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Success Lesson from the Special Forces Green Berets

Success Lesson from the Special Forces Green Berets

    I spent over twenty years in the military. The last thirteen years I was a Special Forces Green Beret. Due to the critical nature of our missions, training in the Special Forces was a high priority.  We trained on every aspect of  whatever the particular mission was at hand e.g reconnaissance, ambush, hostage rescue.  A big part of our training was mindset.  We put specific items in the training event to boost our confidence in our abilities.  Doubt could be a  mission stopper.

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    Use Confidence Boosters

    One of the confidence boosters that we used in the Green Berets was that we trained for success.  Don’t get me wrong, we had contingency plan upon contingency plan in case something went wrong.  We used the acronym PACE – Primary, Alternate, Contingency Emergency. Each critical step of the mission had a PACE sequence.  If the primary way in would not work, we went to the alternate, then to the contingency, and finally to the emergency.  This was all done in planning and we would rehearse and even drill each other on the team on the different PACE variations for different parts of the mission.

    What I mean though by training for success is that we did not expect failure.  “Failure is not an option” has become trite after its use in the media, but it was reality for us.  First, what you think of has a way of becoming real. We did not focus on what would happen if we did not succeed.  We focused on making ourselves the best and best prepared to accomplish whatever the mission was.  We did not think about things going wrong.  We thought about fluid situations and how we would improvise, adapt and overcome for mission success. It is a totally different mindset from thinking what is going to go wrong.

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    Train to Win

    Also we trained to win.  Every mission was rehearsed, sometimes to the point of ad nausea.  Even we were totally sick of training and rehearsing, we always… always won at the end.  When we cleared a building and rescued the hostages, we might get shot if we were using paintballs against real people acting as the bad guys.  The Special Forces team members would never go down, even if shot by the paintballs.  To do so would be to train our minds for failure.  We would keep moving, finishing the mission with the rest of the team.  Later on, we would get the ribbing about the red paint marks on our uniforms and reflect what we could have done better to have avoided being shot.

    We did this because, it might give us a few more seconds in real combat. By training ourselves to instantly fall if shot by paintballs, we would have been training ourselves to instantly fall when shot in real life.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Many times you can continue to move after taking a round and perhaps eliminate the threat that put the bullet in you. To immediately lay down would be a death sentence.

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    What are you doing in your life where you immediately lay down when something doesn’t go right?  Train yourself to continue to drive on, finishing up what you started. If you practice expecting success and not laying down for failure you will start seeing more and more successful moments instead of others.

    (Photo credit: Man jump through the gap via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

    Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

    In Personal Development-speak, we are always talking about goals, outcomes, success, desires and dreams. In other words, all the stuff we want to do, achieve and create in our world.

    And while it’s important for us to know what we want to achieve (our goal), it’s also important for us to understand why we want to achieve it; the reason behind the goal or some would say, our real goal.

    Why is goal setting important?

    1. Your needs and desire will be fulfilled.

    Sometimes when we explore our “why”, (why we want to achieve a certain thing) we realize that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.

    For example, the person who has a goal to lose weight in the belief that weight loss will bring them happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity and the partner of their dreams. In this instance, their “what” is weight-loss and their “why” is happiness (etc.) and a partner.

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    Six months later, they have lost the weight (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re not happier, not more secure, not more confident, not more fulfilled and in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner.

    After all, who wants to be with someone who’s miserable? They achieved their practical goal but still failed to have their needs met.

    So they set a goal to lose another ten pounds. And then another. And maybe just ten more. With the destructive and erroneous belief that if they can get thin enough, they’ll find their own personal nirvana. And we all know how that story ends.

    2. You’ll find out what truly motivates you

    The important thing in the process of constructing our best life is not necessarily what goals we set (what we think we want) but what motivates us towards those goals (what we really want).

    The sooner we begin to explore, identify and understand what motivates us towards certain achievements, acquisitions or outcomes (that is, we begin moving towards greater consciousness and self awareness), the sooner we will make better decisions for our life, set more intelligent (and dare I say, enlightened) goals and experience more fulfilment and less frustration.

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    We all know people who have achieved what they set out to, only to end up in the same place or worse (emotionally, psychologically, sociologically) because what they were chasing wasn’t really what they were needing.

    What we think we want will rarely provide us with what we actually need.

    3. Your state of mind will be a lot healthier

    We all set specific goals to achieve/acquire certain things (a job, a car, a partner, a better body, a bank balance, a title, a victory) because at some level, most of us believe (consciously or not) that the achievement of those goals will bring us what we really seek; joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

    Of course, setting practical, material and financial goals is an intelligent thing to do considering the world we live in and how that world works.

    But setting goals with an expectation that the achievement of certain things in our external, physical world will automatically create an internal state of peace, contentment, joy and total happiness is an unhealthy and unrealistic mindset to inhabit.

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    What you truly want and need

    Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious (superficial) goals to discover and secure what we really want.

    Sadly, we live in a collective mindset which teaches that the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most successful.

    Some self-help frauds even teach this message. If you’re rich or pretty, you’re happy. If you’re both, you’re very happy. Pretty isn’t what we really want; it’s what we believe pretty will bring us. Same goes with money.

    When we cut through the hype, the jargon and the self-help mumbo jumbo, we all have the same basic goals, desires and needs:

    Joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

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    Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love.

    Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding.

    Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness.

    The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.

    It’s a commonly-held belief that we’re all very different and we all have different goals — whether short term or long term goals. But in many ways we’re not, and we don’t; we all want essentially the same things.

    Now all you have to do is see past the fraud and deception and find the right path.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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