Tag Archives: Mindset & Personal Development

The Nature of Learning According to US Marines

In two recent episodes of Jocko Podcast, Jocko and Co. discussed MCDP 7 – a new Marine Corps publication describing the learning philosophy of Marines. While the MCDP 7 document is written for Marines, it is packed full of powerful, easily applicable lessons. Whether your a student, athlete, musician, academic, business professional – you name it – you can learn something from MCDP 7.

Jocko Podcast 227 w/ Dave Berke: Learning for Ultimate Winning. New, MCDP 7 Learning.

The Jocko podcast episodes do a fantastic job of unpacking MCDP 7 in detail and translating it for use outside of the arena of war, albeit over two long episodes. While we strongly recommend taking the time to listen to them and read the full MCDP 7 publication, we want to emphasize the importance of the first chapter, The Nature of Learning. There are easily 15-20 lessons in this chapter alone, but we created a condensed list of our five favourite takeaways that can (and should) be utilized by everyone right away.

Jocko Podcast 228 w Dave Berke. Put Pressure on Your Mind. Be Your General. Be Your Soldiers MCDP 7

1. There is more to learning than reciting information.

Learning involves mental, physical, social, emotional, and other factors that are learned in both formal and informal settings. The learning process is divided into training and education; Training is the learning-by-doing component, while education involves studying and intellectual development. Both elements are critical to learning success.

2. Gain the “intellectual edge.”

Combining knowledge and experience will improve problem-solving, mental imaging, and other cognitive competencies that enable faster and more effective decision-making – even under time constraints or when exposed to imperfect information. 

3. Enhance your memory.

Technology is a valuable tool to master, but it isn’t failproof. Relying solely on technology can backfire when time is of the essence, or when the technology malfunctions. The mind must be able to recall the necessary knowledge instinctively in high-pressure scenarios, which requires consistent practice.

4. Learning is hard. Don’t make it harder.

The learning process can be a difficult one, and a lack of self-awareness, humility and time management will only make things worse. To be a better learner, one must better understand themselves.

5. Learn vicariously.

Learning by doing is required, but don’t underestimate the importance of learning through others by reading or otherwise studying their experiences.

These takeaways are just the tip of the iceberg, so be sure to read the full MCDP-7 publication (download link below) and listen to both Jocko Podcast episodes (embedded above).

Looking for more Jocko wisdom? Check out his podcast episodes or books—all of them.

Free Your Mind.

-CL

Thinking About Aliens

Should we think about aliens?  

Note: this lockdown has really spurred some ‘out there’ thinking, for better or worse.  

So yes, aliens.  

Last night’s episode of Joe Rogan featured Tim Pool, and part of the conversation was around aliens. Some intriguing ideas were being discussed that conjure up a mix of laughter, doubt, and bewilderment. Whether you believe in aliens or not, there is no hard, undisputed evidence to prove either way. The fact is, we may never actually know the answer. Given this, is there even a point to thinking about aliens?

Well, maybe. 

While our brains may not be able to completely grasp the concept of extraterrestrial life, thinking about such complex topics might still be a good exercise. Even if we disregard the question of other life outside earth, there are still other planets, stars, galaxies, etc. to consider. Taking time to sit and think about this can be a humbling exercise in perspective.  

There is a whole lot more going on out there than just us. Reflecting on such unfathomable topics like aliens and space can really make one feel foolish when thinking about all the petty and insignificant things we dwell on every day. Also, thinking about problems with so many unknown variables can be an excellent exercise in critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.   

“I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.” 

Arthur C. Clarke

So if you ever need a fresh dose of perspective, or just need to jump-start your mind, go ahead and think about aliens. No judgement.

At the very least, it will help pass the time during a global lockdown.  

Stay Safe and Free Your Mind.

-CL

Channeling Athena (CLMonthly-001)

The battle within our mind is a continuous and unrelenting conflict that must be won every day.  Without winning this fight, one cannot expect victory in any other aspect of life.  Even the most formidable and technically gifted individual cannot devise a winning strategy in business, politics, sports, or any other environment if they cannot master themselves.  Emotions and impulses bend our perception of reality and cripple our rationality, which severely hinders the mind’s strategic capability. The more we let emotions dictate our actions, the more vulnerable we are to defeat.  Great strategists throughout history have understood this and have been able to use it to their advantage. 

Strategists take a pragmatic approach to conflict, and their mastery of mind and emotion allows them to accomplish their objectives in even the most hostile situations.  Even in the face of insults and aggression, the strategist will parry these attacks and maintain composure.  Rather than engage in the hostility, they will seek to interrupt the attacks through delay, obstruction, and misdirection.  Letting the other side waste precious time, energy, and resources on emotionally driven tactics will eventually tire, frustrate, or demoralize them – causing them to unveil a weak point in their strategy.  Time is a great advantage in conflict, but one that can only be utilized through a rational and disciplined strategist.  

In his book, The 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene makes a fitting comparison between two key figures in Greek mythology: Ares and Athena.  Ares, the god of war, was a quick-tempered and ruthless warrior known for his lust for violence and brutality.  He was hated among humans (except Spartans) and gods alike and considered untrustworthy due to his reckless and wasteful approach to war.  Athena, on the other hand, was known as the goddess of wisdom and war (among other things).  She represented the intellectual and philosophical side of war that Ares failed to master.  While Athena was a powerful force on the battlefield, it was her craftiness and rationality that helped her defeat aggressive and impulsive enemies.  There are countless stories throughout Greek mythology of Ares suffering defeat, but Athena never lost a battle.  With this in mind it is clear that the superior general is Athena, so why then do so many follow the Ares approach to conflict?

Channeling Ares comes naturally to us.  Ares lies within our animal brain that reacts to our environment at a faster speed than our rational, “Athena” brain can.  It takes time, discipline, and determination to tame our impulses and emotions.  Unfortunately, most people are unwilling to make this sacrifice and instead choose to repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot by giving in to anger, greed, pride, or any other emotion.  We see this in sports when a player takes an undisciplined penalty that costs their team the game; in financial markets where investors recklessly buy overpriced assets that blow up their portfolio; and in marriages where spouses hurl insults at each other that turn a small disagreement into a relationship-killing fight.  We have all been in situations where we have given into to our primal instincts and ultimately cost ourselves a chance at achieving our long-term goals. 

In the end, brutes may win battles but strategists win wars.  

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”

African Proverb

Free Your Mind.

-CL