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Published on April 14th, 2013 | by Chris Hagerman

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“Self-Confidence” By Former Navy SEAL Dave Rutherford

Mission 6: Integrity

Operational Objectives:

This mission is one of the most important in your life. Living with integrity is essential to forging your Self-Confidence.

Step 1 – Right vs.Wrong

Step 2 – SA / Situational Awareness

Step 3 – Never Rest on the Success of your Last Mission

Step 4 – Never Quit

Question – Does Honor guide your behavior?

It is critical to first define what honor means to you. Then find some teammates or people who you perceive to have honor and try to replicate their behavior.

Mission 6 is one of the most important missions of all. Living with integrity provides you with a moral compass that keeps your declination on point and helps you stay on the rightpath in life. It governs your Self-Confidence and establishes a hardened set of rules to helpyou gracefully live the Team Life. There are tons of ways to define Integrity. In all the research I conducted I felt like Wikipedia defines this philosophical concept the best.

“Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulnessor accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy in that itregards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.”

It is important to constantly define your concept of integrity. Without a personal definition your Self- Confidence has nothing to adhere too. Think about how difficult it might havebeen writing the Declaration of Independence without the dream of freedom that inspired it. Integrity provides the human species with the repetitive consistency and accountability needed to ensure fair and equal outcomes amidst human interactions. If you don’t act withintegrity or have a substandard approach in your integrity then your actions will inevitably cast rippled doubt and fear throughout your environment.

Historical Debrief:

John Adams was a man of integrity who had a profound influence on America and the way in which it was forged. His Puritan ancestors were some of the earliest settlers in the New World. They left England in a desperate attempt to find religious freedom in an unknown world. His father was a farmer and clergyman who instilled in his son the idea that integrity based on hard work and a moral interpretation of mans historical actions will give prudent guidance in any circumstance.

A young Adams diverted his father’s hopes for a life of ministry and became a lawyer. He immediately inserted himself firmly the middle of Massachusetts’s political issues of the day. His obsessive compulsion for acquiring the facts in as much detail as possible helped forge his reputation as a fair and adept counselor of the law. His rise as a public figure happened because of his notable resistance to the Stamp Act of 1765. In a series of anonymous opposition letters written to the Boston Gazette, Adams argued that British Parliament was attempting to rule the American Colonies without the consent of its own legislature and far from the approval given by the people themselves. Adams maintained that the Stamp Act was taking away the two given rights of any Englishman: the right to be taxed only through consent of the people and the right to a fair trial juried by one’s peers. It was his dream of an integrity-based government that ignited the fire in his gut to be free.

Adams acts of integrity are legendary along with his opinionated beliefs that sometimes got him in trouble with his contemporaries and fellow politicians. In fact, early in his career he defended British troops who were on trial for committing the Boston Massacre. His absolute sense of fair representation helped to get most of the troops acquitted and two of the shooters’ charges reduced to manslaughter. For all of this he was paid the cost of a new pair of shoes.

As the relationship between the Colonies and the British deteriorated, Adams led the charge with his intellectual rebellion. Over and over again his carefully written words strengthened the resolve of colonial leaders. He was asked to represent Massachusetts at the very first Continental Congress in 1774. Many historians believe Adams sound judgment and spirited arguments for the cessation from British rule was a catalyst for the rest of the Congress to agree on Independence during the summer of 1776.

The United States was born out of a cry for freedom and through the actions of brave, honorable men like John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Henry Lee, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. Our founding fathers stood for something greater than themselves. They stood for governance of the people, by the people, and for the people. In the opening two statements of the Declaration of Independence, co-authored by Adams, it states:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve thepolitical bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In these two verses the idea of American Democracy was born. Adams integrity helped forge America’s moral compass with his enlightened reasoning and insistence on fair representation. He served as George Washington’s Vice President and eventually became the second President of the United States.

Although his political life was filled with controversy because of his opinionated resolve, his contribution and commitment to the United States is legendary. Late in life his integrity and insight can be seen in his correspondence with Tomas Jefferson, his long time friend and political balance. The 158 letters give us insight into the brilliant moral minds of two of our country’s greatest founders and leaders. John Adams will always be known for leading America to its freedom and helping to create its character by using his own integrity as his guide.

You don’t have to be a political revolutionary or democratic genius to have a massive impact in your world. Just be yourself and adhere to a moral compass the helps you live the right way and do the right things. Living with integrity guarantees a strong Self- Confidence.

