Success is a very clear cut concept in the military. If you succeed you live, if you fail you die.
This is why military units are very thorough in ensuring their training prepares a soldier fully for what they are going to face on the battlefield.
It all begins during recruit training, where nothing, not a single minute of the day is accidental.
Remember also that the military has had 10,000 years to perfect their training, so they really know what works.
Here are the 5 greatest lessons I learned about success in the military that you can use to hit a new level.
1. Pay attention to the smallest detail
Most people don’t sweat the small stuff, but the military is all about the small stuff.
From the way your clothes are folded to their position in your locker, the angles on your sheets when your bed is made, and your rifle being clean. It is all held up as incredibly important.
I’ve seen entire beds thrown out on the parade ground by instructors because it was made poorly. If you take pride in doing the small things right, it filters through to everything you do.
If a corporal can’t trust you to fold your clothes as you’re instructed, how can they trust you to follow orders in a war zone?
So many people let things slide like their workspace, their diet, their appearance, thinking that they just need to take care of their major goals. It’s the other way around.
Take care and have pride in doing the small things well and the bigger ones will follow.
” We succeed only as we identify in life, or in war, or in anything else, a single overriding objective, and make all other considerations bend to that one objective.” – Dwight D Eisenhower
Whether you’re going on a field exercise or deployment to a foreign conflict, lists are a big deal. You have your checklist of equipment, your mission objectives and rules of engagement.
Everything important is contained in a list so nothing is missed, so it can be referenced in a heartbeat if there is any confusion. In battlefield conditions you can’t remember everything all of the time.
Every day, you need a list of your primary and secondary objectives. Each night, work out what you need to achieve the next day.
The “must do” items are your primary objectives and they don’t get moved for anything. The “nice to have” items are your secondary objectives that can be moved around when other things come up.
This way you won’t be eating dinner and thinking “dammit, I forgot to call that client!”
Your list stops your day getting away from you and keeps your priorities straight.
When you’re out in the field you only have a limited amount of pack space and anything you do fit in there is going to weigh you down.
You can’t just put everything that would be nice to have in in your pack because you’ll never fit it all.
This means you have to decide what’s really essential to achieving the mission while leaving the rest behind.
Your budget, for example, is like a soldier’s pack. Is there room in it for an office? Is an office really essential to your mission at this stage or could that money be used for something far more useful?
Ask yourself what your major goals are and what you must have to achieve them.
Don’t waste money on anything that’s superfluous.
4. Adapt and overcome
The military is big on plans, but I think we all know that the lifespan of a plan ends when the first shots are fired.
Any plan needs to be refined to fit the situation at hand so objectives can still be met and people don’t die.
In the business world you may have a certain goal in mind and you’re determined to get there the way you have planned, but sticking to a plan when the battle conditions have changed is lunacy.
In war, if you lose or break a piece of equipment you have to improvise. Maybe your IT system goes down for a day at a crucial time, are you going to adapt and find a way to get things done, or will you just kick back and wait for things to solve themselves?
Being adaptable and responsive isn’t just a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity.
” I don’t fear failure. I only fear the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is saying, “Keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?” – George Patton
5. Learn to be good at many things
In the army you were considered a rifleman first, your specialty second, and anything else that came up after that.
Everyone was expected to be a talented generalist.
While I was a signals intelligence specialist; I could also lay telecommunication lines, set up and use radios, do basic troubleshooting on that equipment, and command troops.
Specialization can bring you big money, but if and when the market turns, you’re screwed if all your expertise and knowledge is in one basket.
Likewise if your specialty becomes redundant and can be done by a program or a machine, or someone can replace it with an app you have to start again from scratch.
People who have knowledge across a range of areas and can connect disparate ideas will be the most sought after in the coming years.
You wouldn’t put your life savings on a single number in roulette, so don’t do the equivalent with your career.
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8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.
2. Do something that you love
When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all?
Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and get moving
This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.
If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.
When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.
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