Having served in the armed forces myself, I want to begin with expressing my immense gratitude for our troops, because the freedoms we have today are not possible without the individual sacrifices of our military men and women. These sacrifices are those that are both seen and unseen — from the soldier who is willing to step out in leadership and put himself or herself out on the line, to the ones who are behind the scenes doing the mundane tasks that are critical to win any kind of campaign. We would not be here today without you.
As I reflect on our country and how our armed forces preserve democracy, capitalism, and freedom, I can’t help but think back in our history to the Revolutionary War. We, as a nation, earned our freedom not with traditional warfare, but with guerrilla warfare. It was through irregular, small-scale, fast moving, sometimes unorthodox methods that allowed us to experience victory. In many ways, we see these same tactics in the battles we face today.
When I step back and look at society today, we are under a different kind of attack than what our forefathers experienced in the Revolutionary War. Yet we are still ambushed almost daily with cyber warfare, social media manipulation, corporate manipulation, binging on social media, Netflix and other shows. There is an absolute science today that is attacking us in a warfare type manner. It is making us addicted to elements of our society that attack the individual and weaken the overall structure of our society. It is critical to ask ourselves if we, as individuals, are prepared for the battles ahead; and we must be aware how to arm ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually to ensure victory when this warfare strikes.
I recently tore my Achilles heel, a one-hundred percent tear, and I am off my feet for three months. If you know me at all, you know I am incredibly active (I used to be a competitive Iron Man triathlete). This has been a huge physical setback for me, but I can tell you if I had not prepared my mind to handle setbacks and challenges I could have easily been overcome by the enemy through this injury. Training our physical bodies is important because when we are called to battle, we need our physical bodies to overcome challenges. However, if we were to begin training when the battle begins, we all know there would be no hope of winning. It is crucial to train in preparation for what is to come. And it is equally important to train our mind and spirit to stand strong against attacks and ambushes before they happen, just as we train and prepare our physical bodies before the battle (or competition) begins. The most important question we can ask ourselves, then, is, “Am I prepared?”
When it comes to preparation, how are you intentionally strengthening your mind, body and spirit? Are you regularly preparing your mind? We must take responsibility for what we choose to allow in our minds, and thereby what we choose to allow in our life. When it comes to being informed, do you read articles and simply accept them as truth, or do you take time to verify facts and find multiple sources to discover what’s true? Go back and study the ancient sages of wisdom and leadership, and look to people like Sun Tzu, Colin Powell or other leaders for inspiration and truth. We must stop mindlessly consuming information the way many Americans consume food, and consider only ingesting things that will nourish our body, mind, and spirit. Are the things you are filling your mind and life with strengthening your mental state, mental fortitude, discipline, and devotion? Or are they instilling hate, greed, anger, and selfishness? When we fill our mind and spirit with wisdom, knowledge, and truth, we prepare ourselves to not only win the battle, but also to prevent the war.
Sun Tzu said, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” When we strengthen our mind and spirit, we expand our understanding of the world and realize our words and actions hold the power to influence others. When we are informed and prepared, we know how to speak truth in love; and how to walk away with diplomacy when our words aren’t being heard. When we faithfully prepare for the battle in all areas, we know we are also trained and equipped to use the sword if necessary. It is through the combination of all three — preparing the mind, body, and spirt — that each one of us can be an armed force of preventing war and offering healing to the world around us.
My encouragement to you on Armed Forces Day is to ask yourself, “Am I prepared mentally, physically, and spiritually for whatever battle may be ahead?” Remember, preparation goes beyond physical training. Ask yourself, how can I prepare my mind and spirit to have the fortitude and perseverance to be victorious? Knowledge by itself isn’t power. It’s the ability to implement knowledge that gives you power. Empower yourself today to be so prepared in your mind, body, and spirt that you can’t help but prevent war and be a force for good.
If you have something you want to add, I love to learn and am happy to continue the conversation. I trust you will take this and verify if it’s a good fit for you and how you may apply it. I look forward to hearing from you.