Monday, March 5, 2012

Adversity Boot Camp

Everyone will face challenges and adversity at some point in their life, and although it is important to get through it, taking something beneficial from the situation, learning from it, and moving forward is what we should all strive to do. While reading different articles on the Internet, I came across an article that wrote about some of the adversity a new recruit faces during basic training. The article was written specifically about the different situations in basic training, but these situations provided great life lessons that can be applied to anyone in everyday/civilian life with a little modification.

1. If You Can’t Carry It, Wear It, or Shoot It, Leave It Behind
During basic training, the men were given an objective that required packing only necessary supplies. Some of the men complained about not being able to take equipment that they thought was necessary for a successful mission, but towards the end those same men were glad that they did not have the extra gear to carry, and the mission was completed successfully. They were quickly taught to be successful with only the necessary tools. In everyday life, this lesson may not mean literally carrying around extra gear, but having a cluttered life that gets in the way of your priorities. Is getting the newest gadget necessary for living a happy life? Taking on too many tasks can also make our life cluttered. When overloaded with things to do, prioritize the most important, time sensitive tasks to be done first. By prioritizing what needs to be done, you will be able to get done what needs to be done and can get to the less important tasks at a later time.

2. Run, Shoot, Communicate
Everyday, the men practiced three skills that their commanding officer felt was essential for every soldier to possess in order to be effective. First, they went through physical training because if all else failed, they could run to their mission. After they exercised, they went to the shooting range because in a real firefight using their weapons had to be like a reflex. Finally, they worked on different communication skills because the men needed to be in sync and could not have success with any miscommunication. The type of person you want to be can be simplified to a few essential characteristics that, when done successfully, lead you to success. First decide what those essential characteristics need to be and what skill they will require you to have. These skills need to be worked on and practiced everyday. If you want to be a successful spouse, parent, friend, etc., decide what will lead you to success as a couple and work on it. One important characteristic to start working on for success is to always do what you say you are going to do. This skill will benefit you personally and professionally.

3. Practice Mindfulness
One of the men explained that he was much less accurate while shooting when he was preoccupied with everything else he had going on. He noticed that when he was totally focused on the range, he was much more accurate and faster. Have you ever noticed that when you are thinking about everything you need to do for the day, that it is much easier to make careless mistakes with whatever you doing at that time? It is so important to stay focused on the task at hand, be present in the moment. How can you do your best at something when you aren’t focused on what you’re doing? No matter how small the task may be, do it with 100 percent effort and move on. When you’re at work, be totally focused on your job, when you’re at home, be totally focused on your family, and when you are doing something for yourself, be totally focused on that. Make solid lines that distinguish what you want your focus to be on in order to get the most out of ever moment.

4. Outranking Someone Doesn’t Equal Control of Them
During basic training, the men talked about different drill sergeants. Some of the men talked about how much they respected one of their drill sergeants and would love to go into battle with him, but hated that they had to listen to another sergeant because of how he treated them. Being the boss might mean that you outrank somebody at work, and they might have to listen to you, but it doesn’t mean that person respects you. When I think about this principle, the America Indian Proverb, “When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us,” comes to mind. When having a leadership role over others it is important to lead them in a way that they will want to do their best because you are all in it together.

Life is filled with challenges, relationship challenges, family challenges, professional challenges, etc., but the best things in life never come easy. We should always be striving to better our situations and ourselves.