5 Life Lessons From 8 Weeks Military Training
Joining the military was the best decision I’ve ever made. Great friends, a worthy cause and valuable life lessons. It’s difficult to ask for much more than that.
The focus for today is the 5 most valuable life lessons I took from the military. Every single one of these lessons can be applied to your life immediately.
These lessons have improved my quality of life tenfold. Yours can too. Put in place the lessons I am going to share and see what areas of your life you can have a positive impact on.
Lesson 1 – Make Your Bed
Remember when you were a kid and your Mum would tell you to make your bed every morning? Turns out there was method in her madness even though you thought it was pointless.
Most people stop making their bed as they go through their teenage years and never start doing it again. This is a problem.
Making your bed every morning may seem like a small, insignificant thing to do but it has the power to shape your day.
When you make your bed as soon as you wake up, you’ve successfully accomplished your first task of the day. This is something I call a small win.
You know what lots of small wins add up to? Victories.
Achieving your first small win sets you up for a successful day. It gives you a sense of accomplishment right away.
For me, it’s ritual. I know that if I make my bed I can move on to my next task. It gets the ball rolling.
The added bonus is that if you have a shitty day, at least you have a well-made bed waiting for you when you get back in.
Make your bed.
Lesson 2 – You Have More Self-Discipline Than You Think
During basic military training, large parts of the discipline is forced. That is to say that you do things under the watchful eye of your superiors.
Yet what happens when they’re not watching? (I probably shouldn’t answer that). From a discipline point of view, you have to do things yourself. Ironing, boot polishing, deep cleaning, washing – it all needs doing. Usually after a hard days work.
Those are the kind of things you aren’t exactly motivated to do, yet you still do them. Why? Well for one you know you’ll be fucked over the next day if you don’t and secondly because you have more self-discipline than you think.
You are capable of doing things just because they need doing. Not because you want to do them.
In today’s world so many people avoid doing shitty jobs because they claim they lack the discipline to do it.
Bullshit. You have the self-discipline. You’re just bone idle. Put your big boy pants on and do the tasks you don’t want to. You’ll appreciate the tasks you do want to do even more. Get to it.
Lesson 3 – Build Yourself A Morning Routine
Every morning I had a set routine. I’d get up at 5:30am, make my bed, wash, shave, get changed, hoover my bed space and head of for breakfast. Every morning. I knew that was how my day was going to start.
If that routine fell out of place then it wasn’t the end of the world. I adapted. But those days were never as productive.
Developing routines and building habits is an important skill. There is no way I could have just relied on motivation each morning to get those things done. It just wouldn’t have happened. We all have days where we can’t be bothered doing anything. That’s where your routine comes in.
Even now since leaving the military I still have a morning routine. It’s changed slightly but it’s there. I get up, make my bed, wash, tidy my room, make a cup of green tea and play a game of chess. I’ll then write for 30 minutes and take the dog out. Simple but effective.
If I can follow that routine 5 days of the week I know for fact it’s going to have been a productive week. Things will have been done.
Your morning routine sets the tone for your whole day. Experiment with playing around with different versions but don’t think too hard about it. Just put one in place and do it. Thank me later.
Lesson 4 – Learn To Iron
Military personnel are known to be good ironers. It’s a skill you are taught right away. At first I hated it. Standing around for anywhere up to an hour ironing every night was not my idea of fun. Yet the concept of ironing grew on me.
It’s an essential skill that everyone should learn. Walking around in creased clothes is not a good look. First impressions are everything and well ironed clothes tell people that you give you a fuck about how you look. This is a good thing. You should have high standards for yourself.
I’m not saying you need to iron to military standard. Just learn the basics. Learn how to iron a shirt. Learn how to iron your trousers. Don’t walk around like a chump.
Lesson 5 – Apply The 5 Minute Rule
This is perhaps the biggest lesson. Always be early. Always. Aim to arrive 5 minutes to your destination before you need to be there. That’s it.
Lateness can’t always be avoided. It happens. Some things are out of your control. What you can do is plan to be where you need to be 5 minutes before you’re supposed to. This is an excellent habit to develop.
Being 5 minutes early allows time to collect yourself before you start whatever it is you’re going to be doing. It gives you time to think. Most importantly it’s just courteous. It shows respect and that you mean business.
Aim to be 5 minutes early for everything. If you’re going to be late at least have the decency to let people know.
These life lessons are some of the biggest takeaways I took from my military training and will stick with me for life. What you choose to do with them is up to you.
You can read this article, nod along with everything I say and then do nothing. That’s what the majority of people will do. They’ll do nothing. You won’t go anywhere doing that.
Instead, start applying some of the new-found knowledge you’ve gained and see what areas of your life it improves. I guarantee that at least one of these lessons will have a positive impact. Try it and let me know what works for you.