Be an Asset: Train for the Military Mindset

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Being aware of one's surroundings is key in the military.
Being aware of one's surroundings is crucial in the military, such as these soldiers from Georgia on an exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Aug. 19, 2016. (Pfc. Caleb Foreman/U.S. Army)

There are many things besides fitness that you should consider while preparing to join the military. The following needs to be discussed to assist in creating the mindset required to become a military member -- or to help prevent yourself from being a victim. This list is also a reminder to veterans and non-serving civilians regarding security:

Simply Pay Attention

External awareness can go a long way to saving your life and keeping you safe. Distracted driving and distracted walking comprise up to 25% of vehicular and pedestrian accidents. Do yourself a favor -- notice your surroundings, not your cellphone. Pay attention to entrances, exits, places to take cover or hide, and out-of-place objects and people. When you are in public and not paying attention, you are vulnerable. Staying alert can save your life.

Attention to Detail

Take your awareness to the next level. Whether at home, in restaurants and grocery stores, or on the road, they are all great places to see what is going on around you. Notice what people are wearing and carrying. Are any bags left unattended? How many people are around you? Are any overdressed for the weather, potentially hiding something under a layer of clothing? Where are the nearest police officers? Formulate a plan in your head: "if something happens, what would I do?" This is very similar to being an athlete; your situational awareness will help you react to the ball. What we do every day can help prepare us to identify potential threats.

Take the Initiative

If you are preparing for military service, learn how to answer questions yourself by finding the answer after a reasonable amount of research. Google is a powerful tool. Taking the initiative also means doing. Get up and do something without being asked. It can be the basics around the house, such as cleaning your room or picking up after the dog. In our house, if I have to remind my son that it is Sunday and the garbage needs to be on the street for Monday morning pickup, he has failed to take the initiative himself. And his lack of initiative is noted. Recommended book on being proactive: "A Message to Garcia.''

After practicing taking the initiative, you can apply it to the training you already have. With advanced medical and security training and your initiative, you have become an asset to helping people in potentially dangerous and life-threatening moments. Starting this mindset while you are young with simple tasks will enable you to grow into the type of adult that is the asset.

The Asset Mindset

I know most people with military, law enforcement and medical training do the above instinctively, as it becomes a habit over time. It is not because they are paranoid. It is because they are trained. They are trained not to be sheep in a herd. They are the watchdogs, the sheepdogs, who are on constant alert for the wolves, even though they do not know the sheep.

As you prepare your body for military or special ops service, focus on the mindset of the warrior as well. Ask yourself: Why do you want to serve? If the answer is to fight the evil in the world that commits random attacks against innocent people, you have the right mindset. Practice the skills that the military and law enforcement use in potentially high-threat environments every day. Understand that the threat can be everywhere, so pay attention.

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