Why is settling bad for you?
A brief summary of what the bullets are and how I came to write them.
I was trying to figure out why the navy was such a bad experience for me. I meditate and I think. And I came to these conclusions. They’re not difficult but they’re not given things that everyone is aware of. I wrote them down to understand my past. I also wrote them down to warn you about your future.
I joined the navy back in 2011. I failed my depth perception test at MEPS. I forget what that acronym stands for, forgive me. Because of my failure I was penalized three jobs, one job remained— Culinary Specialist, or CS for short, or cook for everyone else.
As I looked half-shaken at the rating or “job card,” I was told by my recruiter not to worry.
“Look, this is the way you’re gonna get your foot in the door. After two years, you can cross-rate. It’s that simple!”
Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple. Cross-rating is a huge undertaking and the navy doesn’t want to spend money to send you somewhere else for a new trade. They gave you a trade. They spent money on you.
So for four years I was forced to flip burgers in the galley (kitchen) and listen to the moans of sailors on the mess deck (cafeteria.)
Why didn’t I run, you’re thinking? It’s a good question and one that deserves an honest answer. I was afraid and gullible. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to get out of my hometown and I was gullible to the threats my recruiters threw at me, “A lot of rates are hard to get into.” “We can’t promise to get you a spot later.” “You’re under contract, you can’t leave now.” The last part is a blatant lie that a lot of recruiters tell their people in DEP. In fact, it states very clearly in the delayed entry program form that any individual can opt out up until their last day before arriving to bootcamp.
I felt I was stuck, so I went ahead and signed on as my rate, CS.
What happened for the next four years was nothing less than the most hellish and terrible reality I am ashamed to say exists. I worked for terrible people. I worked in a shitty environment and I dealt with racism and hate-crimes.
This list of bullets is my compilation of the things I learned and how to prevent those things from happening again.
**Note: In these bullets I talk about differences in jobs. This is general and up to the individual. I believe that every job is significant but not everyone is good at every job. As Albert Einstein famously said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree it will live it’s whole life believing it is stupid.”
If this is confusing to you, I recommend reading the book, “If You Want to be Rich and Happy don’t go to school” from the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad.
It’s a significant book that will change your thinking.
It should also be said that not everyone I worked for was a piece of crap. Likewise, not everyone I worked with was Mother Teresa.
* I worked for some of the worst people on the planet. These people probably wouldn’t be able to find their way out of a paper bag.
* Racism was very real.
* FSA’s (food service assistants) cried and complained all the time, “I didn’t join the navy for this! This is fucking retarded!”
* I get it. It sucks. But you’re only here for a little while. The ones that sucked it up, I couldn’t tell you how much respect I had. The ones that bitched and whined, I have more respect for a three-legged dog that sits around the house all day and licks it’s balls. And I remember every single person. Everyone.
* While I was talking to a friend of mine I had a revelation as to the situation: I originally didn’t join the Marines, not only because my dad didn’t want me to, but because I was afraid of it. I knew it would be hard, I knew that it would suck. I knew that there was the possibility of getting deployed to a very dangerous place and getting killed, or worse.
* But what I learned from talking to my friend was this: If you don’t do the hard things, you’ll never get what you want.
* If you do the easy things, you’ll get what you deserve.
* You see, navy bootcamp was easy. The idea of the navy compared to the Marines, was easy. It was an easier thing to do. But because I chose that “easiness” instead of the difficult thing, I had been placed in a hell like none I ever imagined existed.
* The worthiness of something, lies in the difficulty required to attain it.
* There’s a reason people look at the Marines with awe, because it’s a select few people who choose to join them.
* There’s a reason you see Marine stickers on vehicles 10x more than every other branch combined.
* It sucks, yes. It’s very difficult, yes. But it’s worth it.
* It’s worth it because it’s difficult and it’s difficult because it’s worth it.
