What We Can All Learn From Navy SEALs
Just as SEALs dedicate themselves to service, the same is required of all Americans, says Eric Greitens.
When President Obama met with SEAL Team 6, the elite counter-terrorism unit that killed Osama bin Laden, the president asked which member of the team pulled the trigger. According to Mark Owen, which is a pseudonym for the former SEAL who authored the book, No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden, the SEALs refused to tell Obama.
As Owen told 60 Minutes:
Pulling a trigger is easy. A couple pounds of pressure on your trigger finger and I've done it millions of times. It's not that hard. It's not about who that one person was, it's about the team, or the helicopter pilots, or the intel folks that teed this whole thing up. Who cares who the one person is? Doesn't matter.
What's the Big Idea?
At a time of national healing, it is only natural for the public to want to assign heroic status to a single individual. And yet, heroic individualism goes against the very notion of what it means to be a SEAL. SEAL teams are composed of specialists, who each possess certain core skills. These soldiers fill roles such as sniper, maritime engineer, heavy weapons specialist, diver, navigator, interrogator, explosives expert, etc. It is based on their collective strength that the team is invincible.
When Big Think interviewed former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens about the legacy of 9/11, he said the lesson for ordinary Americans is no different. Greitens says America demonstrated its great strength by coming together as a nation following the terrorist attacks. And just as SEALs dedicate themselves to service, the same is required of all Americans. In other words, individuals may be able to excel on their own, but ultimate success will only come through teamwork.
Watch the video here:
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.
- Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
- To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
- They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.
- The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
- Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
- As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.