‘Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL’s Guide’ by Brandon Webb and John David Mann — A one week commitment
on July 12, 2019
An excerpt from Brandon’s book, “Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL’s Guide” by Brandon Webb and John David Mann:
Kamal told me that he had been terrified of water his whole life. A few times, when he was living in the Dominican Republic, he went kite-surfing. He always wore a life jacket, but that didn’t make any difference. He was still terrified. What would happen if he fell and hit the water? He told me stories about being out at his buddy Tim Ferriss’s house in the Hamptons. Tim has a big, beautiful pool in his backyard where people hang out, go swimming, and have a fantastic time — Kamal felt awful that he could never join in.
Kamal, I realized, hated the fact that he couldn’t swim. And it wasn’t as if he’d never tried to learn — he took courses and studied in online workshops. For a while, he lived in a building in San Francisco with the only heated outdoor Olympic pool in the city, and he brought in a private instructor. That hadn’t worked either. No matter what these various teachers tried, he couldn’t handle the feeling of his feet not touching bottom, and he would quickly reach the point of panic.
Now he was thinking about doing one of those immersion courses in Florida — or so he said. I noticed he kept putting it off.
I stopped giving him a hard time about it. Instead, I decided to do something about it. I had a week coming up at home in New York. “Look,” I said. “You give me a commitment for a week, and I’ll teach you myself. But you have to commit to meet me every day at the same time, rain or shine. Give me a week and I’ll have you swimming.”
“Okay,” he said. On the appointed morning, I went into the New York Athletic Club, right off Central Park South, headed upstairs to the pool, found a free lane, and slipped into the water. I got there a little early so I could take some laps while I waited for Kamal. As I shot silently up the lane, my thoughts slipstreamed back two decades.
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