Read part one HERE, part two HERE, and part three HERE. An excerpt from the upcoming book, “Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL’s Guide” by Brandon Webb and John David Mann:
And here’s where it really starts to get fun: our pilot, the guy in charge of this operation, the guy who’s supposed to be our leader, is now seized by full-on panic—and he freezes. “What’s happening?” he screams as he takes exactly zero corrective action. “Oh God oh God oh God!” This is not what you want to hear from your helicopter commander in a moment like this. Fear has paralyzed him, taken him, swallowed him whole. And because of that, all four of us are going to die, right here, right now.
I finished my laps and pulled myself back up onto the pool’s edge to wait for my friend. I knew what it was that had Kamal in its grip. And I knew why all those other teachers who’d tried to help him had failed. They thought they were supposed to teach him how to swim. They were wrong. This wasn’t about learning how to swim. It was about learning how to harness fear.
During SEAL training there’s a pool competency phase where the instructors do everything they can to freak you out. They send you down with an oxygen tank and then tie your air hose in knots so it doesn’t work—anything to throw you into a panic, and then see if you can find your way out. You sit there, waiting for your turn with your back to the pool, and listen to the classmate ahead of you in the water, thrashing and drowning. It never got to me, but it sure terrified the living crap out of quite a few classmates. And I could understand why. I might not be afraid of the water normally, but I just about shit my pants that night over the Gulf.
We didn’t die though, for one reason: our copilot, Kennedy, knew how to harness fear. He ignored our useless, gibbering pilot and commandeered the controls himself, pulling us up out of the water and planting us safely on the destroyer’s deck. To this day I don’t know how he did it. It should have been impossible (the maintenance chief thought we were making the whole thing up until his crew undid the tail section and ten gallons of seawater poured out). But fear like that will let you do impossible things—if you know how to channel it. Kennedy knew how to channel it, and it’s a good thing he did. If he hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here and you wouldn’t be reading these pages.
Pre-order your copy HERE and you’ll also receive a Mastering Fear patch, Mastering Fear vinyl sticker, and a workout shirt. Order soon, send it to Brandon, and he’ll send you back a signed copy — this offer is limited, don’t miss out! The book goes live on August 9th.