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Building Resilience And Self-Confidence: The Military Perspective.

The Short Advice Army Man Flag

About This Article…

This week we’ve been lucky enough to interview active military personnel to quiz them on resilience and self-confidence. We’ve gained a good insight into some of the practices used in the military designed to build resilience and confidence, and how it applies to everyday people too. So, lets start by looking at how resilience and self-confidence is valued in the military.

What does the military know about resilience and confidence that we don’t?

Resilience and confidence are two of the strongest fundamentals of a well-rounded capable person. They feed and strengthen each other when either is high, but can also negatively affect other aspects of your life when either is low. The effort of building, maintaining and exuding both resilience and confidence is therefore necessary to success. Without confidence, would you have the guts to approach your future husband/wife at a bar? And what if you did have the confidence to speak and are promptly rejected? Would you be resilient enough to speak to another potential date?

A Brief History of Resilience and Confidence in Militaries.

Militaries have understood the importance of resilience and confidence for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. For all of recorded history, civilisations have depended on their armies to either protect them from hostile civilisations or to further their interests by invading others. The Romans would not have been the powerhouse they once were and held influence over the known world without a strong, resilient and confident army. All those that faced battle did so with resilience to brace them against their fears and marched with the understanding and confidence that they and their colleagues had the skills to defeat their enemies. So, what did The Roman armies, and every other successful military, do in common to ensure their people had the resilience and confidence required to make important decisions, do difficult things and risk their lives to win victory for their family, friends and fellow countrymen?

All Armies Share Three Basic Techniques to Toughen Their Soldiers into Confident, Resilient War-Fighters:

1. Rigorous Physical Training.

Have you ever worked out to the point where you feel like you’re going to be sick or pass out? It’s a feeling that most of us can relate to, we’ve worked particularly hard that day and now we’re ready for a rest. Most modern militaries utilise Physical Training (PT) to push their personnel past their previous levels of strength and endurance not only to improve them physically, but also to improve them mentally. Mental toughness is significantly more valuable to a soldier and the military than physical toughness. Interestingly, rigorous PT that stretches you beyond what you thought was your capacity pushes more mental boundaries than anything else. You can almost always work harder than you think you can. So get working. This will make difficult things seem easier and therefore make you more resilient against hard work and leave you confident in your abilities. Checkout these bootcamp programs to start pushing your limits today.

“Why do I have to carry these jerry cans for five kilometres?” “Because, I said so!”

2. Military Exercises and Tasks.

Practicing the rigours of being on a military campaign – going out into the field, camping, eating rations and enduring harsh climates – is exhausting. It is here that you can build a real confidence in your ability to withstand the harsh realities of warfare. Obviously, not everyone will partake in military exercises within their lifetime, but essentially the underlying message here is, learn to live outside of your comfort zone. All of us inadvertently seek the ‘easy way’, the path of least resistance, but more often than not, that is not the path that is actually most beneficial to us.
Get out of your comfort zone, try something you find difficult and relish the challenge. If you fail, take a different approach and try again. This will help you to build resilience and prove that life’s challenges are often the biggest rewards.

“Why are you so upset? There was only a little bit of dust!” “How can I expect you to protect your team mates if you can’t even be trusted to dust your room properly?”

3. Mandatory Shared Accommodation.

Who likes privacy? Everyone. The hot tip: there is very little to no privacy in initial military training. For many new recruits, living amongst a bunch of other new recruits means being ripped away from family, friends, comfort zones and essentially, all previous support networks and being placed into what can seem like a hostile environment. It is uncomfortable, stressful and frustrating, which is entirely the point. Learning to self-manage and problem solve by yourself, as well as with others, is an important skill. Military training teaches this through simply separating you from how you’ve always problem solved or managed your life. By suddenly altering your lifestyle, you are put in a sink or swim situation that requires your immediate attention.

“How am I supposed to get to sleep when my bunk-mate snores?” “Figure it out.”