* The harder the thing to attain, the more worthy it is. Becoming a Navy SEAL is a more worthy pursuit than becoming a Marine. Because it’s harder.
* And so on and so on.
* The navy was hell, worse than any nightmare I ever had or (hopefully) will ever have. Not because it was hard, but because it was a prison. The people I worked for were stupid, but worse, didn’t care that people thought they were shit. In fact, they reveled in the fact that they were shit.
* If I only did the hard things I wouldn’t have had a chip on my shoulder when I came home, and even though I may have been killed, I would have been killed in a better state than the state I was in the navy.
* I made this comment to a friend of mine on the boat, and he probably thought I was joking. I said, “I’d rather be killed with my pride than exist without my dignity.” And I meant that with all my heart. I still do.
* There are far worse hells out there than you can possibly imagine. And I swear to you, there are fates worse than death.
* Death, it’s over. Hell, you exist in a constant state of conscious suffering. Forever.
* They say that death is like the edge of a cliff looking out at a beautiful coastline. You can’t get the best picture until you’re standing right at the edge with the whole thing in view.
* I don’t want to live life existing without my dignity. And you know what causes that? Fear. Fear wants you to play it safe. Fear wants you to not take risks. Because it’s not as hard “right now.”
* What’s harder, waking up every morning for 40 years to work for a boss at a desk job? Or waking up whenever you feel like it and making big money or taking risks?
* There are much scarier things than taking risks. Taking risks is scary, yes, but that’s just because it’s hard. And why are they hard? Because they’re worth it. Actual fear, the things that terrify you, (like waking up at 5AM to work at Dollar General) exist in the things that are easy and not difficult to attain. Yes, they’re easy in the “general” sense. But to a person who is trying to grow, it’s absolute suffocation— the worst thing that could inconceivably ever happen to you— life in hell.
* Hard things aren’t hard forever. But easy things are. Because you have to live with them.
* The illusion is that fear exists on the opposite end of what scares you. It doesn’t. Life does.
* Fear exists on the opposite end of things that don’t scare you (at first.) But what lies at the end of them? Monotony, boredom, non-fulfillment.
* You want to be a cashier at Wal•Mart or a police detective? One of them’s easy, yes. But not anywhere fulfilling as the other.
* Imagine being the only person in a room that understood the significance of not having a winning lottery ticket. I was surrounded by people who prided themselves on having the losing lottery tickets.
* Imagine being a genius, but you’re forced to live with morons. Those morons only know that they are morons and they get along with each other just fine because of this. Now, to the morons, there’s nothing wrong with them, there’s something wrong with the genius. He talks weird, he reads books, he doesn’t always talk about sports or player’s stats.
* They can’t outcast him because he’s forced to be there, so they treat him badly, call him names, make him feel like shit. Worst of all, they make him question his own intelligence: “Am I really as stupid as these people say I am? Why do these people not accept me? There must be something wrong with me.”
* All the while, there’s nothing wrong with this person, he’s just forced to be in the wrong place with the wrong people.
* But the only reason he’s there, is because he doesn’t accept his genius and work to get to a place that’s worthy of his gifts and talents.
* It’s easy to be with the morons because he doesn’t have to work hard to get anywhere better. But if he never pushes his limits, if he never tries to strengthen his abilities, he’ll never reach his full potential and instead be forced to live with the morons, forever.
* If you want to live life, walk towards death, and the things that scare you will lead you where you want to go.
* If you want to live in hell, do the easy things that keep you where you are.
* The mind needs to grow and flourish. Humans were designed to evolve. It’s in our DNA. And I would say, to deny that, is to deny paradise.
So what am I saying? To go be a Marine? Not unless that’s where you feel pulled. Find your gift. Pretend it’s a kite. The harder you run the higher it flies.
On a personal side note, another lesson I learned was to not put your life into other people’s hands. That’s how I wound up where I did and why I’m a realist. Optimism is great, just make sure you do your homework first.