Prep Talk

Prep News Feature – Overcoming Fear like a Navy SEAL

Posted February 10th, 2021

all boys catholic augustinian high school

Prep News feature by Luke Grippo ’24

RICHLAND, NJ – 3 Feb 2021 – How do you overcome fear? How do you overcome the difficulties of homework, sports, and life? Well, the answer might lie with the Navy Seals. Mr. Jonathan Cleck, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, came to the Prep to give a speech on how to overcome whatever life throws at us. He communicated three easy steps to apply to our lives: 1) Stay positive, 2) Ignore distractions, and 3) Put yourself out 20 miles. When he was in the Navy, the rigorous training exercises they went through demanded only the most optimistic thinking. Mr. Cleck explained how he continues to use that optimistic thinking today and further, showed us how to face our fears, how to overcome our fears, and how to surpass our fears.

Staying positive is the first step. When faced with adversity, pain, and torture, think of the good that will come out of your ability to withstand these unpleasant conditions. Look at the glass half-full, not half-empty. Ignoring distractions is the second step. Stay focused and concentrated on what you’re doing, don’t let people or things distract you. Mr. Cleck used an example of his pool training where he was pushed into the water and then completely tortured and messed with. Yet he pulled through because he focused on not drowning and staying dedicated to everything that was put before him. Putting yourself out 20 miles is the third step. Mr. Cleck told us to envision ourselves swimming close and parallel to the beach for 20 miles. Then, he told us to envision ourselves 20 miles offshore and we need to swim back. “What’s the difference?” he asked. “Perspective.” If we put ourselves parallel to the beach, then we can quit when we want to. When we are put 20 miles out, it’s life or death whether we swim or back.

The Freshmen class is in a position to benefit from this advice. Because of Covid-19, our start to high school has been somewhat a bumpy one. But we’ve got to remember to stay positive through it all and continue to work hard. We’ve got to ignore distractions such as the facemasks and distancing at school, and the lure of video games and goofing off when we’re virtual. Finally, Mr. Cleck’s overall message was to overcome the distractions that might keep you from your ultimate goal, and rely on your team; a message the Augustinian campus can take to heart.

Author Dale Carnegie once said, “Do the things you fear to do and keep on doing it… That is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” Carnegie’s idea of fear is the things we don’t want to do, and the things that might make us seem different; not just the things that frighten us. Mr. Cleck encouraged us to stay firm and strong and put ourselves to the test; see what we can really do.

If this freshman class can survive this year, there’s nothing that can stop us in the next three years.


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