B.L.U.F (Bottom Line Up Front)

(Yes, that was some military lingo that we picked up along the way). The point of all this stress and frustration is designed to build resilience. So many of the ‘pointless tasks’ required of soldiers in training are not pointless at all. They build resilience, cohesion amongst the team and give the instructors confidence that their soldiers can operate as required, when required, as opposed to when the soldiers feel like it. Bottom line, push yourself to solve problems in ways you wouldn’t normally. Put yourself in difficult (albeit safe) situations and test yourself. Avoid using the support networks you normally use and test your abilities when under stress. And the best part is that all of this can take place in everyday life too, outside of the military.

As always thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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The 5 Step Best-Approach To Get Fit And Stay Fit

The Short Advice Get Fit

About the Author

Hayden Moloney is the owner of Fit & Firing, and a published author on Amazon with his title ‘A Bootcamp Program A Week‘. He has worked in the fitness industry in Melbourne, Australia for nearly 10 years and specialises in corporate health and wellness. In other words, he helps everyday people get fit and lead healthier, happier lifestyles. Hayden not only aims to help his clients get fit, but also to stay fit. Sustainable exercise and nutrition is a key area of focus for Fit & Firing, and such is the tone of this guest post! Without further adieu, we present…

The 5 Steps to Get Fit and Stay Fit

This article will highlight some things you probably already know, but need to read again, to remind yourself just how much this ‘get fit’ situation is within your control. I’ve trained people with permanent disabilities, from different backgrounds, and with minimal to no exercise experience. The people who really wanted it, were able to get fit and have stayed fit as a result. Regardless of your experience or condition, there is always something you can do. Don’t excuse yourself because it’s more difficult for you than it is for others. You may need to seek medical advice first, or work harder than the next person, but it is possible for everyone to get fit and stay fit. 

1. Start.

The first step to get fit, is to just get started. If you are someone who doesn’t have much experience exercising, it might be a good idea to seek the advice of a trainer, an experienced friend, or even join an exercise group. Perhaps you’d prefer to have a go on your own? There are plenty of resources for that too. The main idea that I’m trying to get across here is that it doesn’t particularly matter what you do to get started. Just get started. Stop putting it off and waiting for the right opportunity to exercise. It’s already there, all you need to do is go out and find it. Not tomorrow, but today.

2. Ignore the Fads.  

Being healthy is not a fad. It needs to be the lifestyle that you choose if your fitness is going to be sustainable. There will be a new superfood pushed to the masses every year, or a new celebrity diet, or mode of exercise. Don’t get caught up in the hype, and try to remember why you began this health and fitness journey in the first place. I’m sure it wasn’t just for the juicy hashtags. Hopefully it was to improve your quality of life and make you a happier, healthier and more valuable person for the people that you love. Your justification will be a major source of motivation for you, which brings us to point three…

3. Set Goals.

In most step-by-step processes you might find this point at the top of the list. But you don’t always need a goal to get started. You do, however, need a goal to keep going. So, in the context of this article, why do you want to get fit? Your answer to this question needs to be the motivating factor that will help you stay fit, once the getting has been gotten. You might have more than one fitness goal to keep you motivated. For example, a long-term life goal (abstract) might be to exercise with your kids, and grandkids one day. A more immediate and specific goal might be to run sub five-minute kilometres by Christmas. If you want to understand goal-setting best practice, just read up on The Short Advice’s SMART goals article here

4. Find an Activity You Enjoy.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this point. Some of the best experiences you can have in life are those you create by undertaking physical activities. There are lessons to be learnt, and much fun to be had. So, find something that makes you happy, and motivates you to get fit. The social side of team sport/group exercise can be a great way to challenge and unite people. Often, there are many metaphors to life that will help your personal growth and development at the same time. Finding something you can do individually is also a great idea. Don’t rely solely on others for motivation, find something you can do whenever you choose. Such is the internal happiness strategy.

