A Code.

The final lockdown blog.

I think you should be able to sum up what you live by in paragraph. Otherwise, you could look like one of those people on Facebook that re-posts a motivational quote every day – searchers. They want to follow; be something but don’t know what. They want change but won’t do it, so re-posting quotes is their way of telling the world – ‘Hey look at me, I am a good person and I do A, B,C.’ I call nonsense on that. Talkers talk, doers do.

If you need the world to see who you are, then you haven’t found who you are.

Troy, you are rambling. Let’s go back to the start.

I was born in New Zealand and I left when I was three months old, returning when I was 20. By then, I had been kicked out of school for all sorts of stupidity. Back in NZ, a stranger in my own country and a product of an international upbringing, I was immature and hanging around the wrong people. I ended up being arrested for multiple accounts of mischief, and was put on probation. My probation officer recommended that I join the army, so I did. Six months later, yep you guessed it, I was arrested by the Military Police. More mischief, and this time the Commanding Officer sent me to a Service Correctional Establishment (SCE) – fourteen days in a military prison. Where was my life going? While at SCE, I met a hard-nosed, ex special forces warden that saw something in me and tested me with extra exercise sessions. Towards the end of my ‘tour’, he suggested that I join the special forces.

Me? Do a special force selection course? They are supermen and I am a delinquent. But, why not?

I had nothing to lose but there was a catch – before I could enrol in a selection course I had to stay out of mischief – for a year!

This I did easily. I focused on the task at hand, found myself on a selection course and a year later, I was a member of a special force’s unit.

I found my purpose, stuck to my goals, and realised that there are no supermen or women in this world, only the focused and committed.

The difference is that some people can filter out the noise and focus. Special forces soldiers are no different than any other professional that requires dedication to reach an end objective. They/we are all human, no smarter or fitter than anyone else, just focused on achieving a result.

I firmly believe that you are a product of your surroundings, and If you need to, change them.

Twenty-three years later, I left. I had an education, worldly experience, and a code; tenets. There are four of them, and they are my code:

1. The Unrelenting Pursuit Of Excellence:

  • The drive for knowledge and improvement is likened to a pilgrimage – and is a never-ending journey. You can’t pursue excellence unless you are open-minded to change, adaptation, and learning. Everything you do should be done to your utmost ability. Can’t – v – won’t – how bad do you want it? Learn from failure and strive for perfection, perfection doesn’t exist, but a better version of yesterday does. ‘I got this; no task is too small.’
  • Let no one influence your standards, stick to your guns, and you will prevail.

2. Humour And Humility:

  • I think people who lack a sense of humour and humility often tend to be overly self-involved, self-important, egotistical, narcissistic, and dysfunctional. As a result, they may operate effectively in a narrow range of conditions, but as circumstances inevitably change, they eventually self-destruct. Humour is an essential ingredient in self morale and for coping with the many of life’s never-ending tests – like the one we are currently in.
  • Self-deprecating humour is an engaging example of humility; conceit is the fastest road to disaster. We seek confidence through knowledge and through trust in each other but take care never to let this go so far that confidence becomes arrogance. Humility is powerful in that it keeps me open to new ideas and prevents me from becoming blind to my own failings.
  • If you want to see an example of this, you should join AKE’s Thursday morning meeting, where our boss takes the lead on this while getting across his points.
  • Lead by example, your family and staff will become a product of their surroundings/your guidance.

3. Brook No Sense Of Class:

  • I call AKE my Tribe. A “tribe” is about the collective – in a non-communist way – and not the individual. Still, without the individuals, a tribe loses its purpose, direction, and meaning. A tribe works, suffers together as it has a purpose, pride and a sense of ownership. This is regardless of an individual’s position, education, or path in life from which they have come from. We all have a voice at the chief’s table, there is a chief, only one. This is equality in its truest form. It is the foundation upon which the Tribe is built and from which it takes its strength.
  • People who face tragedy must often come together in furtherance of a common cause.

4. Highest Standards Of Discipline:

  • An organisation that has disciplined people, disciplined thinking, and disciplined action is an organisation that wins. In maintaining the highest standards of discipline, the need for bureaucracy and unnecessary rules is reduced. The group that relies on every individual to do what is right and to the right standard. It takes the right road, not the easy road. The result is agility and freedom to innovate.
  • In the words of Jocko Willink, podcaster, author and retired Navy Seal…

    “The only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline. If you want financial freedom, you have to have financial discipline. If you want more free time, you have to follow a more disciplined time management system. You also have to have the discipline to say ‘NO’ to things that eat up your time with no payback. Things like random YouTube videos, click-bait on the internet and even events that you agree to attend when you know you won’t want to be there. ‘Discipline equals freedom’ applies to every aspect of life. If you want more freedom, get more discipline.”

Yes, these are the tenets of the SAS but these blogs are not about the special forces. But the SAS is my Tribe; Ngāti Tūmatauenga is the official Māori name of the New Zealand Army. Tūmatauenga is the Māori god of war, and Ngāti translates to Tribe. (I digress, this is for a whole different blog on culture, colonisation, and fusion..)

The SAS was the pivot point in my life that turned me into a functional member of society.

Special forces personnel are not supermen/women; no one is. The words, special, elite, guru, expert, grand-master, etc. are adjectives and mostly used to make something look better than it is. Don’t let ‘descriptive titles’ fool you – investigate. We are all equal and can achieve anything that we desire. You have to want it, and once you achieve your goal, then that is what makes you special. ‘I got this; no task is too small.’

Lockdown – Cut out the noise and focus. If you need to, un!~*$ your head, move forward, find your pivot and go for it.

Weekly Tips:

Exercise: See Blogs 1 to 4.

  • Add a daily/monthly challenge to your routine: 10,000 steps a day, a press-up challenge, a room marathon. (A friend of mine did two of these in his small hotel room!)

Book of the week: One Crowded Hour: Combat Cameraman, Neil Davis.

  • Author: Tim Bowden
  • The best-selling biography of one of the world’s greatest cine-cameramen and an extraordinary Australian. For over 20 years, journalist Neil Davis covered the conflicts in South East Asia. Always at the battlefront, he brought enduring images of the full horror of modern war to the world.
  • Purchased from Amazon books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Crowded-Hour-Tim-Bowden/dp/1743159994 

Movie of the week: The Revenant 

  • Relevant to remind us of what real hardship is.
  • Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu.
  • Loosely based on fact: Hugh Glass, a legendary frontiersman, is severely injured in a bear attack and is abandoned by his hunting crew. He uses his skills to survive and take revenge on his companion, who betrayed him.
  • Available on Netflix.

TEd TalkWhy veterans miss war: Sebastian Junger.

  • Civilians don’t miss war. But soldiers often do. Journalist Sebastian Junger shares his experience embedded with American soldiers at Restrepo, an outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley that saw heavy combat. Giving a look at the ‘altered state of mind’ that comes with war, he shows how combat gives soldiers an intense experience of connection. In the end, could it actually be ‘the opposite of war’ that soldiers miss?
  • Link: https://youtu.be/TGZMSmcuiXM

I got this, no task too small.

Stand Tall.