My Teacher Quit the Navy Seals. Here’s What He Taught Me About Life.

It is never too late to start living

Tristan Tell
ILLUMINATION

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Old man with grey hair and beard, shirtless
Charith Kodagoda via Pexels

When a student asked about Hell Week, my teacher laughed. „Hell Week?“ he said, „we‘ve had Hell Year!“

My teacher Mike* was a German Kampfschwimmer, the equivalent of a US-Navy Seal. His life story is fascinating. He gave me one piece of advice I’ll never forget.

If I can’t do it, my son will

Growing up in poor post-war Germany with an alcoholic father, his childhood was no breeze. Mike’s father had big plans for his only son. He made him join the German elite military unit called Kampfschwimmer.

Mike’s father had been a Kampfschwimmer with a promising career ahead of him as well but lost it all after falling into a ditch on a drunk night out. Now Mike was supposed to live up to the potential his father hadn’t been able to fulfill.

Gifted with an extraordinary physique and a brilliant mind, it was only natural that Mike rose through the ranks quickly. Earning promotion after promotion he was on the fast lane to become the youngest captain ever appointed.

From the outside, it seemed like Mike had found the perfect career. He had what it took to be an elite soldier and brought his talents to the best…

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