Misery is a Mindset
What does it take to make it into SOF?Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s the first thing I tell people who ask me what they need to do if they want to get into Special Operations. Be prepared to spend a lot of your time cold, wet, tired, hungry, thirsty, and hurting. Discomfort and uncertainty will become the new normal in your life.You’ll miss meals and often not have a choice of what you eat. There will be times when you lose a lot of weight. Your uniform will smell like ammonia, because your body is using your muscles for fuel. Sometimes, you’ll be so exhausted you’ll fall asleep on a ruck march and face plant into the trail; other times you’ll be so keyed up that you won’t be able to sleep, even though you have time and you need it. Your schedule will be erratic and you’ll have a hard time getting into a routine. Most days you’ll wake up sore or in pain and wonder if you’re injured or just hurting. To be successful you’ll need to learn the difference between the two. Sometimes, you’ll have to work through an injury; you’ll always have to work through pain and discomfort. Travel will include trips to the worst places on earth to work with people who smell terrible, that you don’t like, and can’t understand. The terrain there will be too rocky or too sandy; it’ll be unbearably hot or freezing to the bone cold; the air will be too thin and you’ll be gasping to catch your breath or so dirty and dusty that you won’t want to breathe. The places you live on deployment will try to poison you. Cuts will become infected. You’ll go months without a solid shit and learn to never trust a fart in certain parts of the world. You’ll become intimately familiar with Cipro, Motrin, and Z-Paks. You’ll lose touch with old friends and won’t be able to follow your favorite sports teams as closely as you once did. Priorities will become apparent and take precedence for your time; choose wisely.Some people won’t believe in you. They won’t think you’re capable. I’ve come to realize that’s okay. It’s not their job to believe in you. You’ll need to be intrinsically motivated and completely committed. You will do bad things for good reasons, good things for bad reasons, and sometimes have no clue as to why you are doing something. Friends of yours will pay the ultimate price—you may even have to yourself.