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"Fix Bayonets!"

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018

DESTINATION TOUGHMAN: 76 Days Until Race Day

 

“We can’t run away. If we stay here, we can’t shoot. So, let’s fix bayonets…”

 

--Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain: Battle of Little Round Top, Gettysburg, PA

To watch how the battle ends, click here

To watch a summary of Colonel Chamberlain’s “Hero’s Journey,” click here

 

 

Have you ever been in a situation where it just seems like no matter what you do, you know that you’re losing? Well, I don’t claim to have the magic formula that solves all problems, but I will share with you how I “practice” fighting through these moments.

Since my years at West Point (1993-1997), I occasionally work through a scenario in my mind during long distance runs. I imagine a moment in time where I am leading a group of soldiers, and we are losing very badly. As the leader, if I fail to do something that is bold, adaptive, and unexpected, we all die.

The first step is to do the “battlefield calculus.” It has to be done in a matter of seconds. To understand my opponent’s plan, I ask myself, “If I do nothing, where does the current momentum take things?” Seeing across time, I next ask myself, “As my opponent goes through this “move,” where is their “center of gravity” (weakest point)? The logic is that, if we hit this point hard enough at the right moment, we will make their forces shatter.  

Now, it’s time to make some bets and turn my thinking into action. I quickly give directions that put us in position. Each person knows the plan, knows when to strike, and possesses a clear picture in their mind of what success looks like. As a last step, I place myself at the most vulnerable place on the battlefield to inspire courage.

Then, the patience and the discipline come in. Wait… Wait… Wait… Finally, the moment arrives. With all of our collective might and fury the order is given: EXECUTE! EXECUTE!! EXECUTE!!! One of two things will happen next. Either we will break the “will” of our opponent or we all die. Sounds morbid, but I know all of us would rather die standing on our feet than cowering on our knees.

For many reading, I am sure that seems extremely intense. But think about it. The psychology of “fighting” is transferrable in almost everything we do. When things are not going our way, we have a choice between either accepting the eventual outcome or creating a new reality. After making the courageous choice of reshaping the future, the hard work of thinking, planning, and organizing begins. Finally, we have to overcome our fear of losing. What I’ve learned to say is, “God if this is your will, then so be it. But, if this from man alone, then I absolutely refuse to accept this fate! I will find a way to beat this. I will find a way to change destiny.”

Next week will be my Independence Day message titled, “The Golden Door.” It focuses on the values that bind us together as Americas. Until then, continue to push down the path you are born to be on. If necessary, fix bayonets…

God Bless,

--Pat

 

www.freedomslight.org

 

Did this week’s message help you? If yes, here’s an opportunity to help other Great Americans, starting at just $25.

  • Fisher House: To donate, here
  • Tuesday’s Children   To donate, click here
  • Wounded Warrior Project: To donate, click here
  • Children of Fallen Patriots: To donate, click here,
  • USO’s Operation Care Package:  To donate, click here

 

 

 

Letters From Your Father –

Belief # 3: Some Things Are Worth Dying For…

 

 

Captain Robau: If I don’t report in 15 minutes, evacuate the crew.

George Kirk: Sir, we could issue...

 

Captain Robau: There is no help for us out here! Use autopilot and get off this ship.

George Kirk: Aye, Captain.

 

Captain Robau: You’re Captain now, Mr. Kirk…

 

Opening Scene of 2009 version of “Star Trek”

To watch the opening scene, click here

To watch movie trailer, click here

 

 

Dear Girls:

 

When does a boy become a man? Is it based on a certain age? Is it a level of athletic ability or intelligence? Is it based on “coolness” or the number of girlfriends he’s had? It’s a very confusing question for most males because there seems to be no clear biological milestone. Well, for me, I believe the moment a boy becomes a man is crystal clear. It’s when he comes to the realization that some things are worth dying for.

 

In my judgment, there are 3 circumstances in which risking your life is required in order to be a man:

  1. If your immediate family is in harms way, it is your responsibility to find a path to safety, even when it means risking your own.

 

  1. If you are in-charge of group (usually military setting) where you put your lives in each other’s hands, your life counts less than those who are following you.

 

  1. If in a crisis and you know in your heart that you are the best chance for someone to survive, then quickly come up with a plan, say a prayer, and take the chance.      

 

Thankfully these moments are incredibly rare and most of us go through life never being tested. But, it’s the process of preparing, and its impact on one’s day-to-day decisions that make you a man. You see, to be a man simply requires the ability to love something greater than yourself and let that be what drives your choices. Until then, you’re just a boy, regardless of your age, intelligence, looks, or wealth.

 

On my graduation day of West Point, Sergeant First Class “Pappy” Beatty gave me a small American flag that I still keep with me in my nightstand. On the flag it states:

 

May 31, 1997

To 2LT Pat Curran:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends…”

John 15:13

 

Honestly, I did not fully understand what he was trying to tell me that day. I was still a boy that ironically he had to call “Sir” since I was now an officer. Later his message came to me. As a combat leader, SFC Beatty was letting me know what being a man is truly all about. His note was an attempt to speed up the process.

 

More next week...

 

Love You Forever,

--Dad

 

This Week in Training:

 

This year I’ve added some simple rules for how to efficiently feed my body during the training up to race day:

 

  1. Take my multivitamins, Omega-3, and glucosamine daily
  2. Pack a balanced set of meals for the workday to ensure I have healthy options
  3. Eat the majority of my calories between 9am – 2pm
  4. Replace afternoon carbs with as much fruits and vegetables as I want.
  5. Eat the minimum essential food needed between 7:30pm and 9:00am
  6. Weigh myself on occasion and try to keep my weight up by drinking lots of water in between meals.

 

That last rule is the kicker. I am actually trying to keep my weight up by drinking lots of water. In nearly 40 years of living, I have never actually worked to keep my weight up, so the whole concept seems strange. Despite my best efforts, I’ve lost 7 pounds in 3 weeks. Yet, all of my times and core strength training work have seen improvements.

 

If I stay focused on the 6 rules above, I know my body will transform into the shape I need to achieve my goals. To be qualified to compete in the Clydesdale Division at the 70.3 Mile Westchester Toughman I have to be above 200 lbs. Currently at 261 lbs, I am not too worried about being disqualified. J

 

Here’s this week’s workout plan:

 

Monday: Swim 10 x 100m; 40 min Run

Tuesday: Brick Workout – Bike 60 min, Run 30 min, 10 Chin-ups/50 Pushups

Wednesday: Swim 2000m; Bike 1.25 hrs

Thursday: Core Strength Training; Long Stretch

Friday: Bike 1.5 hrs

Saturday: Run 60 min

Sunday: Stretch; Track Workout w/Girls; Swim

 

 

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