Tag Archives: 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

Feeling Overwhelmed? Read This.

This past Tuesday, Rebecca Zucker, executive coach and founder of Next Step Partners, posted a fascinating piece on Forbes titled 5 Ways To Innovate Your Way Out Of Overwhelm. The article draws on a conversation she had with Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg about how to apply innovation principles to combat the feeling of being overwhelmed. The piece highlights five important principles from Wedell-Wedellsborg’s latest book, What’s Your Problem: To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve, including:

  1. Rethink the goal
  2. Look for bright spots
  3. Assess the real risk
  4. Experiment
  5. Look in the mirror

Each is quite insightful, but one that particularly stands out is #4, experiment. Trying new things, routines, and approaches can help discover better and more efficient ways of doing things that can help ease the sense of being overwhelmed. It can also be said that experimentation can add some excitement and perspective to a situation, which can lead to a much-needed momentum change for the better.

If you are interested in learning more about these principles to see how you can apply them to your life, check out Zucker’s full piece on Forbes or picking up a copy of Wedell-Wedellsborg’s book.

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