[November 20, 2014] When three of my friends and I joined the U.S. Army, we were happy to be away from home and thrilled to finally reach the pinnacle of real men by being real soldiers. After two days of intense basic combat training (emphasis on “combat”) we had second thoughts. My best friend asked us on the first evening after exhaustion had almost over taken us, are we quitters? All of us survived and to this day, not quitting was the best and most difficult choice we ever had.
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi
We had been fans of and watched the Green Bay Packers’ team win two Super Bowl championships in the mid-1960s and we knew about their college football coach Vince Lombardi’s famous sayings. He had somehow influenced us with his team’s success or maybe it was our Drill Sergeants (hardened combat veterans from the Vietnam War); either way we stuck to our commitments and today all four of us are honorably retired from the Army.
Today our leaders are not quitters either. As a senior leader, I’ve been asked the question many times why we did not quit the military during the immediate post-Vietnam era when so many military leaders failed to lead and we were shunned by many of the people of the United States. If there is one underlying trait that I have found in our military, leaders and all, it’s that they are not quitters.
As I travel about and speak across college campuses and in commercial and not-for-profit companies, the one thing I see are people who want to do good things and will not quit when an obstacle bars their path. There are many who do quit; they are the victims of society and have made a conscious decision to quit in the face of the many challenges that life regularly throws at all of us. That’s why I’m particularly proud of our returning military vets; they learned the value of hard work and being tough, so they won’t quit.
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