I’m reading a fascinating book about war.
I know you might be thinking, ‘what on earth could be fascinating about grown men shooting and killing each other?!’
It’s not so much about war but about the lessons of war. The book is about a legendary American General; George S. Patton, who commandeered the American First Division Armoured Corps in World War II. His war precepts, it turns out, are also valuable life principles.
The book traces Gen. Patton’s life from the training of the soldiers to actual combat and how he went about instilling these principles in his troops.
The author of the book, Porter B. Williamson, recounts how he served under Gen. Patton and the seemingly harsh but interesting methods the General used to teach his war principles. For example, Gen. Patton’s principles of discipline did not match modern rules for management. He did not believe in the idea of giving reprimands in a quiet and personal conversation to avoid hurt feelings. And so, his punishment and reprimands for his troops were always immediate and he did not hesitate to use the radio to correct a soldier and remove any rank from command. But he also used the radio to commend special efforts by the troops. The result was, because the officers knew they could be removed from command in an instant or given special recognition, every man gave his best effort every hour of the day.
I haven’t finished the book but I keep stealing moments to read sections of it. So, at the moment, its reality is never far from my mind.
The other day I was watching Jordan Spark’s music video, Battlefield and I instantly thought of Gen. Patton. My over-imaginative brain began to construct elements of a battlefield; smoke, wounded soldiers, hills surrounded by enemies, guns blaring and that lone, piercing and chilling sound of a cry signalling an attack.
I had to bring myself back to earth.
Feeling the reality of the ground beneath my feet again, I couldn’t resist thinking about the battles we fight on a daily basis;
To strike out on our own or not to? To put that business plan into action or not to? To reach out for our dreams or not to? To take that risk or not to?
And then there are other battles too: to forgive or not to forgive? To be considerate or not to be considerate? To give up or to keep pushing forward? To cower away in fear or to stand up and fight?
The thing with life’s small battles is that when you spread them out over a lifetime they become…well, your life. They determine how and where you end up in life.
If, for instance, I lose the battle to forgive every single time in the small, little things, there is a strong possibility that I will invite bitterness to dwell in my heart. And living fabulously is incompatible with bitterness.
It is worthwhile to pay attention to the battles we are winning and the ones we are losing in the small things of life. Because life is merely a collection of our every day, it matters how our daily, tiny battles end.
Every day is the right time to fight our weaknesses; to be strong and triumphant.
This is not a bloody battle. It is a battle of choices; the choice to live life with the best possible chance to succeed or to just go with the flow.
I hope you will choose the former. I hope you will hear the battle cry every day and that rather than filling you with fear, it will fill you with excitement at the possibility of a life well lived.