Saturday, March 29, 2008

Smart, Strong, Determined or Disciplined?

Smart, Strong, Determined or Disciplined?

Through my experience, I have learned that everyone hits walls. The walls I am talking about are mental barriers that people have. They subconsciously think that they cannot do something and their bodies start to react accordingly. No, I don’t have a bunch of academics telling me this, this is from my experience.

Sometimes it is fear, or lack of training or just preconceived notions, but the body physically reacts to a subconscious wall. Running is a good example. I have been training for 3 miles for 15 years now. In trying to learn to run 10, my body starts hurting at about 5. The knees start hurting, shins start tightening up, back starts cramping. It tries to tell me that I just haven’t trained to go that far, so I “can’t.” I must get beyond that wall.

In the case of fear, for me, it is crowds. Now this one is not training, although I have never been trained to go into crowds, but life-experience fear. Ever since I have deployed, crowds have bothered me. My senses start going into over-drive and my mind yells “RUN!!!” almost so loud that I think those with me can hear it. Of course I can just relax and stay right there in the middle of the crowd and just blend in like everyone else, but my mind tells me I “can’t.” I must get beyond that wall.

In the case of preconceived notions, I could never be a millionaire and tithe $100,000.00 in one month. I just don’t see that happening. Why not? If someone else can do it, why not me? That is just a subconscious wall that my mind tells me you “can’t.” I must get beyond that wall.

As I was running the morning, I was thinking about the walls I was hitting. Oddly enough, I have one at 1.2 miles, 2.8 miles, 3.5 miles, and about every half mile thereafter. My everything, just starts noticeably hurting, almost as if my body is telling me, “stop, I’m done running.” I always thought about why or how I get beyond those walls, and just pictured myself busting through them.

Well, this morning, I wondered about the walls we can’t bust through. My mind pictured a wall that was as thick as it was tall, and endless to the right and left. Then I thought, over, or under.

Now if you are going to bust through a wall, you must be strong. Of course this made me feel good because this is always the picture I had in my mind as I hit the walls. A few seconds later I started considering the mileage I had been putting on my knees and started thinking about “over.”

The smart just go over the wall. This was not a heartening thought as I was too stupid until now to think of this… better late than never I guess. So who goes under?

It takes some serious determination to dig under a thick subconscious wall. It must be the determined that dig under. Those scientists that sent men to the moon must have had this type of enduring determination to just keep digging under the wall.

Alright, am I smart enough to get over the wall or determined enough to dig under it? My mind drifted around to walls I had been over or had to dig under and my answer hit me: boot camp... Discipline. The difference between those with discipline and those with gifts is their abilities to adapt.

Before I go further, I have to address you divergent thinkers who ask, “Why get beyond that wall? Just sit down and enjoy the view!” Valid question, but these walls are those that prevent growth; and the living, grow. When you stop growing you die. I must grow and I must get beyond that wall. Sitting down and enjoying the view is not an option for me.

That said, the disciplined will train themselves to get smarter, stronger or more determination. They will condition themselves to accept only success.

The Marine Corps defines discipline as “instant, willing obedience to orders.” So who is there giving you orders when you are on that run and hit the 5 mile mark? Who makes you go that 6th or 7th or 8th mile? Self. Self discipline is what is developed through habitually facing the unpleasant crowd situation and facing it successfully.

Obey your own orders! Set yourself a goal and discipline yourself to stretch beyond your walls.

Semper Fi!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Iran's food problem

Wow! Ok, this is some nasty stuff. I wonder how long until the U.S. gets blamed for this one....

Wheat Killer Detected In Iran: Dangerous Fungus On The Move From EastAfrica To The Middle East

ScienceDaily (Mar. 17, 2008) - A new and virulent wheat fungus, previously found in East Africa and Yemen, has moved to major wheat growing areas in Iran, reports the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization. The fungus is capable of wreaking havoc to wheat production by destroying entire fields.

Countries east of Iran, like Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, all major wheat producers, are most threatened by the fungus and should be on high alert, FAO said.

It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of all wheat varieties planted in Asia and Africa are susceptible to the wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis). The spores of wheat rust are mostly carried by wind over long distances and across continents.

