Book Review — Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler

Allan Kakinda
6 min readJul 2, 2020
Living with a SEAL Book Cover

This week, I started Reading John C Maxwell’s No Limits and as I was reading through the book I came across a section where he talks about stretching how far we can go and shares a story of Jesse Itzler and how he spent a month learning how to stretch himself from a SEAL. Since, this year I am learning all about how to stretch myself beyond my current limits, I dropped John Maxwell’s book and immediately picked up Jesse’ book. I have not put it down since… for all productivity police don’t worry I have finished Jesse’s book and will be resuming to read John Maxwell’s book.

Here are the big quotes I have picked up from this book and my personal reflections when I read each of them. I hope you find them useful too in your life and work.

“I like to sit back and enjoy the pain. I earned it. — SEAL”

Many times when I go to work-out and feel pain and give up. This quote encourages us that pain shouldn’t be the barrier to achieving our goals.

“You need to feel the pace. — SEAL”

Do not just jog or work-out anyhow, you need to have a target pace and work towards maintaining it.

“I don’t do things for applause. I don’t do things for fanfare. I do things for me. — SEAL”

I need to focus more on doing things that I love and doing them for myself and not necessarily for applause but I need to do things for myself. I need to do my workouts for myself. For my health, for my well being, for me…

“I don’t think about yesterday. I think about today and getting better. — SEAL”

Always believed that I should never compete with everybody else but always focus on growing and becoming a better version of myself. This quote just helped me reinforce and affirm that belief.

“It doesn’t have to be fun. It has to be effective. — SEAL”

For me to keep growing in my work, things do not have to be fun. They just have to be effective. They just need to be helping me effectively move towards my goal. So my work-outs do not have to be fun, they need to be effectively getting me towards my fitness goals.

“It’s really not that complicated. — SEAL”

Life is not really that complicated or at least it does not have to be. Work-outs are not as complicated as we tend to think about them or at least they don’t have to be. In many cases, we end up procrastinating because we overthink about things. If you set a goal, just commit to doing it. Don’t complicate it. Don’t overthink about it. Just do it.

“If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it. — SEAL”

In order to keep growing and expanding your limits you have to keep stretching yourself. Going beyond what you did yesterday. This may mean doing things that are uncomfortable; that suck… that’s fine. That’s how we expand your boundaries. That’s how we grow.

“This isn’t piss time. It’s run time. — SEAL”

Half-way during one of their runs, Jesse feels like he wants to piss but SEAL couldn’t let me. The mission comes first. Big lesson: Sometimes our destructions seem so genuine but we must always focus on the mission. Running time should be running time and so we strictly focus on that.

“If you want to be pushed to your limits, you have to train to your limits. — SEAL”

This is my favourite quote in the whole book; in fact it’s this exact quote that I read in Maxwell’s book that led me to reading this book all together. Through all our different areas of life, if we want to push our limits then we have to train to them. We have to keep pushing them and keep getting new limits.

“Every day is a challenge, otherwise it’s not a regular day. — SEAL”

The only way to achieve substantial things in this life and consistently keep growing is to grow daily habits. In order to do this, we need to treat each day as a challenge. As a way to improve ourselves and as an opportunity to push those limits otherwise if we wait for the perfect day to start doing certain things, the perfect almost never comes.

“If you’re gonna do ’em, do ’em right. — SEAL”

If you are going to do something, do it right. Don’t just do it for the sake of doing it. Even if you do not know how to do it yet, take some time to learn so you can do it the right way.

“You can get through any workout because everything ends. — SEAL”

This quote is very comforting. With everything we plan and work at doing, pain, hurt, discouragement and all other negative forms of energy should not stop us from working towards achieving those things. We should always rest assured that everything that has a beginning has an end. Nothing lasts forever. NOTHING!!!

“Don’t get too comfortable. Ever. — SEAL”

Great quote. I love it because many times after one success we get too comfortable and forget the big picture. Do not get too comfortable. Ever.

“You can always keep going. — SEAL”

Yes. As long as you have the will, you can always keep going.

“If you’re hungry, run faster. You’ll be home quicker. — SEAL”

Wow. This is radical and quite the opposite of what many think of when running or on a work-out but I guess it actually works. I actually do not intentionally take any snacks or water during my work-outs. This makes me focus and look forward to finishing my workout even when I walked my longest journey; 25kms. I only carried a little money on me. That was it in case of an emergency.

“The tougher the conditions, the more I like my odds. — SEAL”

I found this one rather strange even though I feel it’s still a great one. Many crumble when things get tough so if we can develop the resilience and persistence needed to go through the toughest of situations then we will always emerge winners no matter the circumstances.

“The tougher the conditions, the more I like my odds. — SEAL”

Mastering what we sometimes think of as negative energy and using it to our advantage will certainly help us achieve our goals and grow more.

“If you don’t challenge yourself, you don’t know yourself. — SEAL”

Physical activity and work-outs can reveal a lot to us about ourselves. Before we challenge ourselves to greater things, we always have the wrong assumptions about ourselves and put limits to our potential. The only way to break that cycle is to continually challenge ourselves to do more than we are currently doing. That’s how we grow.

“I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done. — SEAL”

Finally, my last and second favourite quote from the book. In order to continually push our limits. We should only stop when our goals are achieved. Not when we feel tired or are afraid or have lost hope or energy. The final goal should be the focus.

The book has over 30 quotes from the SEAL but these were my favourite 19. I hope by reading them and my reflections on them helps you learn what I have learnt from this book and helps you grow as an individual as well. I highly recommend this book; Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler for anyone who is on the path to improving their productivity and wants to do more with their lives. It is certainly one of the books I am putting on my re-reading list until I extract all the juice out of it.

Yours truly,

Allan Kakinda



Allan Kakinda

Allan is a blogger, avid reader, statistician, businessman, and aspiring investor