So here I am with the ability and audacity to Monday morning Quarterback the shit out of my accomplishments from the past. This by no means is a must do-or-fail list, this is merely a generalized compilation of things I have reflected upon post A&S of which I personally deem fitting for review and attention to those with the aspirations of becoming a Marine Raider. Now although there are many factors and components that comprise a fitting candidate for selection I for one deem the following to be of the utmost skillsets to refine.
Now, this is not just from a standard physical level but more a total human performance level.
a. Physical – For this, I would have dedicated more time to skillfully homing in on the standards for MARSOC A&S and back planned accordingly from there. Either developing a proper training regime or find someone capable of doing that for me and execute to my highest.
b. Sleep – I would have been more regimented with my process and a made it a higher priority. Now I got near adequate sleep many of nights, but looking back I would have planned a protocol for at least 8 hours of sleep a night, printed it out and made daily assessments to how well I had adhered to it.
c. Nutrition – Although I ate well, I did not, however, eat as ideal as I should have for the stress I was inducing upon my body during the preparation for A&S at that time. Proper nutrition, consumption of quality food and understanding your caloric intake vs what your body is burning can be crucial to developing a nutritional objective to adhere to. “My Fitness Pal” is a great app and a way to annotate what you eat, set future goals, and track your daily intake for desired nutritional consumption.
d. Mindful Practice- Now I do not expect you to become a yoga guru nor a monk, but I am a firm believer in daily maintenance and tending to the mind and its state of health. Developing a practice of knowing how to calm the mind, put it at ease, set it up for success and the stressors that will come the next day or at any given moment is a massive component to personal achievement. I used stubbornness and willpower but if I had actually developed a true mindful practice to perform I most certainly would have been much better off.
2. Land Navigation
One thing you DO NOT want to be is the lost duck in the middle bush staring at the compass not knowing what the fuck to do. Now lucky be to me OR the fact that I took the time to approach the nearest Scout Sniper School Instructors to further develop my navigational skills I did quite well. So, here’s the “hack” – you better know what the fuck you’re doing. Although I had been a 03 for 7 years I humbled myself to the fact that someone might know more than me or be able to teach me further. I understood that finding some Red ammo can in a clearing wasn’t going to cut it. Now I knew many of the Instructors but, I put friendship aside, humbly asked them if they minded giving me their POI’s and if I performed their land nav courses in order to better set myself up for success. I put in the extra effort to ensure I knew what I was doing and had the confidence to navigate any task that may be thrown at me.
3. The Ability to Work Well with Others
Now, this is not the ability to build a tent, dig a fighting hole or figure out who gets no fire watch. This is the inherent ability to work effectively with others under extreme duress. Little to no sleep, minimal caloric intake, insurmountable amounts of stress imposed upon the body and mind, and multiple individual personalities attempting to accomplish an unknown or nearly impossible task at hand. Me, I had nearly 7 years in the Marine Corps. holding multiple billets, and ample amounts of worldly endeavors from a multitude of countries, human demographics, intellect, and vast amounts of individualistic perspectives from across the globe. Now, how do we accomplish this objective if you are not privy to such diversity? Simple in my mind, have an open mind. Be open to the fact that there may be more than one way to accomplish a task, and it may be better than your thought process. Understand the fact that you are there to ultimately become selected and become part of a SOF team but at this point, you are in it for yourself to succeed as well as your ability to prevail as a team. These tasks can seem convoluted at times but in reality, the two are one of the same at the root. You need to search and find within yourself the ability to be the “best” member of the team and at the same point be a contributing factor to your team’s success as a whole. Developing and harnessing this mindset will lead to a continuous improvement in your abilities and are the key to the continuous development of your team.
End state. There is no “hack” no “key to success”. The key is you need to straight up put in the work. You need to be a well-rounded team player, who brings an immense amount of knowledge, openness, and perspective to the table. You need to be savvy as shit and tough as nails. Be willing to give your utmost at any given moment and the ability to navigate not only physical, and mental but human terrain and be the best man in the room.