Old Fashioned Resilience

By | September 16, 2023

[September 16, 2023]  Picture, just for the moment, the legendary Marine or Army Drill Sergeant screaming into the face of a young recruit.  The purpose has always been to “toughen ‘em up” and to “get their full undivided attention.”  And, of course, that is precisely what it did; it made them more resilient against stress (mentally stronger) and firmly focused them on doing their jobs.  This leadership technique had the added benefit of scaring the bejesus out of them so they would have respect for authority.

Yelling at recruits or anyone is no longer allowed.  At one time, recruits could carry stress cards that allowed them to use them to avoid being put under pressure if they felt too stressed out1.  Thankfully, that is no longer in fashion.  At one point, all military members were subjected to these stressors: recruits and officers-to-be in ROTC, military academies, and Officer Schools.

Military personnel have to pass through the rigors of many stress-filled days.  When they graduate to the next level, it is recognized that they have survived a “rites of passage” that meant they passed the soldiering test and were part of something special.  This was based on physical and mental capabilities – more than anything else; you had to keep your head (not panic) and show you could function as part of a team.

This is no longer necessary.  We have created an environment of low expectations in the military, of shielding the recruits and not testing them under stress, thus not improving their physical or mental abilities.  We are weakening their resilience, not improving on it.  This results from the new Woke ideology permeating slowly through the politicalized officer corps.

Indeed, the military has transformed with the changing aspects of today’s wars.  But the principles of war have not changed, nor has the outlook that our troops must be stronger than in the past.  When they fail (and some will inevitably fail), we keep them in our ranks anyway.  Our military is becoming bloated with troops we are unwilling and now incapable of surviving in combat; they are a danger to themselves and their teammates.  We are reluctant to strengthen them using time-proven techniques by introducing minor stressors into their lives (getting up early, standing guard in the rain, being on KP).

These minor, artificially induced stressors allowed them to better adapt to real-life major events, like war.  In grade school, everyone gets a trophy, and in the military, they all get promoted.  Am I arguing for increasing standards?  No, for that is not the point.  I’m for changing how we train all troops throughout their careers, not just as raw recruits or cadets.  It also means removing leaders who fail to perform.

The introduction of minor random stressors makes people more resilient.  It strengthens them against big events we should be training our troops to withstand.  We have taken stressors away from them, calling it a new era of “respect.”  But respect is not measured by pushing them out of their comfort zone but by showing them how to earn respect through action.

The application of this goes far beyond the military, of course.  It applies directly to all businesses with the goal of making their employees better.  It applies to families and any social context.  Under some pressure to perform, people will perform better given the right circumstances and leadership.  Shielding people from stress weakens them fundamentally.

In the military, we have met the “soccer mom,” and we are her.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Resilience

  1. Julia

    Loved this article, Gen. Satterfield. Thanks. Oh, today’s article on the medical trans scandal is spot on.

  2. Pumpkin Spice

    Hal, mentioned this below but I will add my two cents worth (yeah, I’m showing my age and long maturity). You should read Gen. Satterfield’s book on how to have a good life (see it at the end of this article for a link).
    55 Rules for a Good Life, 2022
    You will certainly enjoy the book, even if you make no changes in your life. But I highly recommend you give a copy of the well-written book to your kids and grandkids. And help them read it. The book is full of the greatest lessons of life.

    1. The Kid

      Got that right Pumpkin Spice. This is precisely the reason I also read this forum, to get good practical advice from ordinary folks who have done their time in the game.

  3. Gibbbie

    Yep, nailed it Gen. Satterfield. Many of my male relatives have served. More need to serve to be better humans.

  4. docwatson

    “These minor, artificially induced stressors allowed them to better adapt to real-life major events, like war. In grade school, everyone gets a trophy, and in the military, they all get promoted. Am I arguing for increasing standards? No, for that is not the point. I’m for changing how we train all troops throughout their careers, not just as raw recruits or cadets. It also means removing leaders who fail to perform.” – Gen. Satterfield
    Best comment.

  5. Good Dog

    You can learn to be a REAL MAN in many ways, but the woke ideology way will NEVER work. Remember that.

  6. Kenny Foster

    Just love this website by Gen. Satterfield and this article is exactly why I love it so much. Yes, I’m a big supporter of our veterans but I no longer recommend young men go into the military because they have become part of the woke culture that teaches men to hate America and that they are to bow down to everyone and not be strong. They want weak men, just like Len said below. Grow a set of BALLS, men. Get with it.

    1. Pastor John

      Yeah, a few of us actually went thru it and hated it but realized later that they were making us stronger. 😊

    1. Edward G.

      Here is the quote I think you were trying to get. It is from this article that Gen. Satterfield published on March 20, 2021
      “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.” – G. Michael Hopf

      1. Len Jakosky

        This is exactly where we are. US President Biden and his ilk followers are making our men weak, and they are loving it too. Sad Sad Sad. Learn men to be strong and know that the ‘toxic masculinity’ message you are getting is wrong. It is those who want to make men weaker so when it comes to imposing tyranny on the people there will be no one to stand up to them because all the men will be wearing dresses and putting on their lipstick.

        1. Valkerie

          BEWARE ….. Psst, ouch, HOT comment. Beware. And, Len you are spot on.
          General Satterfield is all over it.

      2. Janna Faulkner

        Exactly …………………………………

    1. HAL

      YeaH, thinking the same thing. If you want to read more a bout this then read his latest book “55 Rules for a Good Life” and you will appreciate it. Also, leave an honest review on any website you buy the book from. The comment helps Gen. Satterfield. All the best to all the strong men out there.


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