Problem, challenge, adventure

I remember hearing this NCO say on offense once, “I only know two phases of the attack: movement to contact and… adventures…” He might have been echoing a different sentiment than the one I imagined; namely, that the plan tends to go out the window as soon as the bad guys shoot back.

Since this makes year 18 for me and I probably won’t be getting company command (nor do I care either way), I’m continuing to live my role of officer in charge of random things. Some call it, random-ass bullshit.

I don’t. Yeah… it sometimes feels that way and maybe it really is. But since I have to do it, couldn’t I still find something meaningful about it? Instead of a problem, I could see it as a challenge. Maybe instead of a challenge, I could try seeing it as… an adventure!

As Tony Robbins says, instead of seeing it as something you have to do, why not something you get to do? Like how you might’ve seen it at the beginning. Reid Hoffman, CEO of and billionaire, calls it being in permanent beta. Ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius said that the common man marvels at uncommon things, whereas the wise man marvels at the common.

I saw a documentary on Catholic nuns in advanced age who donated their brains to science upon death. Their brains revealed the structural symptoms of Alzheimer’s, yet, prior to death they exhibited none of the behavioral symptoms. An analysis of their daily rituals revealed the habit of forever learning something new, being eternal students.

I got tasked yesterday with a particularly vague task, to obtain the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, why) on an upcoming exercise. My boss just gave me the name of exercise. I asked how soon she wanted the answer. She said after lunch.

She left a lot of blanks. Maybe I should’ve asked more question. Maybe she should’ve given more details. This happens quite often to me. Maybe it’s because I’m a captain and she feels I shouldn’t need to be micromanaged with all the small details.

Either way, she left blanks. If you leave me with blanks, I’ll fill in the blanks myself. Why? Why not? I take that as my cue to exercise reasonable discretion.

This lack of detail I used to find frustrating, but as the years went by, I’ve come to expect all work to be an iterative process and that there’s a lot of adventure in filling in the blanks.