5. Embrace the Trial and Error Process

There are two ideas here. The first, is that what works for someone else may not work for you. There will always be contradicting, scientifically-proven studies selling you on the latest best-practice… ‘Eating your own hair increases metabolism’, or ‘backflips proven to reduce risk of cancer’. I made these headlines up, but I haven’t put them into Google Search yet, so who knows… Don’t believe everything you read, but don’t be closed off to new information either. Find what works for you in terms of nutrition and exercise, this is idea number two. Don’t be afraid to change it up now and then to improve and refine the process. If you’re always open to learning, you will allow yourself the best chance to get fit, and stay fit. 

Final Note…

Thanks for tuning in to our guest post today! For more information on nutrition you can view Fit & Firing’s ‘Don’t Diet’ article here. As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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What Does Valentines Day Mean in 2019?

The Short Advice and his Valentine on Valentines Day 2018

For many of us, love has become a need that is as readily met as our primary needs of food, water and shelter.

And so, we do often take love for granted. Thats why Valentines Day serves as a great opportunity to celebrate love, and to express your gratitude to your significant other for their affection and support. However, some people would prefer to ignore this special day…

Because commerce ruins everything.

Well, not really, but it is an interesting perspective. The commercialisation of significant dates in our calendars brings out the inner cynic that lives in the shallows of us all. And fair enough too. So, should you completely can Valentines Day? We say no. And here’s why…

Celebrate your love, AND slap the man.

Kill two birds with one stone on Valentines Day 2018! Take a moment to do something nice for your loved one. Focus on the parts of your relationship that are special and unique. Express your love and devotion, but make it personal. Write your own love letter, rather than have Hallmark Cards do it for you! Besides, wouldn’t that be a far greater gift for your much-deserving counterpart? We definitely think so. But what else can we do on Valentines Day to slap the sales and marketing team at every department store that’s selling love heart chocolates?

Some things to do for free on Valentines Day 2018 include…

Picnicking (if weather permits), home-cooked candle-lit dinners (because where is the effort in paying for a meal?), hand-written love notes (OMG beb I love you, 4 real), making and presenting a photo album, or simply reminiscing on all of the reasons you have to be grateful for one another. So, don’t get duped by the sales team this V-Day, and the common misconception that you should express your love by overdrawing your account. If you can implement the ‘Celebrate and Slap’ protocol this Valentines Day, you’re bound to have a more fulfilling experience. Perhaps you could also invite a few of your single friends around for dinner too? Wouldn’t that be a selfless and inclusive act to show your people that your plutonic love knows no bounds? Absolutely it would.

Maybe you are that single friend that doesn’t have a Valentine this year?

For too many people, this is perceived as being an absolute disaster. “Nobody loves me, I am disgusting and repulsive, I’ll never find the one, I am destined to die alone and miserable…”. Hmmm. It’s no secret that having love and happiness thrown in your face when you’re feeling a bit vulnerable can certainly highlight one’s insecurities. But it is important to remember that we’re all insecure, and feelings of negativity are perfectly normal too. It is how we respond to these emotions and insecurities that will define the course of our future happiness. So don’t dwell on your shortcomings, remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for. Today is not the day to let your fearful-self take you on a rollercoaster ride of swiping right and sending bulk messages to every person you’ve ever been romantically involved with. You CAN be stronger than that.

“But if I don’t find someone now, I’ll be lonely forever!”.

Being happy alone is an art. It’s okay to want to be in a relationship, but if you allow it to dictate your every move, you’ll forget about what makes you special, and so will everyone else. It takes strength and determination to focus on our own personal development, but when we do, when we truly commit ourselves to the idea, our happiness can soar. Our goals become far more realistic, our passion is noticeable to others, and, ultimately, we become more attractive in the eyes of potential love interests. But perhaps that is now a secondary concern for you, and reaching other life goals has now become equally as important…

In the coming weeks…

We will be discussing the art of being happy alone in greater length, so be sure to subscribe to post updates so that you too can become a desirable candidate for Valentines Day celebrations in 2019 😉 (if thats what you want, of course). As always, thank-you for reading, and we’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.