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the few. The proud.

Avi Friedman

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

man from the marines in the marines, he learned about pushing limits to perfection and not giving up if there remains but a drop of strength. Today david stern uses those tools to teach boys — who always assumed they were failures — how their goals are within reach.


Excerpt: dave stern thought he was going to die.

From his first day of us marine boot camp at parris island,south carolina, the physical exertion his drill sergeant demanded of the new recruits was many degrees beyond anything stern had ever experienced, even as a teenage black-belt candidate in the japanese martial art called ninjutsu. Even worse, emotional abuse rained down on the platoon from every direction, to the point where the young men felt totally broken. For three months, the group had no contact with the outside world, no days off, no respite from the physical and mental exhaustion, and no hope that an end was in sight for their suffering. For the fresh crop of marines, the specter of death was real and prevalent, every day of basic training.

Fifteen years later, he says it was an experience he wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

“when you think about it logically, none of it makes sense,” he says. “there are laws, and the marine corps can’t just take volunteer soldiers and kill them. But when you’re in the thick of that sort of training — when every detail of your life has to be 100 percent perfect the first time, from small things like making your bed, to scoring a perfect shot in the firing range, to hauling your wounded comrades through a tough obstacle course — when you’re in the thick of that sort of pressure, a different sort of logic takes over. You learn what dedication really means, you learn not to accept excuses for failure and that excellence is not only a nice theoretical goal, but it is possible to attain — and you learn a heck of a lot about who you really are. Most importantly, you learn to identify the unique parts of your neshamah that helped you push the limits of what you thought you could achieve and got you through the ordeal.”



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