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The Reaper
10-07-2014, 10:15
Excellent read with lessons that could be applied to much of life.

TR

7 EASY STEPS THAT GUARANTEE YOU TO PASS ANY SOF SELECTION
September 7, 2014 Leo Jenkins

http://www.havokjournal.com/military/7-easy-steps-that-guarantee-you-to-pass-any-sof-selection

So you've seen some cool videos on YouTube and have decided to sign a multi-year contract committing you to a lifestyle of cool-guy-dom. What could go wrong? After all, you played sports in high school and your coach thought you were cool so you shouldn't have any problems passing BUD/S, RASP or SFAS. You have washboard abs and a hot girlfriend. I'm going to help you out here a little.

Step 1 - Know what you are getting yourself into.

For starters, understand that the movies you grew up in awe of completely lied to you. Being in a special operations unit is, in no way, a series of cool explosions, gun fights and airborne operations. It is one of the most demanding (emotionally, mentally and physically) careers on earth. If your thoughts are on the day that you get to pin on that shiny Trident or don that special beret, you absolutely don't belong. Being a part of any of these organizations is about more than the color of your hat or the pretty decorations on your jacket. Those concerned with the glitter and gold seldom make the cut and when they do, slip through and don't last long.
Life here is tremendously difficult. The pain doesn't end at graduation. I can say with 100% honesty that it is harder to stay in Ranger Battalion than it is to get there. I can't speak for every unit in SOF but an 80 hour work week was not uncommon for the men of the 75th Ranger Regiment. I can't emphasize this enough: That is NOT 80 hours a week of glamourous activities.

Step 2 - Do your homework

I've been asked countless times by young men what they should do to prepare for these various selections. The general expectation is that I would mention a training program. Most are a little perplexed when I begin asking various history questions. "You want to be a PJ? Who is Jason Cunningham? Who is Rob Disney?" "No? You don't know? You should!" You are gung-ho about being a Ranger? What is the first stanza of the Creed? I honestly don't give a shit if you can do fifty pull ups and run a five minute mile, if you don't care enough about the lineage of the unit that you are aspiring to join you are missing the point. If you wanted to join a fraternity your freshman year of college, you would have to know everything about the history of the organization. Study the men and the missions that came before your time. Know why the unit exists and those who have made the legacy that you want to be a part of. On top of that, put in the effort to find out what the bare minimum requirements are for the selection course you will be attending. There is not a single entry-level SOF course that doesn't have their standards widely published. If you don't know what the standard is, how do you expect to exceed it?

Step 3 - Dominate humbly

Like I said before, the movies lied to you. You are not trying out to be a one man wrecking crew. You are applying to be a part of a team. The cadre that will be punishing you day and night for weeks or months on end are doing so because, if you pass, you will be their best friend's problem. You will be sent to be the subordinate of the brother that your current instructor left the line to come and teach. There is no place for your arrogance. So you got the fastest time on the O-course today, so what. Nothing that you do is going to impress that instructor more than your humility.

Step 4 - Be the grey man

I understand this may seem like a little bit of a contradiction from step three but it actually goes with it. You don't have to be the best at anything, just don't be the worst. In fact, don't ever be in the bottom 50%. Don't ever hold anything back (If you are giving anything less than your personal 100%, then you are wrong!) but don't ever broadcast your accomplishments. If you make it to graduation and the cadre don't know your name, then you are doing a few things correctly.

Step 5 - Ask questions, show respect

From now until the time your selection starts you have an opportunity to seek out guys who have been there and benefit from their knowledge and experience. Don't be an idiot and ask them what it's like to kill someone. When you are exposed to a former member of SOF, in person or online, be respectful and understand that it is a very small community. Your reputation starts the day you start popping off at the mouth about how you are going to be a SEAL, Ranger, PJ, MARSOC Ninja, etc. The community is not only tiny, the alumni are very well connected with each other.

Step 6 - Be prepared to fail

It doesn't matter how amazing you think you are, you will fail at some point. That is the point. If the cadre notices that you are really good at push up you will do them until you can't do them anymore, regardless if you can do 40 or 100. Their job is to make you fail. The point is to see how you handle that failure. How you respond to that adversity is really what they are looking for. Can you get up and lead men when you have been knocked down countless times? Can you brush off those failures and continue to lead the way? That is what is important, not your six pack.

