Hold On Pain Ends

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The inspiration for this post came about over two days with two conversations from very different sources. However, the topic was the same: The Navy Seals.

The “Seals,” as you know, are the elite fighting force. I could not imagine myself enduring the training. When a recruit gives up, they are allowed to ring a bell in camp and, – without penalty – they wash out and go back to their units. Eighty percent of all recruit’s lose hope and ring the bell. They cannot stand the pain of what they are enduring.


The Conversations

The first of my conversations was with a friend who was a former Navy Lieutenant Commander. While he was not a Seal himself, his Top-Secret duties had him work with many elite fighting forces. He relayed a conversation he had with Seal Commander because he was curious why so many dropped out of the training. In a quick summary, the Commander told him it was not the physical part, but the mental. Division-I athletes and champion weight-lifters “rang the bell,” but some relatively undersized candidates did not. Those with focus and hope for the future made it through.

The second conversation was one that I heard on the radio. It was an interview with an expert on Navy Seal training, and it was eye-opening. He posed a rhetorical question to the audience, “What do you think is the greatest predictor of success in a candidate making it through?” It’s the one trait superiors look for in an outstanding candidate. No one who called in, not even the announcer, could guess.

“Simple,” said the expert. “The candidates who are willing to help each other, to motivate and encourage one another no matter how tough it gets, make it through.”

I took a deep breath and realized that the two conversations come together with beauty and clarity. They said the same thing: pain is temporary. Hold on. There is hope.


Holding On

There was nothing easy about last year, but we held on to this point. The finish line is ahead. However, in our lives, as with the candidates going through Navy Seal training, we need to help one another for just a while longer. We may have pain, and we may want the pain to stop now, but suppose it’s not quite time? Suppose we must live with what is uncomfortable for a few months longer?

We all have a choice: to seize the opportunity or to “ring the bell.” Are we helpless? Hardly! How do we hold on until the pain ends? Here are five things to consider:

  1. If we are hopeful, we can spread hope. It’s as simple as smiling and positive thinking. If we are optimistic and spread it, the smallest victories will bring more positivity. Optimism is infectious. Optimism will build hopeful times ahead.
  2. If we help someone, we help ourselves. We aren’t Navy Seals, but we are good people doing the best we can. If we help someone to endure this momentary “pain,” I guarantee we will empower ourselves. Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves brings satisfaction far beyond the present.
  3. If we live in the moment, we make our path clearer. If we all strive to do well today, the future will take care of itself right now. Seal training is long and arduous, but it is one day at a time. When trainees form teams, there is nothing they can’t get through. If we tell our family, friends, and neighbors the equivalent of “I’ve got your back, no matter what,” we will make it day to day until we’re all hugging one another again.
  4. If we hold on to each other, we don’t have to face it alone. The more we hold and value one another, the better we will hold on. Tell those who care for you that you care for them. These challenging times are not a competition. We should all be holding hands to cross the street together. The best thing to hold on to in life is each other.
  5. If we remain happy, then misery has no company. As millions of vaccines go into millions of arms and hope returns where little existed, remember that misery doesn’t bring happiness, happiness brings more happiness. Hope is here with each happier day that arises from the one before. Don’t let anyone take away your hope.

We may not be Navy Seal material, but we are certainly up to the task of holding on to our hopes and dreams. I believe in every one of you, and I hope today is the day your greatest hope is realized. There is nothing we can’t face together. Once you choose hope, anything is possible. Hold On Pain Ends!


For more information about Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author Steve Gilliland and the Gilliland Foundation, please contact steve@stevegilliland.com / 724-540-5019 / www.stevegilliland.com.