Prior to being a Navy Seal and leading an exciting life going around the world, Kaj was an ocean lifeguard in Santa Cruz. He left the Naval Academy and wasn’t really sure what to do with his life, but he had always had an affinity with the water so being a lifeguard seemed like a good choice. He later went back to the Navy and applied to become a Navy Seal officer, but it took a particular experience on the beach before his application was accepted. [9:50] Kaj was lifeguarding on the beach in the middle of the summer when he saw an emergency vehicle driving on the sand. A car had just driven off the end of the pier, so Kaj and a few other lifeguards started trying to dive down and find the vehicle. [12:20] The water was at least 30 feet deep at that point, so only Kaj and one other lifeguard were able to reach the bottom and locate the car. Kaj spent several minutes trying to pull the man out of the vehicle and eventually succeeded, but even though the man made it to the hospital after being revived, he later died as a result of the lack of oxygen. [16:45] Kaj and the other lifeguards were celebrated as heroes, and he included it on his following application to be a Navy Seal officer. It had just been enough to have his application accepted and for the Navy to take a chance on him. [19:15] One of the big lessons that Kaj learned was that if you want to be of service to others, you have to train for incredible situations. If you are not performing at your peak potential, there can be dire consequences. [20:00] If that moment hadn’t happened, Kaj isn’t certain where he would be today. Navy Seal training is considered the hardest military training in the world, and he found that having no other options gave him a lot of motivation to stay in the program. [21:30] Hell week is the hardest part of the training. It basically consists of getting 2-3 hours of sleep over the course of five days while going through intense physical training. It’s the closest the military can get to the fatigue, fear, and pace of combat. It’s not meant to torture people, it’s designed to weed out people who will break under pressure when it matters most. [23:00] Medicine and the military are in the process of working on the approach to training and discipline. Especially with combat and life or death situations, we need a crucible that people can go through which proves that people can handle the reality of combat. [26:20] There were multiple lessons that Kaj learned from rescuing the man in the car. At that point, he had not seen death close up and you never know how you’re going to react to that kind of situation. He found he was able to do what he was trained to do under pressure which obviously helped in real combat situations. [29:00] Sometimes these life changing moments happen and we can miss them. Sometimes they call for contemplation and sometimes they call for action. You have to be able to recognize the key critical times in your life that have the potential to change your whole future. [30:30] Performance matters. There is an amount of fatalism in the world, but when it comes to medicine, the job is to specifically intervene in someone’s life and potentially save them. [32:15] Kaj found that he performs his best in the service of others. That’s the main lesson he learned from his life changing moment. It’s easier to get out of bed every day and put in the work if you’re doing it for a higher purpose or something other than yourself. [34:00] Kaj left active duty in 2005 and is now in the reserve community. Kaj is now a plank owner, a Navy term for being a founder. He was on the first team in SOC Africa to support the Seals in that region. The third leg of Kaj’s endeavors, beyond his business, is philanthropic and geared towards supporting the families of Seals that have lost their lives in combat.     @kajlarsen on Instagram@kajlarsen on Twitter@kajlarsenSEAL on Facebook
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Creator Details

Episode Count
1
Podcast Count
1
Total Airtime
40 minutes, 48 seconds