There were a lot of things we did in the Army that (if mimicked or duplicated) would serve you well individually and as a family unit. I did an article that emphasized how important it is to make every member of your family learn, and (eventually) perform as an instructor. This piece is for an emphasis on you as an individual. If you strengthen your abilities as an individual, then it makes it that much easier when you teach, lead, and train your family as a group.
We had a thing in the Army called “hip pocket training,” that (when as a group we had some down time, such as when we were all sitting around ready to go through a range, or an exercise) we would take that “down” time and try to fill it with something productive. A lot of soldiers didn’t particularly like it, however, these were the ones who didn’t want to be proactive with their time or their military career. During this down time, we would gather in small groups and study different subjects on the cusp…unprepared training…such as our Sergeants taking us through a 9-paragraph operations order from memory, or doing some practice disassembling and assembling weapons…blindfolded, and for time.
Maximize Your Training
The point: to make maximum and effective use of our time. The ones who weren’t shortsighted could see that this contributed to battle readiness.
I have written this before, and I’ll mention it again: How you train in peace is how you’ll fight in war.
What does this mean for you? Well, to make maximum and effective use of your time. This will involve some planning on your part. What do you usually do on your “down time” during a workday? Do you have the standard, ½ hour unpaid lunch break, or do you have an hour? Do you set your own schedule and have (perhaps) some open or slow time in the morning that lasts an hour? And then again in the afternoon? How far do you live from work? A long commute?
These are questions you can ask yourself to ascertain your free, or open spots that you can fill productively with some type of training. We’re not talking about physical training or exercise…that is something entirely different, and your time with weightlifting or calisthenics needs to be a time that you concentrate only on that. If you have a long commute to work (a drive of half an hour or more), why not put in an instructional cassette tape or CD with language lessons on it? This is a good way to fill up that time and brush up on your Spanish or French.
So, that doesn’t seem like much? Well, guess what? If you have that half hour per morning…that would be 2 ½ hours per week. With 52 weeks in a year, that would be 126 total hours, or 5 whole days of listening. Do you know how much positive reinforcement that would yield? Just listening passively to something such as that? Can do you nothing but good.
Then on the return trip home, switch it off to something else equally productive. Any subject under the sun…if it’s proactive and you’re learning something. Maximum and effective use of your time is the goal…not to punch a clock, but to fill it with something that will benefit you. Ben Franklin: “The best way to kill time is to work it to death.”
Those long lunch breaks? Put your nose in a book for 15 minutes or so. If you get a full hour, then even take one of those little portable DVD players with something instructional…it can be anything from gunsmithing to herbal remedies…first aid to land navigation. Do this for four days on your lunch break. Make that 5th day of lunch an “open” day…to fill it with either some type of reading, watching, or listening program, or to plan your training for the weekend and the coming week.
If you’re fortunate enough to work with a like-minded friend, well, get them involved. Why not? “Iron sharpens iron,” we’re all so fond of saying. How about living it? Find a coworker with similar interests and bring up a thing to do for training for the pair of you. Get him or her involved: get them to set up a time where they train you with something.
There are no limits to the scope of your training calendar except those you impose upon it. That imposition can be through inactivity or procrastination. Don’t do either. Seize the moment, seize the day. You can also give yourself 15 to 30 minutes each day before you go to work, and then again when you come home. The bottom line: it really adds up to something in the end. If you stick a dollar in a coffee can with the lid taped on through a slit in the top and don’t touch it for three years…if you do it every day…after three years, you’ll have over a thousand dollars.
Same principle here. If you invest in yourself by filling your time with things that will fill you and improve you…then you’ll have something to show for it when you look at it down the road. Training is important: to learn new things and to sharpen old skills and make them “current” again. Let’s take a small scenario, say someone who lives in upstate New York.
Do you know French? If you had to flee to Canada in the middle of the night, do you speak French well enough to get by? Does your family…the wife and two teenage kids…do they speak French? Do you know your route? Ooops, an EMP just busted overhead, and New York City went dark, too…it became a glowing hole. Did you stash stuff in Faraday cages? Have your compass? Are you guys ready to start that ’56 Ford pickup truck and roll out of there?
If you’ve trained and prepared for all that stuff, then it will make things easier (even if not less stressful) and give you an edge. Take the time to make a definitive training plan that will allow you to maximize the amount of “free” time that you have…and then execute that plan. The best plan in the world is of no use if you don’t use it when the time comes. The time is now: time to formulate your training goals and implement them. It has to do with your survival and the survival of your family. Need it be emphasized any more than that? So, buckle down, study and work hard, and implement that training plan, as the world is not becoming either any nicer or safer. Stay the course, and stay in that good fight! JJ out!