I attended the Sapper Leader Course in 2018. I was still in Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) when I started training for it, but had a gap between graduating BOLC and actually attending it. While at BOLC, I was lucky enough to be a part of a Pre-Sapper BOLC Physical Training group. We woke up earlier and trained harder than our other BOLC peers.
In those days, I was not a naturally motivated person, but I had a goal. I wanted more than anything in the world to be a Sapper Qualified officer and show up to my unit with a tab. So I researched Sapper School, read about nutrition and did everything in my power to ensure that when the sun set I was one step closer to wearing that coveted tab.
One of the smallest and easiest things I did was listen to a motivation speech each morning. Below is the manuscript of that speech, which is called, "Rise & Shine - Welcome to the Grind."
"Rise and shine.
It's 6 a.m. (it was usually 4 or 5 when I woke up) and your hand can't make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you that it's too early, too dark, and too cold to get out of bed.
Aching muscles lie still in rebellion, pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move. A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button and go back to dreamland, but you didn't ask their permission.
The voice you've chosen to listen to is one of defiance. A voice that says, there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place, so sit up, put your feet on the floor and don't look back, because we've got work to do.
Welcome to the grind.
For what is each day, but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way. Ten thousand streams fan out like a river delta before you, each one promising the path of least resistance. The thing is, you’re headed upstream. When you make that choice and you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable, what’s safe, and what some might call common sense.
Well that’s day one. From there it only gets tougher so just make sure this is something you want, because the easy way out will always be there ready to wash you away. All you have to do is pick up your feet.
But you aren’t going to quit. With each step comes the decision to take another. You’re on your way now, but this is no time to dwell on how far you’ve come. You’re in a fight against an opponent you can’t see, but you can feel them on your heels—can’t you? You can feel them breathing down your neck.
You know what that is? That’s you. Your fears, your doubts and insecurities all lined up like a firing squad ready to shoot you out of the sky, but don’t lose heart. While they’re not easily defeated they are far from invisible.
Remember this is the GRIND. The battle royale between you and your mind and body and the devil on your shoulder that’s telling you that, “this is just a game, this is just a waste of time, your opponents are stronger than you.”
Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heart beat. Burn away your self-doubt with the fire lit beneath you. Remember what you’re fighting for, and never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress. She can turn on a dime or with the smallest mistake. She is ever searching for the weakness in your armor. That one tiny place you forgot to prepare for.
So as long as the devil is hiding in the details the question remains, “is that all you got? Are you sure?” When the answer is yes. When you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle. Then it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy, the enemy within.
Only now you must take that fight into the open, into hostile territory. You’re a lion in a field of lions all hunting the same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says, “victory is the only thing that can keep you alive.”
So believe that voice that says, “you can run a little bit faster, you can throw a little harder, and for you the laws of physics are merely a suggestion.”
Luck is the last dying wish of those who want to believe that winning can happen by accident. Sweat on the other hand is for those who know it’s a choice. So decide now, because destiny waits for no man.
When your time comes and a different thousand voices are trying to tell you that you’re not ready for it. Listen instead to that lone voice of dissent, the one that says, “You are ready. You are prepared. It’s all up to you now, so rise and shine.”
After listening to this speech, I would roll out of bed and drink a glass of water that I had set out the night before. Then I went on my way. Once I completed Sapper and earned the tab this speech didn't quite motivate me like it did before, but I continued to use this technique as I moved on to bigger and better things. Never get complacent. Stay hard and go out and get after it.
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Thanks for taking time to read this.