Think about your actions. Do you live your life honorably or do you justify your subjectivehonor by legitimizing the fact that the world is a jaded place? Having traveled the world, I’ve seen the very worst aspects of the human condition. Despotism, corruption, radicalism,are just a few of the negative behavioral acts I’ve seen in my travels. Millions and millions of people worldwide are subjugated to the willful power of a few. The impact this has on humanity is so intense that it has literally now begun to fracture our American ideals and principles. The I Got Mine attitude is being woven into our mindset at every level of ourlife. Once we get to college the insistence upon questioning authority has been taken to new extremes and has allowed a rampant narcissistic entitlement philosophy to corrupt our evolving cultural identity. The absolute cultural confrontation exploding around the world is putting our integrity to the test. Is your behavior part of the problem or strong enough to effectuate a solution?

In the Teams, a major part of your reputation is built upon the perception of your integrity. This is especially true in BUDS where your integrity is being watched with the precision of a laser range finder. Every single day your integrity is being forged and challenged.Whether it’s related to a timed evolution or an ordered task, you and your teammates are expected to do the right thing. It is as simple as that. Lots of people make statements like, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.” This is a ludicrous concept. There are way too many people who are cheating in every circumstance hoping this will allow them to get byin the system. The only thing this does is fracture their integrity. Think about why we haverules or why standards exist. Think about all those who work hard to complete LifeMissions using integrity and those who could care less about any moral code at all. This negative behavior makes it tough for the rest of us to walk the high ground. Once you subject your integrity to a lower standard and start acting like a knucklehead too, then youdiminish your Self-Confidence as it relates to your ability to perform. Stay true to yourselfand be self-confident to live life with integrity.

BUD/S Story:

One of the greatest beatings I ever received was because of my own lack of integrity. I’d recently been rolled out of 2nd Phase for failing Pool Comp. I was back in PTRR for the third time and not happy about this setback. My momentum had been halted by my own self-doubt and inability to set focused goals. Basically, the fear of Pool Comp got the better of me. As a result of failing I suffered a brief period of doubt that led to a momentary lack of integrity.

The day of my beating started out as ordinary as any other day in PTRR. We had a small group of Brown Shirts, those who had made it through Hellweek, and White Shirts, new recruits who hadn’t even classed up yet. After returning from breakfast, we made our way out to the O’ Course. As Brown Shirts, we ran the course first demonstrating for the new guys the proper way to accomplish the obstacles. After running it twice we were allowed to leave the beach and return to The Pit. The Pit is a prep area that houses our outdoor lockers and affords recruits a place to congregate with a little reprieve from the instructors. This is an area for us to work on our gear, get our minds right, stretch or just mill about smartly. The Pit was our place to relax from then ever-ending hammer of BUDS.

Once we were back at The Pit, I decided to take a little combat nap behind the lockers. The life vests used for Surf Passage were stowed and hung up to dry behind the gear cages. My plan was to camouflage myself with life vests as I slept, just in case any instructors came by to check on us. This seemed like a great plan for me to get by on the system. You see, it’s absolutely forbidden to sleep during the training day. I figured we had nothing going on until lunch, why not get a little combat nap?

It wasn’t long before a 2nd Phase instructor decided to drop by The Pit to check on the recruits. I was out cold and had no idea he was in the vicinity. It didn’t take long before he spotted the tow of my boot sticking out from underneath the life vest. The next few minutes were a little blurry as he went HIGH ORDER. I remember struggling to keep my complete fear in check as he unloaded a fiery wrath on me.

You could literally feel the anger steaming off his breath as he yelled at me for being such a “Dirt bag!”

He decided I needed some extra attention for my blatant disregard of the rules. He ordered me to sprint down to the ocean, get wet and sandy, then bear crawl back to the pull-up bars on the beach. I have never run so fast in my life. As I reached the pull-up bars he ordered me to begin 8 Count Body Builders. As I attempted to complete each one with total precision he went into a fueled explanation of how my little combat nap represented a catastrophic failure of my integrity. After about twenty minutes of this he instructed me to begin pull-ups. Then Flutter Kicks. Back to 8 count body builders. My hammer session lasted for an hour, as he instructed me on the finer points of Integrity.

