I think it depends on what a person wants, how they define success, and how they are motivated.
Personally, I've never been an overly driven person, yet I'm a very happy person. I work in a job I'm passionate about, make enough money to be comfortable, have a house, have a bit of leisure time, friends, family, diapers, vodka, etc. I'm not out there trying to be the best software developer in the world, or even within my company. I'm not fighting for the next promotion, or trying to come up with the next big thing that makes money rain from the sky. I do my job, I do it well, and I enjoy what that brings me. I have very little career ambition. My basic career path so far has been to do whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing, and take the interesting opportunities when they present themselves. It has worked out really well for me.
That said, for some people it's all about being the best, getting the next promotion, making the most money, having the most prestige, etc. I see no problem with that. If a person wants to psyche himself up ever morning by screaming out a war cry as they run down the hall to their office, all the power to him!
Also random (possibly even true) tidbit, the Russian special forces training from most accounts seem even crazier. Some of it was probably propaganda, but it's commonly said that they expected people to die during each training group.
If they are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, then go for it.
P.S. before I go on, R.I.P. to the fallen navy soldier.
I live with struggles in my life and my goal is to become a pilot for commercial airlining and I will do what it takes to reach that goal no matter what. I had struggles in life with middle and high school with endless thoughts of suicide but the trick is to listen to your mind, not your brain physically... They are both two different things if you want to refer to here. That was the biggest struggle was trying to learn and try to handle bullying all by yourself with no help, biased strategies, hard working ethics in schooling, but yet I always remembered others had worse struggles like a girl living in the sewer getting ready for school and has no friends while I had some. If she can do all of that, then I can as well.
It's also mandatory to never let yourself down, while others have gave up, only meaning they did not suck or they are not bad, they just did not have potential within them. If it's too hard, keep practicing until you get better and one day, you will achieve that goal you desperately worked very hard on.
Yeah. A guy from my brothers battalion tried out for the commandos, which isn't as tough as the SEALs, and he ran so much he died and had to be resuscitated. Just ran so hard and used so much energy his heart stopped. He's fine though but that meant he failed)
Our SAS is more on par with your SEAL but they don't have the money to be considered a tier 1 special forces. But they put a doco on the parts of SAS selection they will allow people to see and those guys get screwed. One of the hardest parts is a 5 day pack march by yourself. So many broken noses and teeth from people collapsing. And sine you are only allowed to see the people who fail, the people who pass are even more beat up. Australia has lost more SAS in training exercises and selection than in combat. You only get one chance to try for the SAS. You can only get out by opting out or by being too injured for them to legally allow you to continue. And you have to be REALLY injured for them to do that. They want people to opt out. (More SAS have died in training than in combat)
This one minded dedication to a goal is a great idea in theory but I don't believe in it. But it gives you tunnel vision and you tend to miss the things on the peripheries. The best opportunities in life are often the things you don't expect to see. I could still be dogging my teaching career in pursuit of my goal but I would never have traveled again and then I would have never come up with my new business idea which is amazing and gives me a great lifestyle. The goal you are focused on is not always the best.
I think more motivational (for me) than someone working themselves to death for a training program is Khassan Baiev. A Chechen plastic surgeon. During the war on Chechnya he was one of the only doctors to stay in the country to help people. He was so bad arse that in a period of heavy fighting he performced 67 amputations and 8 brain operations in a 48 period without sleep while being bombed by Russian rockets. (on civilians and soldiers from both sides... hypocratic oath ftw!) He was operating in the combat zone for 6 years straight and performed around 40 operations a day. He did all this was a carpenters drill, hacksaws and other household tools.
Unfortunately, because he operated on soldiers from both sides the Russians put a price on his head and so did the Chechen rebels. He was captured and was going to be executed twice before escaping. Eventually the US granted his family asylum and he became a US citizen in 2012. (Congrats USA for getting the biggest baddass doctor as one of yours)...
Oh, he also won the world Sombo (kinda Judo) championships twice... just cos he's awesome. Once for Chechnya and once for the USA.
Now, because he is so awesome, he now smuggles himself in into Chechnya to do plastic surgery on the 250,000 war victims and work in the hospitals around Chechnya. (Country of 1 million... 250,000 dead, 250,000 badly wounded) He's not happy with being the best human being, he has to keep risking his life to help people.. mainly kids.
It's motivational for me because I like to dedicate myself to helping others and this is the pinnacle of helping others. If you get his chance his book is The Oath and there's some docos on youtube about him.
My favourite motivation speech. (It's not actually 18 minutes long... that's the graduation part which you don't need to listen to)
SAS are some hardasses. To anyone who didn't read the article the Candidate didn't die permanently. It's a commonality in Special Operations for Troops to push themselves to the brink of death.