Each of us is confronted by experiences in life. But each of those experiences really have no meaning. It is how we interpret those experiences that give them meaning. Your interpretations of your experiences determines your perceptions. It will determine your personal beliefs and how you live your life; whether positive and moving forward or negative and in the dumps.
One great example of a person who experienced much pain and failure was Abraham Lincoln, considered to be one of our greatest presidents in the U.S. As a young man, he was mocked and ridiculed by his school classmates because he was awkward and his clothes didn’t fit properly. He failed several times at business and getting elected to the state legislature. His heart was broken by a woman he loved, causing him to have a nervous breakdown, then he married a woman who was later found to be mentally unstable. He was finally elected to Congress but was later once again defeated. He was elected as president and inherited a broken nation that was at war with itself.
How did Lincoln do it? How did he keep going in the constant face of defeat? He did one simple thing, he learned to expect difficulties and to interpret them as a natural course of events. He didn’t choose his experiences, but he chose how to respond to them. Lincoln’s life is proof that perception is reality, and when you cannot change the situation, you must be adaptable and change yourself.
How do you adapt to difficult situations? Does humility play a role in adaptable leadership?
Fighting wars, policing the community and saving lives and protecting property is hugely important. The fates of our nation and our communities, often rests on the mental toughness skills of our peacekeepers, law enforcement and emergency responders. The Warrior Mindset is a new exploration of thought when confronted with stressful situations. It begins with the observation that up to 90% of a successful performance is attributed to psychological skills. It’s not simply physical-ability that gets an individual through a stressful incident, but the mental attitude of the individual involved. The authors, all authorities in the field, contend that what is missing from today’s warriors is the ability to master their own minds. The following quote in the book from General Patton says it all:
“If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do …”
The book offers a why, how and what approach to mental toughness, designed for use in any stressful situation. Why are some soldiers, airmen, policemen or firefighters far more effective than others? The Warrior Mindset examines the mind and body under stress and seeks to explain it.
The Warrior Mindset is an absolute must-read for anyone trying to survive in a complex and dangerous environment.
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Photo by Tim Olk
My January 2012 2olumn at Fire Rescue Magazine on FirefighterNation: The Observe, Orient, Decide and Act Model of Decision Making: Using the OODA Loop can help improve your efficiency under stress. By Billy Schmidt Published Friday, January 20, 20112.
The unfolding challenging and confusing circumstances of the fireground can lead us to misread the situation. The problems we encounter are difficult to understand and control. Combined with a lack of understanding of how we perform under stress and with the cultural propensity to simply act, we are sometimes unable to perform effectively.
Situational awareness, and a few secret agent gadgets, saved James Bond during a ski chase in the mountains of Austria. In an article from the The Tao News, it looks like the National Ski Areas Association is urging the same thing, situational awareness, as part of their safety week (January 14-22, 2012) focusing on slope safety. Avoiding collisions with fixed or other moving objects is always a concern for adventurers on the mountain, whether novice or veteran. Skiers can learn much from JB’s ability to remain aware of everything around them and to respond to the unexpected in a sensible way. As always, situational awareness and personal responsibility will help reduce injuries, and possibly save lives.
Be like 007 and ski aware out there!