When it was finally over I was mentally and physically exhausted. I felt totally defeated and knew I had let my team and myself down. As a Brown Shirt, I had a heightened responsibility to lead by example. My actions were directly responsible for lessoning the impact of training on all those around me. By breaking the rules I was fracturing the strength of my Self-Confidence and was tearing down the commitment of my Team Life. This was one of the greatest lessons I learned in BUDS. Even the slightest pause in applying integrity to your daily life can have a massive impact on the success of your Life Missions. You are responsible for defining your integrity every day. When you start to disregard your accountability you WILL get hammered. Trust me.

Step 1 – Right vs. Wrong

Do you know the difference between right and wrong? It’s a simple question. Your answerhas to be yes if you hope to forge your Self-Confidence with integrity. There is no excusefor not knowing the difference between right and wrong. You have been afforded plenty of opportunity to compile enough emotional and cognitive data relating to what our culturalbelief systems define as right and wrong behavior. Our basic guidelines have mostly come from religious doctrine over the centuries. These Commandments are a great starting pointto govern your decision process. Even with these, however, each day you’re above dirt youshould be physically, mentally and spiritually adding to these ideals. Your experiences help to cast your logical interpretation of living on the righteous path. You ability to adhere to these moral laws will enhance your Team Life and solidify your Self-Confidence.

Here is my interpretation of the Judeo – Christian Ten Commandments:

1. Believe in God

2. Don’t believe in false gods.

3. Don’t talk trash about God.

4. Take at least one day a week to forge your faith. Give thanks every day.

5. Honor and respect your Mom and Dad.

6. Don’t kill anybody, unless your way of life is under existential attack.

7. Don’t cheat on or abuse your wife or significant other.

8. Don’t steal.

9. Don’t lie.

10. Don’t feel the need to have other people’s stuff. Earn your own.

Real problems will occur in your life if you start to justify bad behavior by convincingyourself that it is O.K. to act like a knucklehead because everyone else it. This is the mostcommon form of Comfort Zone Behavior that crushes your integrity. It’s your responsibility to dial in your own moral compass. By allowing others to dictate your internal sense of retribution you are passing the monkey. Of course, it’s easier to let the inadequate principles of people you perceive to be successful guide your behavior, becauseit essentially gives you the green light to follow their path. Anytime you absolve yourself of the consequences of your actions you break down your Self-Confidence.

It is hard to walk the right path in life. I’ve struggled with it for many years. The truth is that if you take the easy way out eventually you will have to face the music. The emotionaldevastation associated with the recognition of your immoral behavior and actions is so devastating that it could knock you so far off course that it takes years to get back on track. I am positive that you have strength to walk The Jericho Mile. You can face all adversity and adversaries that confront you with your physical, mental, and spiritual faith as yourshield. The greater your faith, the greater your Self-Confidence will be as you walk the mile one step at a time.

Step 2 – SA Situational Awareness

You have probably heard the saying, “know your surroundings”. Unfortunately, mostpeople have little understanding of just how important this concept can be as it relates to the bedrock of your integrity and the development of your Self- Confidence. You are under assault everyday from massive amounts of negativity. It is critical you understand how to recognize this insurgency. SA, or Situational Awareness, is the comprehensive ability to collect, assess, dismiss and act upon real time emotional and cognitive data resulting from the constantly changing external and internal environments that govern your physical,mental and spiritual experiences. Your SA is your understanding of the world around you.

Froglogic SA Color Coding: Based on Jeff Cooper’s

“Combat Mindset” coding system.

White – You are living with your head in the clouds. You truly believe that nothing is evergoing to happen to you, or you just allow an oblivious attitude to dictate your ComfortZone Behavior because you’re afraid of acknowledging the truth about the Real World. You aren’t seeing the potential dangers around you. You are living as an easy target, setting yourself up to become a victim of negativity.

Yellow – You are living with good SA and acknowledge that the world is a dangerous place no matter where you are. You are prepared to act in order to protect yourself. This includes being proactive in some type of training that diminishes your probability of becoming a victim of negativity. This easily attained SA is where you need to be on a regular basis.

Orange – Your Spidey senses are tingling and you perceive there is a threat of negativity inyour vicinity. This heightened sense of awareness allows you to focus on the details thatgive you the advantage in case the situation gets worse. This attitude should not be maintained unless you have been highly trained to cognitively and emotionally handle the strain of this heightened SA. This means it is important to relieve this condition with assertive action and a positive attitude.

