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Top 10 Navy SEAL Sayings And Their Meanings

(Credit: US Navy File Photo)

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By Chris Sajnog, Author Navy SEAL Shooting

US Navy SEALs are the most elite combat unit in the world. Along the way we’ve picked up some of the most famous sayings, quotes and commands of any military unit.

Join me in a stroll down memory lane as I not only list the top ten sayings that stand out in my mind, but also give you the inside scoop as to what they mean.

1. “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.”

  • Meaning: Every day you will need to work harder than the last. But when you work hard every day and see what you’re now capable of — yesterday seems easy.

2. “Be Someone Special.”

  • Meaning: (Posted above the PT podium at BUD/S) Some people take this to mean, “If I become a SEAL, I’ll be special!” WRONG!The real meaning is that if you become a Navy SEAL, you’ll need to work every day to be someone special.​

3. “Hooyah!”

  • Meaning: Multiple meanings, depending on tone used:
    • a. I’m so damn motivated; I need to let some out of my mouth!
    • b. Yes!
    • c. I understand.
    • d. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, but I don’t want to do any more push-ups, so I’ll do it.
    • e. F#@K You!

4. “Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body.”

  • Meaning: Training to be a Navy SEAL is painful. But as you get stronger you don’t feel as much pain.

5. “Pays To Be A Winner.”

  • Meaning: If you work together as a team and put out as hard as you can for a short period of time, you’ll get to rest while everyone else pays for not working so hard.


  • Meaning: You did something wrong and now need to increase the size of your chest muscles through push-ups. (Minimum of twenty before asking permission to recover.)

7. “Say Goodnight To The Sun.”

  • Meaning: Lined up on the beach during sunset, Hellweek students get to say goodnight to the sun and hello to the drop in temperature each night.

8. “If You Ain’t Cheating, You Ain’t Trying.”

  • Meaning: In combat, the larger force dictates the rules and Navy SEALs are always the smaller group. To win, you need to break the rules. (It is understood that you should also not get caught.)

9. “Hit The Surf.”

  • Meaning: You did something wrong and there is a body of water nearby. Mission failure has consequences. (It is implied in the order that you will return fully wet and sandy, also known as a Sugar-Cookie.)

10. “The More You Sweat In Training, The Less You Bleed In Combat.”

  • Meaning: You need to train harder and longer than your enemies to survive. It’s not luck that makes Navy SEALs the most elite combat unit in the world. It’s hard work on a daily basis.

Retired Navy SEAL Chris Sajnog, a Master Training Specialist in the Navy, was hand-selected to write the US Navy SEAL Sniper Manual. He used this experience, plus four years of studying neuroscience and elite performance, to develop the New Rules of Marksmanship — a fundamental shift in learning how to shoot. He’s the author of two bestselling books, How to Shoot Like a Navy SEAL and Navy SEAL Shooting, and the owner of Center Mass Group, LLC a 100% Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business in San Diego, CA. Chief Sajnog, now offers his unique training online at

Click here to visit Chris’s website and training courses.

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