Step 7 - Never, ever ever ever EVER give up

Seriously. Don't. The guy next to you is hurting just as bad. His life sucks right now but he isn't giving up and if he does, guess what? You should be elevated by your strength, not discouraged by his weakness. People laugh when they ask about how to pass and I say, "Don't quit." A lot of it comes down to that. You are going to get kicked, you are going to be tired, cold, and hungry. You are going to feel alone and exhausted. You will be humiliated and broken. Don't quit. Your body will follow your mind. Set the intention before you start that you would rather die than quit. That is the only type of person that belongs in the special operations community.

Trapper John
10-07-2014, 10:46
Great post TR. Kinda goes along with something Rudyard Kipling once wrote don't ya think?

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Team Sergeant
10-07-2014, 12:52
Sorry, I didn't follow step one or two........ I had no idea what I was getting into nor did I do any homework on Phase training.

I did follow steps 3,5,7 with a lot of extra emphasis on step 7...........;)

Beef
10-07-2014, 19:00
Great advice that should be heeded or "need not apply." It's amazing to me that historical possessed by most young guys that want to be a GB, Ranger, SEAL, etc. consists entirely of seeing. "Lone Survivor" ten times.

Of course, most fail to follow Rule #7.

CSB
10-07-2014, 22:25
I disagree with Number Four.
Gray man?
Don't brag, don't show off, but don't slink away and hide.
Just do it.
I agree 100% with all the rest.

Old Dog New Trick
10-07-2014, 23:45
I disagree with Number Four.
Gray man?
Don't brag, don't show off, but don't slink away and hide.
Just do it.
I agree 100% with all the rest.

No, I actually agree with the "gray man" theory. Especially when it comes to courses or institutional learning. It's in the 256 shades of grey between black to white (colors people, not races) where a person can camouflage himself between the two extremes. The superstar (black - ever present success = high expectations and hard falls) and the opposite, the slacker (white - always ends up last = not an "if" but a "when"). It's the grey man that succeeds by not drawing any attention to himself by assimilating within the scale.

The grey man achieves success without failure, he may be in the top 20% of the class or he may be in the lower 40% but he will not fail unless he quits or draws unwanted attention to himself. Those left in the remaining ~25% are the true "grey man." They will graduate or finish the course and no one will remember their name.

Speaking of names. Rule #8 if the cadre or other students in class develop a "Nickname" for you during a short course be it selection or phase training you better hope it's a good one because everybody will remember the best and worst long after you have left. (Maverick)

CDRODA396
10-08-2014, 05:00
I believe if you are the type that needs these rather self evident nuggets pointed out to you, then you are most likely not the type individual that will be able to apply them...

mark46th
10-08-2014, 09:39
As far as the gray man goes, I feel that to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower. It's all part of being on a team. Sometimes, you will need to step up and take charge. Sometimes, the situation needs you to follow. That was probably the hardest part for me because I instinctively want to lead. In Phase 1, SSG Nails had to tell me to back off when someone else was about to fail. He wanted to see how that individual would handle it...

Trapper John
10-08-2014, 10:45
{Deleted Post}

Richard
10-08-2014, 11:04
Volunteer - Show Up - Face Challenges - Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome - Never Quit - Repeat PRN for the rest of your life.

Richard

Old Dog New Trick
10-08-2014, 12:34
Volunteer - Show Up - Face Challenges - Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome - Never Quit - Repeat PRN for the rest of your life.

Richard

Concise and directly to the point! (well done)

Trapper John
10-08-2014, 13:21
Volunteer - Show Up - Face Challenges - Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome - Never Quit - Repeat PRN for the rest of your life.

Richard

:lifter

spottedmedic111
10-08-2014, 14:26
Step one is essential because it feeds motivation (assuming it's right for you). Nothing replaces wanting it more than anything else in the world. No tricks or even conditioning can replace genuine self motivation. The other steps only help achieve the goal, but are of little help when half committed. Terrific post!

conco303
10-11-2014, 23:09
I feel like it needs to be said that if you are doing this for the more superficial reasons of becoming a "badass", getting laid, wearing a Green Beret or being "Special" you should probably not even show up. You don't work THAT hard to get a hat. You work that hard to show that you can uphold the responsibility that the beret represents. The duty to the United States, your friends and family back home. The insurgents of an oppressed regime who turn the tide of the war when your ODA shows up and begins some intensive FID.

