Navy SEAL training


In my last post I was whining about stuff and maybe as a result of reading that post, long-suffering Andrew sent me a recent piece from The Wall Street Journal called “Life Lessons from Navy SEAL Training”. It was actually a commencement address at the University of Texas last week by Adm. William H. McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations.


McRaven uses 10 aspects of Navy SEAL training to make 10 suggestions for the U of T graduates as to how they can change the world.  Navy SEAL training sounds like hell, they even call the 9th week just that: Hell Week. Fun! It is a really interesting article and you can find it on the WSJ site.

The lesson I am going to mention here (because it kind of fits with my last week) is #4,  about the uniquely bad ritual in Navy SEAL training of regular uniform inspections which apparently are acknowledged by everyone to be impossible to pass. One way or another, the instructors will find something wrong with even the most well-turned-out trainee and when that happens, the “punishment” is to run fully clothed into the cold ocean, roll around in the sand until completely covered and then spend the entire day like that: cold, wet, sandy. This is called being a sugar cookie and the point that McRaven makes is that, yeah, sometimes life isn’t fair and even the most careful preparation can get you…cold, wet and sandy.

The author doesn’t say this, but what comes to mind as I write this  post is a message we were asked to put on a box of cupcakes once: “Suck it up, Buttercup!”. (I know, I know, I don’t know why someone would send someone cupcakes with that message!).


The “life isn’t fair” message is not new:  as my friend Marilyn and I say about topics we have discussed to death, mentioning the random nature of much of life is somewhere around “Convo #549” on that subject. Nevertheless, especially when you are in business for yourself, it is a good message to remind yourself of often, that things sometimes go sideways even when they “should” be going forward, and everybody else in the world (Navy SEALS especially it seems) are in the same boat. So suck it up, Jean 🙂

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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