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Growth Strategies

Problem-Solving Pointers From the SEAL Who Helped Bring Down Bin Laden (VIDEO)

Former Staff Writer
15+ min read

Mark Owen, the Navy SEAL who authored No Easy Day -- a controversial firsthand account of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden -- says his upbringing helped prepare him for his involvement in what was arguably the most important counterterrorism operation in U.S. history.

In a new interview with Spartan Up! Podcast, Owen recalls how he grew up in a remote Eskimo village in Alaska where there were just three people in his graduating high school class. He was always a bit of a thrill-seeker: he rode a snowmobile to school every day and purchased his first assault rifle from a history teacher between classes.

If a flare for adventure and ingenuity were innate, Owen says his SEALs training taught him several make-or-break leadership lessons. “Most people hate being uncomfortable,” he says. “I loved the stuff we did on the teams where it made you feel uncomfortable…it separated the men from the boys.”

And one of the most important problem-solving skills Owen honed in the Navy was how to divide seemingly overwhelming tasks into approachable fragments. “The SEALs have no secret sauce. I break everything down into the smallest little piece that I can understand, comprehend and attack -- and then I do those one step at a time.”

For more high-functioning tricks from the Navy that can be applied to civilian life, check out the fascinating conversation with Owen in full above. (Note: Throughout the video, you'll hear references to "BUD/S," which stands for "Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training.")

Related: 10 Inspirational Quotes from Navy SEAL Training

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