Harnessing the Power of Routine and Discipline

Harnessing the Power of Routine and Discipline: Lessons from a Former Special Operations Marine

In the heart of combat zones, amidst the deafening realization of your mortality and the unyielding pressure of life-or-death decisions, an immense power overcomes your fearful consciousness, and influences your actions… 

Its the power of, routine and discipline.

As a former Special Operations Marine, my experiences, both grueling and exhilarating, imparted in me an unwavering respect for these twin pillars. Here’s why they matter and how they can shape success, regardless of the battleground you may find yourself in.

The Lifeline of Discipline

In the volatile environment of military operations, discipline isn’t just recommended – it’s vital. It’s what ensures that training kicks in when there’s no time to think, that reflexes act in the face of danger, and that a team can operate seamlessly in synchrony.

But discipline’s reach extends far beyond the battlefield. It’s the backbone of any successful endeavor. 

Whether you’re an entrepreneur navigating the tumultuous waters of business or a student striving for academic excellence, discipline ensures you stay the course.

The Predictability of Routine

In the military, routines are ingrained deeply. From the pockets we all would store out “pain management packs” in case we got shot, to the way we laced our boots, predictability served as the antidote to confusion in times of chaos. While every mission has its unpredictabilities, a solid routine sets a baseline, a return point that provides a semblance of order in all life circumstances.

In everyday life, routines have a similar grounding effect. They anchor us, ensuring that amidst life’s uncertainties, we have a structure, a plan we can stick to. They become the foundation upon which we build habits, both small and big, that lead us to our goals.

Marrying Routine and Discipline

Routine and discipline, when combined, become an unbeatable force. While routine gives you a game plan, discipline ensures you stick to it regardless of your temporary feeling.

 It’s the marriage of planning and execution.

A disciplined adherence to routine helped me survive some of the toughest challenges during my time as a Marine. Now, as a trainer and coach, I emphasize the importance of this combination to my clients, helping them unlock unparalleled potential.

Why it Matters to You

You might wonder, how does the routine of a Marine translate to, say, a corporate executive or an artist? It’s simple. At its core, this isn’t about the specific routines or the exacting discipline of military operations. It’s about the principles they represent.

  • Reliability: Knowing that come what may, there’s a structure you can rely on, which allows others to rely on you.
  • Consistency: Showing up, every single day, whether you’re faced with a daunting mission or a mundane task, consistency causes others to believe in you.
  • Resilience: Routine and discipline help you understand that setbacks are a part of the journey. These micro lessons help you  forge mental and emotional resiliency which will help you navigate troubling times. This therefore allows you to serve others in their troubling times, which is one of the greatest act of service we can provide for one another.

Know This…

As you navigate the challenges of your profession and personal life, remember the power that routine and discipline can bestow upon you. They aren’t just tools for the battlefield; they’re tools for life. With them, you can conquer any mission, no matter how insurmountable it might seem.

If you want help or need guidance in developing positive habits and routines that serve your greater goals and purpose in life,

Discover HERE the opportunities available to you!

In the world of personal safety, sharp instincts and acute situational awareness aren’t just important; they’re lifesavers. While training and experience play a role, there’s a neural guardian, quietly and consistently working in the background, that deserves our attention: the Reticular Activating System or RAS.


The Neuroscience in Brief

Imagine a bustling airport. Hundreds of announcements blare over the intercom, travelers chat, and footsteps echo. But amidst this cacophony, when the last call for your flight is announced, your ears magically pick it out. That selective attention? Thank the RAS.

Our brains are bombarded with sensory information every second. The RAS, nestled within the brainstem, acts as a vigilant gatekeeper, deciding what gets our attention and what remains background noise. Think of it as the brain’s radar, finely tuned to pick up on relevant stimuli.

Illustrative Example: A Marine on patrol in unfamiliar territory doesn’t just scan the landscape. He is tuned into specific cues – a rustling bush, an odd footprint, or the unusual silence of birds. His RAS, shaped by training, primes him to detect these anomalies, ensuring his safety.


A Story of Keen Awareness

Meet Maya. A college student, she often studies late at the library. One evening, as she walked back to her dorm, she felt an eerie stillness. The regular evening sounds seemed muted. Many would attribute this to mere intuition, but it was her RAS at work.

Two days prior, Maya had attended a personal safety workshop where she learned about being more observant of her surroundings. This training had unintentionally “programmed” her RAS to be more attuned to environmental anomalies.

Walking past an alley, she caught a faint shadow moving against the dim light. It was irregular, unlike the usual dance of tree branches. Her heightened RAS signaled this as important, pushing it to her conscious awareness. Instead of dismissing it, Maya chose to change her route, later learning that another student had been mugged in that very alley shortly after she’d passed.

It wasn’t just luck that saved Maya. Her RAS, fine-tuned by recent safety training, played a pivotal role.


Tying it all together

In the high-stakes world of a Special Operations Marine, a sharp RAS is indispensable. But even in our daily lives, understanding and honing our RAS can make the difference between obliviousness and keen awareness, between danger and safety. Every experience, every piece of knowledge, contributes to programming our RAS. So, invest in your safety; feed your RAS the right information. Like the most advanced radar system, it will watch over you.


Priming the RAS – Cultivating Awareness Without Fear


Understanding the RAS is only half the battle. Now, let’s delve into how to prime it effectively, ensuring it works for us, not against us. The goal is to cultivate an alert yet calm mind.


Step 1: Educate Yourself

Awareness starts with knowledge. Attend personal safety workshops, read books on body language, and learn the basics of human psychology. This knowledge becomes the data your RAS uses to identify potential threats.


Illustrative Example: Knowing that someone frequently touching their face or avoiding eye contact might be signs of deceit can prompt your RAS to alert you when it happens in real-time.


Step 2: Environmental Scanning

Regularly scan your surroundings. It’s not about being suspicious of every person or thing, but more about understanding the norm so anomalies stand out.


Step 3: Role-playing

Mentally or with a group, simulate scenarios and work on your responses. Over time, this ‘rehearsal’ refines your RAS, making your reactions to real situations swifter.


Step 4: Mindfulness Meditation

Engage in mindfulness exercises. These train you to stay present, making your RAS more effective in sifting through current sensory data.


Step 5: Reflect and Debrief

Review situations where you felt uneasy or where your RAS was triggered. Was there a genuine concern? Why? Reflecting helps you recognize patterns and calibrates your RAS more finely.


Awareness vs. Paranoia

Now, an important distinction: Priming the RAS for safety isn’t about inducing paranoia. Instead, it’s the difference between walking through a garden and knowing which plants are poisonous versus fearing every plant you see.


A well-tuned RAS provides peace of mind. You’ll trust your ability to detect anomalies, which inherently calms the subconscious. The body’s autonomic nervous system, responsible for our fight-or-flight response, is soothed when the mind is confident in its ability to discern threats. With trust in your tuned RAS, the autonomic system doesn’t need to be in a constant state of high alert.


In Conclusion

Life is a balance of vigilance and relaxation. With a properly primed RAS, we can stride confidently, knowing our internal radar is ever-watchful, but only raising the alarm when

necessary. Far from inducing fear, a sharpened RAS grants us the serenity of preparedness.


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