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• Last updated: August 26, 2016

Podcast #228: What It Takes to Become a Navy SEAL

I’ve had several Navy SEALs on the podcast, because as the SEALs are one of the world’s last bastions of unabashed manliness, they have a lot to teach modern men. My previous SEAL guests have talked about how the lessons they learned from being a special operator can apply to gaining greater resilience, navigating the business world, and even parenting. In these interviews, my guests talked a little about their SEAL training. But in today’s episode, we’re really going to get into the nitty gritty of that training, and talk about the specifics of what it takes to become a Navy SEAL.

My guest today is Rorke Denver. He’s a Navy SEAL commander and the author of two books: Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior and Worth Dying For: A Navy SEAL’s Call to Action. Today on the show Rorke and I discuss the intense training that goes into becoming a SEAL as well as what lessons civilians can take from the SEALs on leadership, sacrifice, and duty.

Show Highlights

  • How Winston Churchill inspired Rorke to become a Navy SEAL
  • Rorke’s career as a SEAL and his role in developing SEAL training
  • How to apply to become a Navy SEAL (and how it’s changed over the years)
  • How long BUD/S takes and what makes it different from other special forces training
  • Why BUD/S instructors inflict “random acts of instructor violence” on men going through SEAL training
  • Why BUD/S starts off with Hell Week
  • How to prepare for BUD/S and Hell Week if you’re interested in becoming a SEAL
  • Why the SEALs attract people from a wide variety of backgrounds (Rorke majored in art in college)
  • How SEAL teams are assigned
  • What family life is like as a SEAL
  • The tension that existed in the SEAL community after 9/11 in regards to expanding the number of SEALs
  • How the recruitment and training process has changed to ensure that the SEALs get the very best and that pass rates decrease
  • How Rorke became an unintentional movie star
  • What it’s like to kill another human being
  • How civilians can develop the ethos of service that permeates the military in their own lives
  • Why Rorke thinks there should be mandatory national service program in the U.S.
  • How politics will change as more and more Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans run for office
  • And much more!

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast


If you’re a “young lion” interested in becoming a Navy SEAL, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Damn Few. Rorke gets extremely detailed about what’s involved with becoming a SEAL and provides insights on how to prepare for training. Worth Dying For is also a fantastic book with his musings on duty and service based on his 15-year career as a special operator.

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