What is it that makes one man fail, while another with a similar background will flourish? What is that allows some to persevere in the face of adversity, while some waiver? It’s all about the grind, that innate ability to push through being uncomfortable to accomplish the task at hand.
After logging countless hours training and educating civilians on what SOF is, how we do business, and how that applies to them, I have realized I need to take my own advice. I’ve told people time and time again that special operations is not built on the sexy missions they see in movies. It’s built on a perseverance through a mundane challenge. The staple of any special operations selection or school is undoubtedly a long, boring time of physical discomfort. The better units add an element of having to reason under stress.
Anyway, this is where our generation often falls short, both in the military and civilian worlds. I once had a very high ranking officer and former Recon Marine tell a young group of us that our generation lacked a certain “stick-to-itness” that previous generations of Americans once had. At the time, I thought this was the rambling of an old man far past his prime. A mere four years later, I see exactly what he means.
Life has a true lack of defining moments. We don’t get the epic battle cry, or the final hard push to life happily ever after. We get a grind, a day in and day out need to work. If we want to get ahead, we have to grind it out even harder and longer than the average. After all, mediocre effort typically garners mediocre results. Thanks to unrealistic depictions in media, over simplified success stories, and a society built on instant gratification, we all think that we are going to be millionaires and we’ll have an easy life getting there. As we reach adulthood, we either accept harsh reality and settle upon mediocrity, or try to make our own way.
The climb to the top is hardly glamorous. It means less nights out screaming yolo with your friends, and more early mornings working. It means serious sacrifice unless you come from money. It means when things get tough you must persevere, or stick to it- just like the old Recondo said.