Sunday, November 21, 2021

Preparing For Conflict: Mindset

Many years ago I found myself in combat. It was my first experience with someone shooting at me and me trying to kill someone. Before then, I was always curious how I would respond in that type of pressure. I did OK but after that first battle I had an adrenaline crash. It happened to me again but by the 3rd firefight I was accustomed to the terror and didn’t have the same crash. I watched some guys completely fold. They were non-functioning until they too were acclimated to the feelings, sounds, and smells of battle. I found that training had a lot to do with how you react. I’d like to share some of what I learned so you can be better prepared for a life threatening situation. First of all is training. You don’t want to have to really think about gripping your gun, drawing, extending, aiming, and pressing the trigger. Most of these things should be like breathing. You should be able to draw and make ready your weapon without really knowing that it’s happening. Understanding fear and how to use it to your advantage, is a skill very few bother to learn. Most people have the normalcy bias, and think nothing will ever happen to them. Admit to yourself you are afraid, then move on. Concentrate your mental energies on the task at hand, not on your fear of death, injury, or loss of ego. Avoid dwelling on the chance of failure. Concentrate on finding a way to win. Take control of yourself. Autogenic breathing is the very best and most efficient way to do this. Focus on getting the job done. Have a Plan B. Always, always, always, expect Plan A to fail. Expect your gun to malfunction. Expect the attacker to stay up after being hit solidly. Expect to be injured. If any of these things occur, have a pre-planned option to continue (Plan B). Turn anger into a motivator. Who does this clown think he is? What makes him think he has the right to (rob/rape/kill/threaten) me? Accept an element of fate in every situation. You can get hurt by accident after doing everything right. Control everything you CAN control (selection of equipment, getting adequate training and practice, being alert, thinking tactically) so there are fewer things you CAN NOT control. Stack the odds in your favor, and fate has a lot less impact. Courage under fire is not a matter of being without fear. It is a matter of being able to control fear and accomplish your mission, which is to stay alive. Only fools are fearless. Training, did I say training? Training! “We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” ― Archilochus Archilochus was a Greek poet but also a soldier. His combative spirit expressed itself in warfare. He joined the Parian colony on Thasos and battled the indigenous Thracians, expressing himself in his poems as a cynical, hard-bitten soldier fighting for a country he doesn't love ("Thasos, thrice miserable city") on behalf of a people he scorns, yet he values his closest comrades and their stalwart, unglamorous commander. But I think he understood about training. Fear is something that should not be feared (pardon the pun). But should be managed to your advantage. If you’re interested in fear I would recommend the book: “The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence” by Gavin de Becker If you can do these things, you will be better prepared for something that you may never have to deal with. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

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