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Mental Toughness: The Key to Getting To and Through Selection!

Stew smith

 Mental Toughness
The Key to Getting To and Through Selection!

You know that special operations selection is a challenging process, and you're determined to succeed. You've done the physical training and you know you're in great shape, but you're still worried that you might not have what it takes to mentally get through the selection process.

Selection requires you to push yourself beyond what most people consider possible. You must be prepared to go to places that few dare to go. To get to selection, and to get through it, you must have the mental strength, resilience, and discipline to face the challenges that lie ahead.

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about the topic of mental toughness

Mental toughness is not something that you can buy, or gain overnight. It is a skill that must be developed and cultivated over time. 

  • You must be willing to face the challenges that come with preparing for selection. 
  • You must be willing to push yourself to the limit and beyond. 
  • You must be willing to take on the difficult tasks that come with the process.

Outdoor Workouts in Uncomfortable Climates is Also A WAY...

When it comes to selection, mental toughness isn’t just about being able to push through the physical and mental barriers. It’s also about having the self-confidence to keep going when the going gets tough. It is also about getting comfortable being uncomfortable and finding the fuel when the tank is empty.  However, there is a fine line between mental toughness and stupidity when using training events to develop your toughness. However, in a life-or-death situation like the ones above, there is no line. Survival to live another day for yourself and loved ones is the goal. However, in the Goal Achieving Mental Toughness there is most definitely a line between mental toughness and stupidity and that is doing something stupid that jeopardizes your efforts. 

For most of us, that life or death situational mental toughness may never have to be tapped into throughout our lives, but if you are a goal-oriented person and have certain desires to succeed at something in life, you may need to start developing the Goal Achieving Mental Toughness. Whether it is athletics, academics, professional, or other lofty goals of achieving something you are passionate about achieving, you will build a form of mental toughness through a common progression eventually if you are to have any success whatsoever.


You build mental toughness one scoop at a time over a lifetime of effort - not in one moment in time. Build good habits. Do things even when you do not feel like it and the next thing you know you are a more disciplined person. 
Creating discipline is a long journey of being dedicated to your cause. There will be days when you are not motivated to move, to study any longer, or work any harder, but you do anyway. You start to see the results of your efforts and the dream is not far away – you may even start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You have made so much progress at this point.  Keep on moving and getting stronger as there is one more step. 

Mental Toughness is Created – Finally, you have not only gotten tougher, but when challenges are in front of you, you do not skirt them – you plow through them. You have gotten used to doing hard things at hard times and the goal is near. Call this resilience, inner-strength, or attitude there are some intangible traits that have grown whether you know it or not and it has paved the way for you to achieve future goals. You now have a growth mindset complete with confidence, tenacity, focus, and drive. 

In the end it is more about believing in yourself and your ability to succeed, even when the odds seem against you. It’s about having the inner strength to keep going, even when everything else seems to be telling you to quit. My toughest fitness program I have ever created forces you to push yourself to new levels and past perceived limitations - Navy SEAL Phase 4.

PS - I do not recommend getting phase 4 of my Navy SEAL fitness series until you can completed Phase 1 and Phase 2/3:

To develop mental toughness, you must first understand yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage. Set realistic goals and work hard to achieve them. Learn from your mistakes and never give up.

It is also important to develop a positive mindset. Believe in yourself and know that you can succeed. Surround yourself with positive people who will support you. 

Lastly, take care of your body and mind. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and take time for yourself.

Remember, mental toughness is not just about getting through the selection process but also about staying strong and focused throughout the entire journey. 

If you want help, that’s what I do…. Check out these resources that have helped spec ops candidates succeed where others have failed for the last 20+ years!

Training is What We Do: 

Need Programming for Fitness Tests and Beyond?  We are all about getting you TO and THROUGH your future training program.  See how that works.  

There is More To than a You May Know

(In fact, there are more than 40 books, 1000+ articles, online coaching - and more) 

Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, PodcasterI'm the former Navy SEAL that tactical candidates go to for books, ebooks and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

Where to Find More Information About Optimal Performance Training Programs

When you start training again, consider the seasonal tactical fitness model.  I call it A WAY to train and obviously not the only way to train. But it offers the opportunity to never neglect your weaknesses, helps with flexibility and mobility, but will also put you at a level of physical abilities where you are happy with your overall ability to do just about anything. We have a system where the seasons dictate our training. When it is nicer outside, we tend to run and do more calisthenics. When it is colder and not so nice, we lift more, run less, and still maintain our outdoor activities with shorter runs and rucks. Check it out: Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization System.  

These Seasonal Tactical Fitness BLOCK Periodization programs will walk you through 4 x 4 weeks cycles with 16 weeks of each season in two programs. (32 total weeks)

Increase Strength & Crush the PST / PAST
3 Weeks Strength - 1 Week PT / Cardio Focus 
(16 weeks)

These programs will walk you through 4 cycles with 12 weeks of each season in two programs. 

The Specific Military / Special Ops Physical Fitness Workouts 

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT
Navy SWCC Workout

Army / Air Force Advanced Fitness / Special Ops 

Army PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout
Army Air Assault School Workout
Army Airborne Workout
Air Force Special Warfare IFT / OFT / Selection Prep


Advanced Running Program - Special Ops Supplement Plan
USMC OCS / TBS Workout


The Combat Conditioning Workout
Air Force PJ / CCT Workout  Battlefield Airman Prep Course
The UBRR Upper Body Round Robin Workout / Spec Ops version


The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer / Navy SAR Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Boot Camp Workout


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Workouts

The FBI Academy Workout  |   FBI Workout Vol 2  
The DEA Workout
The FLETC Workout - Ace the PEB
The PFT Bible: Pushups, Sit-ups, 1.5 Mile Run
The Fire Fighter Workout - Ace the CPAT


Online Coaching Options

Online PT CLUB - Weekly Workouts created personally for you.

New Member's Only Content / Services Program!

If you want access to years worth of workouts, many of the top eBOOKs, favorite workouts of the week, free fitness APP, closed Facebook Group, video / picture library of exercises, and more access to LIVE Q/A sessions check out the Stew Smith Fitness Members Section

The dashboard below has the links to all the information, archives, videos, and links to workouts, podcasts, live Q and A lessons. 

Consider this! - A Membership Program and Gain Access to Exclusive Content
(click for Fitness Club Dashboard - members only)

Best of all, if you have questions, email Stew Smith himself (  Join the tactical fitness group discussions, latest articles, videos, podcasts at the Stew Smith Tactical Fitness Training Closed Group on Facebook.


Questions?  Just email -

At - List of Products and Services

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  3. eBooks
  4. Books and eBooks in PRINT
  5. Stew Smith Fitness Club membership site
  6. Online Coaching  

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