Robert O’Neill, member of Seal Team Six, America’s most elite soldiers from the US Navy Seals, shot Osama Bin Laden – the leader responsible for 9/11. On March 21st our team from Club Physical sat in the audience at O’Neill’s keynote address at ‘IHRSA 2023’ – the San Diego Convention for the International Health Club Association. With his down-to-earth, high energy and compelling address O’Neil shared his upbringing, right through to his application into the Navy Seals. A high proportion of the applicants never make it through the training. Then O’Neill took us on to his entry into the infamous Seal Team Six, which required a higher level of testing and training lasting almost a year.
O’Neill described the impact of 9/11 and about getting the call to leave home and family for a mission that he may never return from. The team had trained to be ‘ready for anything’, and as they get closer in their chopper to Osama’s compound, O’Neill asked his team to imagine what could be the worst thing that could happen? One soldier quipped “Our chopper could crash into the compound”. They discussed what they would do in such a situation. Minutes later that’s exactly what happened. But the team were resilient and adaptable at lightning speed. The mission to take out Bin Laden was a success.
Some of the gems he talked about were that “the best workouts are those that you didn’t want to do”. Then of his attitude, he quipped “Let’s face it, none of us are getting out of this alive!” (meaning LIFE in general). He said he taught the soldiers he led into highly dangerous and risky situations to simply look forward to breakfast. Then to be glad you achieved that. Then to look forward to lunch, and so on. O’Neill said “Stress is a choice. Stress is a bag of bricks. If you want to, you can get up and take it with you and spoil everyone else’s day”. He said that “Panic is contagious. Look what happened with toilet paper during the first lockdowns!”.
O’Neill and his Seal Team also rescued ‘Captain Phillips’ from Pirates, which has since become a movie available on Netflix.
Robert shared his own personal mantra – NEVER QUIT.