As a coach*, little may be as frustrating as hearing a message you've been banging on about for over a decade parroted from someone(s) whose thick skull has been seemingly impenetrable with your unique brand of wisdom after they heard it from some other popular-with-normies-academic-turned-huckster.
I balance on the edge of this coin, as I know it has taken me years to listen to people stating the obvious AND watched people eventually "draw" a conclusion I have been hammering into them for years. It seems to me there has to be a synergistic balance of multiple circumstantial factors for something to sink in. Like an inverse of the swiss cheese model, where we want all the holes to line up just right for the message to get through.
I want meander through my discovery of the obvious today. Let's see if I ever get to the point.
I've always been intrigued by the special forces community at a varied mental volume throughout my life and I think this is due to their being the sharpest [multi-]tool in an absurdly large sandbox. Their answer to the question 'How well can you perform physical and mental tasks under extreme duress?" appears to be 'Yes.'
So what the hell is the formula for making these super human achievement machines and how can we apply it to ourselves to improve without overheating? Memory erasure? Cybernetic enhancements? Behavioral control? Turns out, they aren't universal soldiers. The more attention you pay, the more obvious it becomes they are humans just like us, who have and have developed a finite list of attributes allowing them to do exceptional things. It's my wish to focus on one in particular: preparedness.
After four decades lost at sea, The Obvious finally sunk in. I can't remember exactly where it was stated, but John "Shrek" McPhee pointed out somewhere "If I am going to go on a course with a lot of land nav, I should probably show up knowing how to do that, right?"
It hit me right there - the way a normal person acquires the capacity to do exceptional things is by showing up with the necessary preparation to begin the adventure in place.
Craig Weller of Building the Elite talks about an issue he sees with potential SOF candidates thinking they'll appear like King Arthur on a course or school and magically pull Excalibur from the stone. Let's call that Sword in the Stone syndrome.
In a recent discussion Weller had with Shaun Taylor, Shaun talked about hating the idea of being ambushed by challenges, events or courses he would encounter. His solution was to 'ambush the ambush' by being as prepared as possible.
In his utterly compelling book Warrior's Creed [a title referencing a 14th century Japanese poem - not some ardent patriotic zealotry], Roger Sparks talks (he narrates the audio book) about instructing recruits to lie down over the course of an hour without letting him see them move, lest there be capital C Consequences.
There were layers of lessons to be learned for the recruits while performing such a task, but for me it highlights the need for a deeper understanding of Tolstoy's "two most powerful warriors".
I think we can put this together in a meaningful way by gripping the sword Weller refers to and removing it from the stone without Sparks noticing. I wrote about struggling for years with seeing the point of anything in Failure is Not Not an Option, I realise this is because I was focused on the stone and not the sword: The Outcome rather than The Process.
I've seen a fairly significant turnaround simply by deepening my understanding of the above.
It's ongoing - a feedback loop - but I tell you: as the stone gathers moss, you can be a day closer to wielding the sword.
The stone will never see it coming.
Lore for Today
*this applies to any educator who cares about helping people really.
Here's the Tolstoy quote:
"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."
Myth and folklore, especially from your ancestral home, actions and experiences with or without others can all be useful components in thinking about The Obvious in a way that allows it to resonate more deeply than listening to some PhD who wants to sell you supplements prattling for three hours on a podcast while you sit vacantly believing you're learning anything.