The 365 Commitment

Day 13 – Your Own Boot Camp

I have made it through five decades of life without consistent discipline.  Any success I have managed thus far I credit to God given talent, natural ambition, and an affinity for working hard when faced with a challenge.

But, those things are not the same as discipline and consistent good habits.  My Dad was never in the military.  He got his draft notice just as the Vietnam War was ending, so it was rescinded and he did not have to go. He was brilliant and funny, and a kind teacher. But, he was afflicted with a terrible demon of alcoholism, which he battled on and off throughout his life.  So, I did not learn discipline and good habits from him. But, I did learn many useful things from him, and I know he loved me. I sure miss him.

My Step-Dad on the other hand had been in the military during the Korean war.  He spent his time on the first super-carrier touring the Mediterranean.  He joined when he was 15 years old.  He lied to a priest to obtain a baptismal certificate with his falsified age of “17” on it. Can you imagine visiting the coastal cities of France, Italy, Greece, etc. a mere 10 years after the end of WWII?  He did not have to face the battle field.  But he did have to conform to a strict military life.  He was on the Admirals ship after all. He learned to make his bed, keep his uniform and kit sharp and clean, follow a schedule, follow orders, be held accountable, manage his money, hold others accountable, maintain physical fitness, and perform consistently and dutifully. He became a disciplined individual. He also learned some management skills that served him well as he climbed the corporate ladder with courage, charisma, and talent sans a formal college education. He also took no shit from anybody (probably innate).  He was a great guy who loved me as his own. I sure miss him!

Point is, he wanted me to go into the military.  But, growing up in the post-Vietnam era did not imbue me with a very positive view of military service.  He encouraged me because he knew that I would benefit from the discipline as he had. He knew I needed it.  I rebelled, and made my own way.  I don’t regret this decision.  Perhaps I avoided the “Gulf War Syndrome” that wrecked many men during the first Iraq War.  But, perhaps I also missed an opportunity to become a disciplined individual?

Fortunately, it’s not too late.  I figure the 365 Commitment is my opportunity to finally develop in this area.  What’s really cool is this “self-made boot camp” of sorts is not something I have to do alone or in obscurity.  I have witnesses, and friends, and an ego to push and pull me through!  Maybe you are like me and recognize that there is a gap in your development.  The 365 Commitment is our opportunity to do something about it.  It’s never too late to develop discipline, callous your mind, and establish good habits.  What will happen in your life if you do?  I bet it will be good, perhaps even great.  Let’s find out!

Ben Wagner (19)

Member 365 Commitment

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