When we hear stories of the heroism displayed by the brave men and women who serve in the United States military, we often think of them as being cut from a different cloth. This is perhaps even more true of those in special operations. Marcus and Morgan Luttrell are two such examples.
The twin brothers, who co-host the Team Never Quit podcast, are both retired Navy SEALs. Marcus received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions in June 2005 against Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings, of which he was the lone survivor (that experience inspired him to write a book of the same name). Morgan, meanwhile, served as a SEAL for 14 years until being medically discharged in 2014. He sustained a severe traumatic brain and spinal cord injury when the Black Hawk helicopter he was in crashed during training.
Despite what these men have faced on and off the battlefield, quitting has never been in their vocabulary. On Friday’s show, the brothers joined Megyn to discuss the ethos and how it is instilled in Navy SEALs.
Quitters Never Win
Conversations around mental health and well-being have become less stigmatized in the U.S. But, in some ways, that has led to a generation of people who are more comfortable with the idea of quitting or giving up on something than ever before. “I object to it because I’d much rather have my kids have the Marcus and Morgan Luttrell mindset of ‘no, you just don’t [quit],’” Megyn said.
As Marcus explained, quitting was always associated with wanting to avoid adversity and “being a loser,” which are two things that he had no interest in. Morgan shared that tough times and loss are often the best indicators of progress because they allow you to see how hard you’ve trained. “We learned more in losing than we ever did in winning,” he noted.
Marcus said that during his time as a SEAL, “going home” was never in the cards. “We all lose together as a team, then we go back and we figure out why we lost and we make ourselves even better,” he shared. “Getting outside your comfort zone and losing, that’s not a bad thing.” There is also no opportunity to be mentally weak. “Hell week gets that out of everybody,” he explained. “You literally cannot be laying down and taking fire and going, ‘I’ve never been in this position before, I’m going to go home,’” he explained. “That’s not something the military community does as a whole.”
How a Navy SEAL is Born
Megyn asked the brothers what happened in their life that led to their perseverant attitudes. As they explained, Marcus and Morgan come from a family that prioritized patriotism, and they were taught from an early age to love their country. In Marcus’ book Lone Survivor, he writes of his goal “to die for any woman and fight beside any man without hesitation or hopes of individual achievement.” His father taught him to love his country and its people more than he loves himself.
Morgan said that their father also implemented discipline as a core pillar of their character. Through discipline, the twins gained respect both in and out of the military. “The more miserable we became in training – and especially when we went to the military – the better off we were,” Marcus shared. “It was strictly a mindset.”
Raising the Next Generation
Today, Marcus and Morgan are both fathers themselves. Morgan said he teaches this same ethos to his children by allowing his kids to “get out and live life.” As Morgan sees it, “there is no living unless there’s someone next to you” to shape you. He said everyone in your life is a stone, while you are the blade – people either sharpen you, polish them, or dull you out. Ultimately, your environment will dictate your life, Morgan said, and it’s your responsibility to find the situation that best suits you.
Marcus aims to give his two sons – ages four and eight – perspective via the things he has seen and done. Never giving up is one such lesson. He uses any adversity they face as an opportunity to remind them that “this is why you don’t want to quit.” In fact, it is in those moments that you grow the most. “It’s okay to have certain things happen to you,” he said. “Because we learn from it, we don’t run from it.”
Ultimately, Morgan believes that perseverance is a life-long journey. “As you go through life, you learn from zero to 40 you have an opinion, and 40 to 60 is perspective,” he concluded. “Wisdom will hopefully show up later.”
You can check out Megyn’s entire interview with Marcus and Morgan Luttrell by tuning in to episode 149 on Apple Podcasts or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.