courtiers' sprezzatura versus SEALs's training

The Book of the Courtier, one of the most widely printed books in sixteenth-century Europe, was a guide to success in Renaissance courts.  A successful courtier projected sprezzatura:

It is an art which does not seem to be an art. One must avoid affectation and practice in all things a certain sprezzatura, disdain or carelessness, so as to conceal art, and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it….obvious effort is the antithesis of grace.

U.S. Navy SEALs are renowned for their extraordinarily tough training.  Besieged by media questions after the SEAL operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, a retired SEAL explained:

They trained harder than anybody else in the world.  They trained for the insertion, actions on the objective, lots of shooting in the shooting house, breaching, emergency medicine, commo, contingencies, hostage handling, intel searches, and for the extraction.[*]

The difference between courtiers’ sprezzatura and SEALs’ training is the difference between loss of face and having your head blown off.

Competitive circumstances have a large effect on practices.

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[*] Mann, Don and Ralph Pezzulo (2011) Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America’s Elite Warriors,  Little, Brown, and Company: New York, p. 10.

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