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These Are The Lessons That Only The Military Could Teach Us

Life’s lessons are either acquired from your own experiences, other people’s stories, in schools, or at times in the most unexpected time and place. For one, civilians like you and me can learn a lot of things from the military.

We can learn unique, useful skills in the military—not just for special ops, but also often applicable to everyday life. You’d be surprised as to how soldiers often come up with shortcuts to lead the disciplined life required in the military.

Having that said, we enlist in here some of the most interesting lessons anyone could learn from the military.

1. Win friends even during discomfort.

Being a soldier means living rough. When you’re out in the field you sleep on the ground, you don’t get to shower very often, the ration packs you eat taste like ass, you’re outside in the searing heat or freezing cold, and you have to just make the best of it.

Think about civilian life—air conditioners, comfy beds, whatever food you want being just a few minutes’ drive away. When you get used to living in discomfort in the army, suddenly all the things everyone complains about in the civilian world make you say “Huh?”

Learning to shrug your shoulders and do what you have to do while everyone else is whining makes you stand out for all the right reasons. So, don’t chase after comfort all the time. Take cold showers once in a while, skip a meal and learn what hunger feels like, get out of your comfort zone.

2. Be good at everything.

By the time you get out of the army, you feel that there isn’t much you can’t do. Sure, you wouldn’t be able to start programming at Facebook if you’d never learned a line of code beforehand, but you wouldn’t be afraid to take a shot at most things that would seem daunting for others.

Manage the company for a day? Sure, why not? Talk to this guy about why we won’t pay him X amount of settlement? No problem. Job descriptions are not set in stone—especially when you realize you can do anything that you set your mind to.

Challenge yourself! Learn as many different skills as you can in as many different fields. If you’re really enthusiastic about expanding your skill set, look into online classes or workshops happening in your neighborhood.

3. Learn the HACKS to pack your clothes efficiently.

Those in the military often have to be ready to “move out” at a moment’s notice, packing light and keeping their uniforms wrinkle-free. They’re pros at folding shirts, rolling pants, and even saving space with optimal socks folding. By the way, an Army surplus store is a great place to pick up a versatile bag for travel or day-to-day journeys.

4. Survive in harsh and tough situations.

You’ll hopefully never need the U.S. Military Survival Manual, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Download it on your phone to learn about fire starting, dealing with dangerous animals, and more wilderness survival skills from the experts.

5. It lets you feel what it’s like to be held to great expectations.

In the day-to-day world, what are most people responsible for? Getting their work done in eight hours, not making big mistakes, being nice to people, and so on.

The kind of responsibility thrust upon you in the army brings your maturity and ability to cope up to another level. This is also the kind of opportunity that makes people want you for management positions when you’ve barely been in a company a few months.

Never shy away from a challenge. Even if it seems like you’re biting off more than you can chew, just chew like crazy. If you need help, ask. Just don’t say no to the challenge because you’re scared.

6. Take good care of your people.

Former General Motors chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson says military service taught him to lead by example and “to take good care of your people.” Another great thing is you have to learn how to sharpen your listening skills. Michael Morris, the former CEO of American Electric Power, has said that the military developed his “willingness to listen and formulate an opinion that incorporates as many people’s ideas as possible.”

7. Give 100% of your effort.

Robert McDonald, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, explains that his time in the infantry convinced him to always commit to something 100%. “If you’re going to be in the Army, go into the infantry,” he says. “If you’re going to be in marketing, work for P&G. You don’t do things halfway.”

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