Determination In the Community

vs. faintheartedness

Overcoming obstacles in order to reach my goal​

To practice Determination I will:

  • set goals that are right for me
  • avoid distractions
  • not allow others to discourage me
  • face problems head-on
  • see obstacles as a challenge

“Get Over Being a Sugar Cookie”

A ‘sugar cookie’ is when a SEAL trainee must wet themselves down in the surf fully clothed and booted and then roll in the sand on the beach, covering every surface, nook, and cranny with sand. It is ordered for an infraction during training. Once covered, the trainee completed the rest of the day’s activities as a ‘sugar cookie’. Can you imagine going through your typical day, wet and covered in sand? This is no day at the beach.

When the Admiral, then a trainee, had returned to his instructor having made himself enthusiastically into a sugar cookie, the instructor asked him if he knew why it was ordered. He replied that he did not. The instructor told him, “Life isn’t fair, and the sooner you learn that the better.” Sugar cookies could be ordered at the whim of the instructors.

The Admiral continues his story by telling about a time later, when both he and the instructor, known as Moki, were assigned together. His respect and admiration for this man were intense. Moki was a superb SEAL and a phenomenal triathlete. His swims were strong, his runs were powerful, but he excelled on the bike. Every morning, he rode for 30 miles along a path that paralleled the Pacific. Early one morning, he was involved in a head-on collision with another cyclist. The other cyclist walked away. Moki did not. The crash left him paralyzed in both legs and with limited movement of his arms. Life certainly was not fair to Moki, but he did not let that stop him. From his wheelchair or on prosthetic legs, he continued to excel at whatever he tried.

We have all faced unfair circumstances. Determination helps to overcome obstacles that are predictable and expected and those that just are not fair. If we have practiced Determination in the little things, then our response in unfair and difficult circumstances will have a deep well of Determination upon which to draw. The Admiral closes this chapter with, “Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how good you are, you still end up as a sugar cookie. Don’t complain. Don’t blame it on your misfortune. Stand tall, look to the future, and drive on!”

This month, how will you use the image of the Sugar Cookie to deepen your Determination?

(All the essays this month are based on the book, Make your bed: little things that can change your life…and maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy retired). It is about the lessons he learned in Navy SEAL training that served him well his whole career. The training is beyond brutal to weed out the weak and give confidence to the strong. It takes strength and the ultimate Determination to make it to graduation.)

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