Resiliency- Plasticity of the Mind

In life, there are certain tests that are unavoidable. The way we cope with these tests will determine what makes or breaks a person. When a person breaks, it means that person has given up. The lesson you learn for weathering the storm is what “makes” a person into a solid individual. This is my personal experience with resiliency.

Being resilient plays a major role in relation to mental health. With resilience, there’s an inner strength that helps a person rebound from a setback or challenge. In the military, I was forced with a setback. Amid the turmoil of completing a pre-training course for Ranger School I failed. For eligibility into Ranger School, an individual must stand out from his/her peers and specially selected by leadership cadre. This pre-training course consist of three weeks of intense combat leadership training. To consist of: A 25-meter swim and equipment removal, 5-mile run, 12-mile road march, land navigation, water operations, and night/day patrolling. I completed majority of my tasks, but that wasn’t enough. I failed land navigation, which is map reading. Moving to a marked point on map with a compass and protractor. I went back to my unit with my head down, mad face, and a bald head. I didn’t want to speak with anyone, because of my failure. I felt like I let my unit down. I felt like the wait of the world was on my shoulders.

Even though I returned to my unit feeling defeated, I was aware of the option to try again. I was intent on trying again; first that would entail getting over the loss. Next, I needed to build up enough momentum to motivate myself. Then, brush back up on my land navigation skills. As I started from the basics, I realized that land navigation wasn’t hard. I was just using a poor method and I needed to recalibrate.

Once I felt confident enough, I informed my leadership that I was ready. Instead of sending me back to the pre-ranger course, I was offered a slot in Sapper School. Through my persistence and hard work, I was recognized. Sapper school is an elite leadership course in the United States Army, specific to my Military Occupational Specialty, as a Combat Engineer. Through a series of rigorous tests, a participant is graded on individual performance and teamwork. I trained for more hardships; I know, but there’s a method to the madness. There’s also a book called “Failing Forward” by John C. Maxwell. In Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell states that reading the book will help stop making excuses, start embracing failure as a natural necessary part of the process, and let one find the confidence to proceed anyway.

No matter what a person may go through in life. A person can be assured that even though bad things happen, that “we” as individuals determine our own outcome. It’s something like a paradigm shift of beliefs that transcend the mental barricades placed in one’s own mind.

“Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.”-John C. Maxwell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *