Not Dead, Can’t Quit
Several years ago I chanced upon an interesting memoir written by a former Navy SEAL called Lone Survivor. The book was about the harrowing account of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s fight for survival after having been critically wounded in a battle against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Prior to reading the book I had little knowledge about the SEALs beyond the fact that they were a group of elite Special Forces fighters that were a part of the United States Navy. I found the book so enthralling that I quickly devoured several more books on the same topic. Each book offered a unique glimpse into the world of a Special Forces warrior, from how they physically and mentally prepared themselves for combat to their sense of brotherhood and community.
Among the many books that I read there was one in particular that I found to offer the soundest advice for men. The book was called Unleash the Warrior Within by Richard Machowicz.
Let me briefly tell you his story.
When Richard Machowicz – or “Mack” as people like to call him – joined the United States Navy he was a gangly 6’0” and 150lbs teenager. He had joined the Navy with dreams of becoming a SEAL but everyone told him that he was too small and scrawny to ever make it through the arduous training. In fact someone even bet him $100,000 that he would never become a SEAL.
This didn’t stop Mack. If anything it fuelled the fire within him to succeed. He used his critics and doubters (i.e., haters) as a motivational tool.
Mack eventually passed the physical screening test to enter SEAL training. Just prior to heading off to BUD/S (SEAL training school), he received a picture from a friend’s brother who was already a SEAL. The photograph was meant to inspire and motivate him. The picture had a bunch of SEALs fully kitted jumping out of an airplane. But what was really interesting about the picture was what Mack had discovered written on the back:
“A man can only be beaten in two ways: if he gives up or he dies.”
When Mack read that statement he found it to be so simple yet profound. It cut right to the heart of the matter. In fact, so much so that he decided to use the phrase as a sort of mantra (or positive affirmation) during SEAL training. He found the original quote to be a bit too long so he decided to shorten it to the following:
“Not Dead Can’t Quit.”
In the book Unleash the Warrior Within Mack talks about how difficult SEAL training was but no matter how tired and cold he was, no matter how bad the training got, as long as he had a single breath or pulse in his body he would not quit, period. That was the level of guts it took for him to make it through the training.
Mack eventually went on to become a Navy SEAL for ten years. Some of you may even recognize him now from some of his television work such as Future Weapons and The Deadliest Warrior.
After reading Mack’s story, you can’t help but wonder if you are bringing that same level of commitment to your goals. Are you willing to pay the price to succeed? If not, maybe you just don’t want it bad enough. Mack gives you the sort of plain, no non-sense advice that every guy needs. “Not dead, can’t quit” is about as simple as it gets.
There are a lot of self help books out there today, but very few that offer advice from a masculine perspective. I highly recommend people check out Mack’s book, Unleash the Warrior Within for a fresh perspective.
Read More: The Long March Home