

It’s why the Facebook Group is such an important part of the How To Get Lean, Strong & Bulletproof Course.

Whether you’re losing your first pound or your 115th pound…

Running your first mile or preparing for your first marathon…

Squatting 315 pounds or 95 pounds…

We’ll always perform better as part of a team than we will as individuals.

Whether we’re talking about Andy Stumpf or regular guys like you and me.

The Bottom Line

So, there you have it – an ex-DEVGRU operator’s take on the best way to achieve incredible success.

• Focus on incremental progress (think inches, not miles), and 

• Be part of a like-minded group

So, instead of waiting for that single giant “hack” you do just one time and get a massive, everlasting result…

…focus on the small things, the easy wins.

Instead of waiting until the perfect time to make that one huge decision to lose 75 pounds…

…focus on making one small decision right now – TODAY – to lose one pound.

To take a 10-minute walk around the block.

To drink three beers instead of four.

Then let those small increments of progress accumulate.

Andy puts it this way:

My life is comprised of micro-decisions….that got me where I am today.

I know that may not sound very sexy or cutting edge…

…but Andy Stumpf is the perfect example of just how far that can take you.

– Tim

Images:

U.S. Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – 1

U.S. Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – 2

Bigstock

References: TNQ Podcast, Andy Stumpf

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