Red – You’re going big! You have made the emotional and cognitive decision to take offensive action to change your situation based on the real presence of danger. This is based on the factual, negative environmental data that is focused in your direction. Your actions should be precise and explosive. Hesitation in this situation is not the deal! Once you are clear from immediate threats don’t downgrade your posture until you are completely out of harm’s way.

Black – Some of us in the SOF community call this OBE: Overcome by events. If you areincapacitated with this devastating inability to act, you will most likely be in the fetalposition sucking your thumb. This is where you DON’T want to be. It’s up to you never to be in this position. You must take the appropriate measures and train yourself not to reachthis paralyzed state. Life is scary and requires perpetual training to develop Self- Confidence in order to be prepared. Don’t be a victim to a negative world.

Remember, developing your SA takes years and years of focused training and not lying to yourself about the true nature of the world around you.

How good is your SA? Do you walk around with your head in the clouds without a care in the world? This lackadaisical attitude is so pervasive in Western culture that it is no wonderwe are facing such challenging times. When people stop caring about their actions and how it affects others, our society’s future is destined for failure. I bet you can name at least three people off the top of your head that behave like this. We often mistake this for a lack of common sense or something as trivial as stupidity, when, in fact, what you are witnessing is one person’s conscious disregard for the rest of us by ignoring his or her role in the interconnectivity of all life. That fact is that every action has consequence, no matter howbig or small. Your actions reverberate throughout your world forcing reaction among your teammates and enemies. How you choose to act is representative of you integrity. When you think before you act and proceed with the consideration of your teammates, then youare acting with integrity.

Froglogic SA Exercise:

Take two minutes to look around your room and remember as much detail about your surroundings as possible. Now get up walk into another room. Grab a piece of paper and draw or list every detail about the room you were just in. Be as specific as possible. Describe or draw make, model, color, fabric design, height, shape, position, smell, age, history, and emotional attachment of every item in the room. This exercise is designed to sharpen you situational awareness. Ready, begin!

Pay attention to your surroundings. Being obtuse is no excuse for irresponsible behavior.Try and observe as much as possible. Watch how people are communicating with each other. Look for the subtle ways they interact because these signs are great ways to diagnose true intention. When you interact with someone the tone of your voice, the words you choose, and the emotional vibe you omit are all forms of communication. These expressions ignite other people’s ability to gain SA of the situation. Sometimes you might need your swim buddy to give you a heads up when your SA isn’t in focus and you’reacting like a chucklehead. Remember, all things are connected through our actions. Another important part of having insightful SA is paying close attention to the material items that individuals collect, use and display. These things are an outward expression ofwhat people think is important in their lives. What people wear, what they listen to, how they eat and where they live are just a few of the thousands of ways that help you gain SA on a teammate or adversary. The more details you can take on board as actionable intelligence the greater amount of information you have to forge your personal sense ofintegrity. Once your SA is dialed in at a high level you will feel a significant increase in your Self-Confidence because you are prepared to deal with any challenges you may face.Get your head out of the clouds and get your SA Squared Away.

MISSION TIP:

If you feel like your integrity is ever in question be ready to ask yourself three questions:  Did I act in an honorable way? Can I justify my actions and keep my integrity intact? Is it possible to fight for my honor without significantly degrading my integrity and the ability to achieve my dreams?

Step 3 – Never Rest on the Success of your Last Mission

Awesome! You just crushed your last mission and achieved a substantial goal in your life.Way to go, now get over it! How many times have you seen someone succeed and ride thewave of success as far as he can, making sure everyone knows they are in the position they’re in because of a great accomplishment. This knucklehead lacks integrity. Listen, I’m not saying don’t accept deserved recognition for hard work. What I am saying is that that it shouldn’t be the focus of your effort. A hard working person is a humble human being. A human being driven by the passion to excel and not by the desire to be acknowledged is quintessential for any life defined by integrity.

In May of 2011, SEAL Team 6 conducted the most successful raid in our unit’s recent history. This incredible clandestine operation ended in the death of the world’s greatestterrorist leader of our time, Osama Bin Laden. This operation was a shining example of the incredible capabilities of SEAL Team 6 and our nation’s intelligence organizations. Several days after the operation became public, I called a close friend of mine at Team 6 to congratulate him and the rest of the boys. At the end of our conversation, I asked him whatthe feeling around the command was like. He very eloquently stated that the guys wereextremely annoyed because of the ridiculous amount of publicity being showered uponthem. He continued by saying the only thing they really wanted was to get back to work and continue going after major threats to America. These are the statements and sentimentsof men who live with integrity and are guided by the desire to help the greater good.

