Cart 0

Laughing In The Face of The Quit Demon

Stew smith

 Laughing In The Face of The Quit Demon

Navy UDT / SEAL Museum

Inside our head, we have a voice. That voice is not just a thinking voice, but a survival voice. It is basically the voice that wants to keep us alive and focused on our survival as a species. Sometimes we can hear this voice overthinking and worrying about things out of our control and that alone can stop us in our tracks.  Similarly, the survival voice in our head is designed for us to live another day. Being in pain, threatened, uncomfortable, tired, hungry, and cold can cause that interval voice to work overtime to get you to focus on your own safety and away from anything that threatens your survival. Prior to modern society, you can see where this survival skill came in handy. Now, for many people these types of stresses are self-imposed through work, hobbies, sports, and especially in grueling military special ops selection programs.

Call it the survival voice or Quit Demon, it is real and you have to learn to turn it off when physically pushing your perceived maximum limits. The survival voice is going to work full-time if you do not know how to evict it from the penthouse in your head. Guess what helps you do that - laughing does. You have to keep your sense of humor. Having a good answer to the voice just in case you do hear it talking to you is a requirement when your will is being tested. Many call this the Moment of Truth. 

If you are successful, you will find humor in some of the dumbest, most painful, tedious events, and this along with being well prepared – can help you get through the hard times. These “hard times” are either real or imagined – regardless, you still have to laugh at yourself and others going through these painful moments.  

Funny Books About Navy SEALs / Training

Check out former Navy SEAL Billy Allmon’s books about humor in BUDS and in the Teams. You will see what I mean that having a sense of humor is an absolute requirement. Another funny Navy SEAL book is Jesse Itzler's story who paid Navy SEAL David Goggins to live with him for a month and beat his ass everyday. VERY FUNNY. Get your practice at laughing at this man's pain because it is funny - especially if it isn't you getting beat.


Hell week is one of the toughest weeks in all military training.  It is hard as hell, but it is also funny as hell. From watching people sleep standing up, making fun of instructors under your breath, hallucinating, talking gibberish, to comparing chaffing square footage on each other's body, finding humor throughout the week will be shared for the decades that follow between you and your brothers that endured together. 

It does not matter what Spec Ops guy I meet, 99% of the time, we have the same sense of humor and find things funny that most people would find odd or not funny at all.  A shared respect for each other's painful journey, skills at practical jokes, and healthy natural defenses to successfully handling all things that suck are some of the common threads of any Spec Ops member. 

There is even some science behind the ability to laugh in the face of pain, danger, and even at the stress threatening you to make life changing decisions (aka quitting).  You have to keep laughing PERIOD.     

Quote from Another camp believes that fearful laughter actually represents a denial of fear. We’re scared, but we’re trying to convince ourselves and the people around us that we’re not—that everything is okay. Alex Lickerman writes in Psychology Today, “We're signaling ourselves that whatever horrible thing we've just encountered isn't really as horrible as it appears, something we often desperately want to believe.” Lickerman calls this a “mature” defense mechanism (as opposed to “psychotic,” “immature,” or “neurotic”). He notes, “being able to laugh at a trauma at the moment it occurs, or soon after, signals both to ourselves and others that we believe in our ability to endure it.”

Moral of this Article: 

Laugh More and Believe in Yourself More. 

Related Articles:

Four Steps to Get Prepared for Spec Ops Selection

Be a Better Recruit

You Never Think About Quitting, IF...

How An Old African Proverb Can Help You Graduate Spec Ops Training Without Even Thinking About Quitting

A Time Tested & Proven Resource Every Aspiring Special Ops Candidate Needs to Know




Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1 Beginner Weeks 1-9 
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4 Grinder PT - Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SEAL Weight Training Book
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness Book

The Pipeline of Training Options: 


It depends:  The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base.  You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation.  Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout.  Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough. 

Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. This is ideal for people who have come from an endurance athlete background.  Athletes like swimmers and runners will also require some strength training as you will be exposed to challenges under logs and boats during the first phase and many miles of rucking 50+ lbs of backpacks and gear in 2nd and 3rd phases of BUDS.  Do not skip lifting in your year of training prep.  However, if you are coming from a powerlifting / football background, supplementing a few lifts into your endurance / muscle stamina focus plan is something you may enjoy especially if training for a year or more during your prep phase. 

Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver Program Series - Phase 1 is what I call a beginner guide, but it is still challenging.  It is geared toward those who are scoring minimally or failing their Navy PST test - 500yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, 1.5 mile run.  It is easier than The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and a good prep course before attempting it. 

Phase 2 and 3 of the Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver program is about the same level of intensity as Navy SEAL Fitness and is also a good follow-up plan after Phase 1

Phase 4 ot the Navy SEAL Key to Mental Toughness is by far my toughest workout ever created.  It resembles a day of BUDS, complete with "wet and sandy", runs after eating, high rep punishment push-ups, 4 mile timed runs, 2 mile swims with fins, log PT simulation, and even a HellWeek Simulator with 3 workouts a day.  

Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) Army Ranger / SF, Air Force Special Warfare, SWAT / Federal Law Enforcement, and Navy Special Warfare have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete

The Warrior Workout Series - If you are solid with making your own workouts, but need some ideas.  This three part series has 300 workouts (100 / book) to pick from focusing on all the elements of fitness and training programs. Each book is organized with periodization cycles in mind along with calisthenics only, weights / calisthenics mix, cardio options and more. Warrior Workout 1   -  Warrior Workout 2  -   Warrior Workout 3. 

Personalized Training Programs
There are many more options as well as personalized training programs member's only program and the new :


Try Our Stew Smith Fitness Members Only Club - #1 Best Selling Tactical Fitness Programs

Questions?  Just email me at

At - List of Products and Services

  1. FREE Articles
  2. Podcasts and Swimming Videos at page  
  3. eBooks
  4. Books and eBooks in PRINT
  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
  6. Online Coaching  

Stew Smith

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published