Tough Doesn’t Quit, Except at Breakfast

I was at a dinner on Sunday night and seated next to me was retired Admiral Eric Olson, who had a long and distinguished military career. He retired from the Navy in 2011 as the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Interesting man, to say the least, but also incredibly gracious and unassuming.

I asked him what qualities he could identify that would be indicators of success as s Navy SEAL. His response was predictable in some ways, unexpected in others. Above all, he said, the SEALs look for problem-solving, intelligence and mental toughness in candidates. I expected to hear this, and he added that chess and water polo players seem particularly well suited for special operations, which certainly fits the profile.

seals-toughnessWhat he added, which was unexpected, is that they study the well-documented attrition rate during training. Within each┬ácohort, they looked at the time of day that candidates would quit and found that the majority of drop-outs quit at breakfast and lunch. In other words, they didn’t quit during the grueling training exercises but in anticipation of them.

It makes a lot of sense in retrospect because this training program is designed to instill the commitment of team and capacity of the human body to go far beyond believed physical limits. Giving up occurs not in the moment of exertion where your team is counting on you but in the comfort of being alone and anticipating the grueling assignment.

Draw your own analogies to everyday life.

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Craigslist Has a Problem

200904251643.jpg Like everyone I was saddened at the murder of a young woman advertising massage services on Craigslist. I also recognized that the crimes that make the headlines are but a miniscule percentage of the legitimate ads placed on the service. But then I wondered about all the property and violent crimes that occur and don’t make the headlines…

I watched an interview, a rather lengthy one, that Craig Newmark and Craiglist CEO Jim Buckmaster gave to ABC. Newark comes off as typically quirky but otherwise genuine, however the segment featuring Buckmaster is simply put devastating. His demeanor is matter of fact and that combined with emotionless body language creates a cold and unsympathetic persona.

Buckmaster and Newmark should be outraged, visibly outraged, that Craigslist has become a platform for criminals and they should be offended that Craigslist is being painted as a den of vice. Instead both appear to be rather pollyanish about the notion that Craigslist is serious about combatting sex crimes, violence, fraud, and property crimes on the site, both could be described as Inspector Renault in Casablanca… “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in this establishment”.

Craigslist has a real and serious problem and instead of waiting for a community solution to a problem that will only get worse, Newmark and Buckmaster should be taking a leadership position and driving effective change to combat crime taking place on Craigslist.