It's not about the glory. It's about wanting to live up to the glory.

And to clarify, because I got a little ahead of myself and read "No Easy Day" and then grilled a retired SFOD-D close relation of mine (he secretely enjoyed me taking such an interest, despite me asking questions for which I was not allowed to have the answer to around 540 times), you are saying in SFAS the Gray Man is good? Because I hear that being Gray gets you bucked from CAG or DEVGRU training.

Mills
10-11-2014, 23:15
I feel like it needs to be said that if you are doing this for the more superficial reasons of becoming a "badass", getting laid, wearing a Green Beret or being "Special" you should probably not even show up. You don't work THAT hard to get a hat. You work that hard to show that you can uphold the responsibility that the beret represents. The duty to the United States, your friends and family back home. The insurgents of an oppressed regime who turn the tide of the war when your ODA shows up and begins some intensive FID.

It's not about the glory. It's about wanting to live up to the glory.

Pump the brakes slick. Its one thing to agree with what has been read, its another thing to actually offer up your .02 cents in regards to what wearing a Green Beret actually means.

conco303
10-11-2014, 23:34
Pump the brakes slick. Its one thing to agree with what has been read, its another thing to actually offer up your .02 cents in regards to what wearing a Green Beret actually means.

I suppose you are correct and I apologize. I would hope it means standing by your brothers in arms and fulfilling important missions. But I agree that I am unqualified.

The Reaper
10-11-2014, 23:57
I feel like it needs to be said that if you are doing this for the more superficial reasons of becoming a "badass", getting laid, wearing a Green Beret or being "Special" you should probably not even show up. You don't work THAT hard to get a hat. You work that hard to show that you can uphold the responsibility that the beret represents. The duty to the United States, your friends and family back home. The insurgents of an oppressed regime who turn the tide of the war when your ODA shows up and begins some intensive FID.

It's not about the glory. It's about wanting to live up to the glory.

And to clarify, because I got a little ahead of myself and read "No Easy Day" and then grilled a retired SFOD-D close relation of mine (he secretely enjoyed me taking such an interest, despite me asking questions for which I was not allowed to have the answer to around 540 times), you are saying in SFAS the Gray Man is good? Because I hear that being Gray gets you bucked from CAG or DEVGRU training.

Are you asking questions, or giving advice now?

Based on what?

You might want to slow your roll here, and read the stickies.

You are now on the RADAR.

TR

conco303
10-11-2014, 23:59
Are you asking questions, or giving advice now?

Based on what?

You might want to slow your roll here.

You are now on the RADAR.

TR

I agree. That is why I apologized in the post above yours. I was a little overstimulated by all of the wisdom floating around here and I foolishly contributed in a manner that was inappropriate.

Flagg
10-24-2014, 23:53
A couple things:

Step 6 - be prepared to fail

Would an inclusion of something along the lines of "OWN your failure and LEARN from your failure" be worth including?

As well as:

Acceptance of, or comfort with, ambiguity?

Put effort(where possible) into your mental/emotional/social conditioning as you do your physical conditioning?

The Reaper
10-25-2014, 14:54
A couple things:

Step 6 - be prepared to fail

Would an inclusion of something along the lines of "OWN your failure and LEARN from your failure" be worth including?

As well as:

Acceptance of, or comfort with, ambiguity?

Put effort(where possible) into your mental/emotional/social conditioning as you do your physical conditioning?


There is a huge difference between quitting and failing.

If you start rationalizing or excusing your failure before it has occured, that is not helpful.

The mind is to the body as two is to one, grasshopper.

Total dedication to the cause will carry you farther than you might imagine.

TR

Joker
10-25-2014, 15:44
I cheated as I only used:

Step 1 - Know what you are getting yourself into.
I talked to a SF SGM at the university in my hometown at the ROTC program. He explained what SF was going to be like after the course and didn't tell me shit about what was going to happen in the course, except for Step 7.

Step 3 - Dominate humbly
First time go at every station but there were better men in there than I.

Step 5 - Ask questions, show respect
The cadre answered every questioned posed to them. Sometimes in unexpected manners.

Step 7 - Never, ever ever ever EVER give up
Damned straight the most important step.

spherojon
04-15-2015, 18:44
Thank you TR for this post and advice. Every time I am on this site, I find something new and amazing to read. All QP's on here, thank you for your time and dedication to this site. It is a true privilege to read and learn.