"The detection of the wheat rust fungus in Iran is very worrisome," said Shivaji Pandey, Director of FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division.

"The fungus is spreading rapidly and could seriously lower wheat production in countries at direct risk. Affected countries and the international community have to ensure that the spread of the disease gets under control in order to reduce the risk to countries that are already hit by high food prices."

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has informed FAO that the fungus has been detected in some localities in Broujerd and Hamedan in western Iran. Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of the fungus. Iran said it will enhance its research capacity to face the new infection and develop new wheat varieties resistant to the disease.

Ug99: The wheat fungus first emerged in Uganda in 1999 and is therefore called Ug99. The wind-borne transboundary pest subsequently spread to Kenya and Ethiopia. In 2007, an FAO mission confirmed for the first time that Ug99 has affected wheat fields in Yemen. The Ug99 strain found in Yemen was already more virulent than the one found in East Africa.

Ethiopia and Kenya had serious wheat rust epidemics in 2007 with considerable yield losses.

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI), established to combat wheat rusts around the world, will support countries in developing resistant varieties, producing their clean quality seeds, upgrading national plant protection and plant breeding services and developing contingency plans. The BGRI was founded by Norman Borlaug (known as "the father of the Green Revolution"), Cornell University, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry areas (ICARDA), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and FAO.

Disease surveillance and wheat breeding is already underway to monitor the fungus and to develop Ug99 resistant varieties. However, more efforts are required to develop long term durable resistant varieties that can be made available to farmers in affected countries and countries at risk. FAO urged countries to increase disease surveillance and intensify efforts to control the disease. /releases/2008/03/080317091046.htm


All is well on this side.

Tonight I will be camping out on the Ellipse lawn, waiting in line to get tickets for the Presidential Egg Roll. Hopefully the kids will enjoy it.

Thesis writing is going slow, but going. Sticking to the one page or so a day and trying to balance the other four classes in there is a significant challenge. Anyone who tells you taking a Masters program in one year is simple, is crazy.

Colleen and the kids are all doing great. We are looking for a house to buy down in the Jacksonville, NC area for when we move. The kids are excited about being part of the process, but I don't think they quite get it yet. Every house we look at is "the one" to them.

Alright, more to follow!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Rules:

...For those of you who don't know the rules, or have forgotten them over time....

Marine Corps Rules:
1. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
2. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough.
3. Have a plan.
4. Have a back-up plan, because the first one probably won't work.
5. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
6. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber does not start with a '4.'
7. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
8. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral; diagonal preferred.)
9. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.
10. Flank your adversary when possible.  Protect yours.
11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
12. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
13. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating your intention to shoot and moving to a more advantagous position.

Navy SEALs Rules:
1. Look very cool in sunglasses.
2. Kill every living thing within view.
3. Adjust speedo.
4. Check hair in mirror.

US Army Rangers Rules:
1. Walk in 50 miles wearing 75 pound rucksack while starving.
2. Locate individuals requiring killing.
3. Request permission via radio from 'Higher' to perform killing.
4. Curse bitterly when mission is aborted.
5. Walk out 50 miles wearing a 75 pound rucksack while starving.

US Army Rules:
1. Curse bitterly when receiving operational order.
2. Make sure there is extra ammo and extra coffee.
3. Curse bitterly.
4. Curse bitterly.
5. Do not listen to 2nd LTs; it can get you killed.
6. Curse bitterly.

US Air Force Rules:
1. Have a cocktail.
2. Adjust temperature on air-conditioner.
3. See what's on HBO.
4. Ask 'What is a gunfight?'
5. Request more funding from Congress with a 'killer' Power Point presentation.
6. Wine & dine ''key" Congressmen, invite DOD & defense industry executives.
7. Receive funding, set up new command and assemble assets near golf course.
8. Declare the assets 'strategic' and never deploy them operationally.
9. Hurry to make 13:45 tee-time.
10. Make sure the base is as far as possible from the conflict but close enough to have tax exemption.

US Navy Rules:
1. Go to Sea.
2. Drink Coffee.
3. Deploy Marines