Thanks to all you veterans out there. Your service is much appreciated!
1 September 2001
I know you are very nervous and full of self-doubt about going into the Army and the challenges ahead. You’re not crazy for feeling this way because it is quite natural. I have gone through all this myself. Facing your fears and seeing them melt away is a part of growing and maturing as a person.
All the fears and doubts you have are made more or less tolerable by your way of looking at these things. One way to put challenges into perspective is to really look at how likely things will turn out and what the consequences will be if they do. But before I go any further, I have no doubt of your ability to be successful in the Army if you apply yourself to your best ability and if you will do the things needed to be successful.
The best reason for not showing anxiety for a new situation is preparation. Some guys and gals have known they wanted to serve most of their lives. They have read about it, asked questions, and visualized themselves in uniform since they graduated from kindergarten. They are ready to ‘get going’!
I think your fears are the same mine were. I was afraid to fail. It takes courage to move toward a goal that seems elusive. If you go for something, everyone will know if you didn’t make it. If you don’t go for it, you never have to explain why you failed or be embarrassed by it. When your desire is great enough for you to take a chance, you have taken a good first step. But to keep from being worried all the time, you have to do something very important. It’s something Buddhists teach. You must detach yourself (your self-worth) from your goal. In other words, you must realize that with failure, you can move on, it wasn’t meant to be, and you can rebound and find your value elsewhere.
Don’t be confused. In simple words, have the attitude of “I will fight like hell to meet my goal, but if I fail, I will be satisfied I did all I could and be proud of that fact, then move on”. Strangely, a healthy attitude like this will almost assure your success given your diligence in doing everything that is in your control. Don’t place all your dreams for yourself through one path.
One more thing, when you start your journey, it will become easier because you are acting, not thinking about it. While there, help others and they will help you. You will feel like a team and less focus on yourself is always good. Remember, you can have an easy life or a fulfilling life, but you can’t have both.
I know you will succeed! I’m very proud of you!