The Vital Importance of Self-Discipline
by Terry Trahan
So, here we are, depending on location, a few weeks into this lockdown/stay at home madness.
Above all else, I’m looking at this as an opportunity to look at where my plans have fallen apart, what went well in this first contact, and what can I do better.
Another thing I am taking note of is how other people are reacting. One thing is pretty obvious, a lot of people weren’t as prepared as they thought, and many only had vague ideas of a plan, or what was really important for prepping.
We have learned that hoarding ammo is not nearly as important as hoarding food and, weirdly, paper products, for when others freak out and panic.
Boredom is a morale killer
And, in what I hope to be a big lesson for many, how boring a lot of survival and prepping really is. There is just not a lot of adventure and action in long term survival situations. And this can lead to a big problem. Boredom is a morale killer, as well as a demotivator. When this happens, it leads to a downward spiral. We are seeing this in evidence already, as people are becoming unhinged in just a few weeks.
One aspect of my survival philosophy and one that I really stress during classes is Doing the Work. Doing the mundane things that need done, no matter the glory or lack thereof. When you develop the attitude that it all needs done, so we do it, or that nothing needs done, so we do nothing, it makes it easier on us as individuals to approach each task, or lack of tasks as they come along.
I call this the “sometimes you just have to take out the trash” mindset. It applies to more than just survival.
It can apply to combat, self-defense, recon, or medical. When you approach all tasks that need to be done with the same discipline as any other task, you realize you just get it done. It helps with the anxiety that can build up in times of stress, it helps you calm down so you can look at the situation from a more beneficial viewpoint. It lets you see options that are there but might be missed if you are in a more excited state.
It also assists with avoiding fantasy thinking in the situations we find ourselves in. If you can look at the taking of someone’s life as a job rather than something to look forward to, or be scared of, it helps you to learn when you need to do it, as opposed to it being an unknown, or, for some, something to aspire to.
Taking the trash out is not done for glory, it is not done to make yourself look better, it is done as a service to others in our groups, and we can do it, so we do it.
Keep your mindset down to earth.
We also can use that attitude to help others keep motivated. Breaking something down into its component parts helps people not get overwhelmed, and keeps them focused on the task at hand.
It is easy, especially when you realize a deficit, to fight to fill it, make up for it, or get panicked about it. And this is the worst state we can be in to actually, effectively address the situations we may be in. Keeping a down to earth, Do the Work mindset helps get those deficits filled without feeling overwhelmed or shamed. We simply see what we need to do, do it, learn the lesson, and move to the next item.
In this time, I would encourage everyone to use this situation as an opportunity to audit what we need to do better, patch our holes, and develop a mindset that will help us practically down the road, as things look to be turning for the worst.
A preparedness dress rehearsal is a gift we normally do not receive. Let us take advantage of such an opportunity.
Do the work, take out the trash. In the end, it is those who get things done who do the best.
Terry Trahan has been a long term martial artist and teacher of personal protection, as well as an author for numerous publications. His experiences from being a gang member, enforcer, protection specialist, and bouncer have given his teachings a strong bent towards the practical. Fighting his way out of extreme poverty and some unsavory environs also gives him insight into survival and everyday life not often commented on. He can be contacted at terry.trahan at gmail.com