#816 Not EVERY itch needs to be scratched
From 1978 to 1982 I was a member of the presidential honor guard. I served two presidents; Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan. I learned an awful lot from my time in the service. Most of the lessons seem obvious in hindsight; inevitable really. The military has tried and true methods to reign in unruly boy-men in need of discipline but what I want to talk about today is a more esoteric lesson.
In the guard we had to stand for very long periods of time, unflinching, with eyes forward and bodies rigid. Moving anything when under orders to stand still would mean significant punishment or even dismissal from that elite unit so we didn’t move.
I learned then and still understand today that not every itch needs to be scratched. Of course then I learned it and meant it literally, but now it’s a philosophy and I mean it metaphorically. Back when I was standing at attention on the white house steps welcoming the hostages back from Iran, I could have had poison ivy with bug bites on top of it and I wouldn’t have dared to move; wouldn’t dare scratch that itch.
Life is different now but the discipline is still the same. Sometimes people say things I don’t particularly like and I choose not to scratch that particular itch. Sometimes a family member isn’t as gracious as I might prefer them to be. It itches for sure, but I choose to ignore it. Maybe something of mine is left out of place or my friend forgot to ask about something happening in my life. If that itch became habitual I might have to scratch it but not every time, not incidentally.
You see what I learned back in the guard is that if I got an itch while standing ceremony I could think about it until it drove me mad or I could move my mind elsewhere. Not thinking too much about it takes the sting out of it a bit and if you constantly scratch every itch you’l find yourself dismissed or you'll wind up with open sores that never heal.
Own your sales gene…