[April 12, 2022] Be like the Boy Scouts and be prepared for those predictable, commonplace problems. Life occasionally, yet predictably, throws us a curveball and surprises us. My advice is to wear your helmet and clean your rifle. If you are ready, you will come out stronger than before.
By the time I joined the U.S. Army as a young man, I was ready to be a Soldier (or at least I thought). The Drill Sergeants taught us newbie recruits to clean and maintain our M16 rifles and other essential skills. To them, this was the most important thing to know, along with how to use the rifle.
“By failing to be prepared, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
They also trained us to use proper fieldcraft; to correctly wear our helmets (there is a wrong way), proper camouflage, what to take along in your rucksack (extra ammo, a poncho, a spare pair of socks, a t-shirt, toiletries, and duct tape) – nothing else. Our drill sergeants were combat veterans from the Vietnam War, and they had the experience and knowledge. They survived the war and wanted to ensure we did not make the same deadly mistakes so many of them and their friends had made in combat. Their soldier lessons were learned the hard way. They were prepared. I wanted to be just like them; rough, ready, and deadly.
Americans value strength. We love a winner and respect those who possess the well-honed skills to win. Americans love sports because these values are at play. We are emotionally vested in our sports teams and love the game from our hearts more than from our heads. Likewise, in politics and international affairs, we like a good competition with clear rules … and we love a winner and hate cheaters.
Preparing yourself for the future is showing responsibility. Doing so makes us stronger and more resilient. As a personal trait, physical and emotional strength attract others because they can see the value in being around strong people. Some argue this is an innate need. I think it’s a practical survival skill.
Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).