I am sure in the course of your life you have felt the allure of admiration or even desired alittle fame. The emotional and cognitive influence of this condition is detrimental to the development of your Self-Confidence. The more pure and uninfluenced by the external materialistic perceptions of others you are, the greater your actions will be representative ofthe passionate commitment needed to succeed with humility. Once this is engrained in yoursoul you will have no problems moving forward to the next great challenge and success ofyour self- confident life.

Step 4 – Never Quit

Never Quit. This is the greatest motto we have in the SEAL Teams. It is the DNA coding of our commitment to living the Team Life. Do you have this concept tattooed on your soul, or do you allow yourself to be easily deterred at the earliest sign of difficulty? Do you remember the first time you quit something? How did that feel? Do you regret you actionsnow? Quitting is the worst possible habit any human being can absorb into their defense mechanisms. It fortifies the most negative Comfort Zone Behavior there is and allows you to condone excuse in order to replace the effort of living with integrity.

There will be many times in your life when you feel like you’re taking a perpetual beating, when everything you do seems like nothing is going your way and it seems like the easiestway to gain reprieve from getting hammered is to quit what you’re doing. This is going to crush your Self- Confidence and pummel your integrity. Life is definitely hard but this doesn’t give you the excuse to give up. In fact, the beating you take is only making you stronger if you accept and embrace this reality. I spent 15 months in BUDS getting hammered week after week. For more than a year I was wet, cold and sandy. I can’t evenbegin to tell you how many times I wanted to quit but couldn’t allow myself to give up. I just kept going back for more. Every pushup I did or mile I swam played a roll in gettingme to where I am now, writing this field manual for you and trying to help you forge your Self-Confidence with the lessons I learned the hard way.

If you reach the end of a Life Mission without succeeding and you have tried everything, are you a quitter? No. The journey itself is the reward. Your life is going to be filled with a never-ending series of challenges that either strengthen your integrity or chisels it away.You will have experiences that don’t play out like you hope they will. These positive failures are a part of your long-term development as a human being. It is critical to takethese failures and apply them to your next mission. Achieving mission success is a relative concept. You might not become a Navy SEAL, but you will become a part of another unit that enables the Team to succeed. If you don’t become CEO, then allow yourself to love being vice president. Maybe you don’t become a professional football player, but insteadyou become a head football coach of a small college. It could be that you only make it halfway up Mount Everest. As long as you give everything you have to the journey you will eventually achieve something more significant than any title – your integrity. That is Self-Confidence.

Debrief

Integrity is an integral part of your life and acts as the moral compass for your actions. Living with consistency and a strict adherence to a core set of values will be challengingbecause all those who want the easy way out will be trying to influence your behavior with negativity. Make no mistake, if you choose to live a righteous life you will be assaulted bythose who view you as a threat to their way of beating the system. It is critical to stay strong and focused on living a Team Life. Sometimes this task requires your effort to take a backseat to those who are the focus of the operation. Your time will come. Know the difference between right and wrong. How you treat others determines the power and strength of your integrity. It’s the armor that protects your Self- Confidence. Keep a watchful eye on your surroundings. Don’t let negativity penetrate your soul’s perimeter. Pay close attention to those who love you. If you’re acting like a fool, be available to hear this constructivecriticism. There is no excuse for having poor SA. When you do succeed, be humble and appreciative of those who help you achieve mission success. Don’t allow yourself to ridethe wave of achievement too far. It’s the journey that is your reward. If at first you don’t succeed, then try again. Your integrity is tied to your ability to confront failure head on. When you get knocked on your butt you must not give up. Exhaust every possible option and learn from each mistake. There may come a time in your life when your dream isrealized in a slightly different manner than you had originally imagined. Don’t sweat thetitle. You have the strength to do anything you want. How you go about this journey is how you define your integrity. Never Quit.

About the Author

Chris is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, 18-Delta Combat Medic, and SEAL Sniper. His career included tours with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two and SEAL Team Two in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. You can follow him on Twitter @Chris_Hagerman.


4 comments
RazvanOmota
RazvanOmota

Where else in literature is there a study that links integrity and self confidence like I've seen in this article?


Thanks.

Muskrat
Muskrat

Dave's book is fantastic. I read parts of it frequently and it does help keep you on track. Thank you for this post.

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