The holidays swooped down on us, and we are in the throes of post-Thanksgiving gluttony. I hope everyone had a special day, remarkable enough to remember for many years. Unfortunately, and invariably, some people and families do not have a good time. Sickness, death, and hunger seem ever-present, regardless of how well churches, helpful organizations, or family heads plan, some fall through the net and end with a lackluster holiday.
Everyone has times of economic trouble. For me, it was during my college years. One of my financial goals was to walk into a restaurant or fast-food establishment and order without first checking the price of the item I wanted to eat. It took me several years to accomplish, but I did.
Achieving a goal should always feel satisfying.
Working toward a goal and, in the end, accomplishing it should be pleasant and fulfilling. Every time I finish stages or secondary goals, it is the same. An example of this might be when I finish a rough draft. Then, how about the first round of edits? It keeps going all the way through the final publishing of the book. All of these are goals from which I derive gratification.
There are natural steps on the road or walk, maybe a run. Whatever I’m involved in, there can be subdivisions and secondary levels— places where celebratory pauses naturally inject.
Years ago, I had a Lieutenant Colonel as a commander in the Army that mentored several of us junior officers. His thought on this elementary process was, “How do you eat an elephant — One bite at a time. It just may take a while, so don’t stop.”
Be careful. It can be as simple as a brief mental recess, but it need not be a letdown of momentum. Simply because there is a notable hiatus in a process, it by no means necessitates a lack of forward motion.
Many may interpret this as accurate secondary goal completion, but I don’t see it this way. It is equally valid for the major goals, too. If you let your motivation lapse after completing a major work, it results in enormous waste. Don’t trash all of that mental kinetic energy.
If that happens, rebuilding your store of gumption will require time for rebuilding to arrive where you already stood, well positioned to leapfrog.
O remember a day that my Divarty Commander (brigade, full colonel) took his officers on a four-mile run. The purpose of the exercise was to raise brotherhood between his subordinate units. The run wasn’t exceptionally rough. We ran across Fort Hood at a fair pace. Somewhere along the third mile, a major dropped out of formation and carried on at a slower pace.
After the run, we ran onto the parade ground outside Divarty headquarters. We ran across it, and the colonel had us stop. There we stood at attention; nothing happened, except fire ants began climbing up our legs. One by one, when the pain from their bites became too much, we slapped at them and quickly resumed our position. But you know, one of our soldiers never moved — the colonel.
We stood there until that major appeared and ran across the field. As soon as the man joined us and pulled himself to attention, the colonel said, “Never quit.” That was it. He dismissed us.
I never saw that major again, although I still had another year on that post. I saw the colonel weekly, but he moved on before I left.
But I did see that colonel again after that. He was on television, but he was no longer a colonel. He was General Tommy Franks, the United States Central Command commander, which included the middle east during the war in Afghanistan.
What Colonel Franks said is just as important today as when I worked for him. Make sure to use your momentum effectively. “Never Quit!”
While you ponder that, let me go on to something else.
With the gift-giving season here, don’t forget Indies United Publishing House. There are inexpensive gifts to be had that will give hours and days of enjoyment suitable for any person you are gift searching.
Likewise, my book Recall gives thrills from the first page to the final gunshot and beyond. If thrills are what you want to give, click here.
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