In an effort to further encourage our professional development I am suggesting in the next 3 blog posts a few really great "tactical" books for all of us to read. Obviously we all know that physical training is important but equally so is mental preparation. Put down the gossip magazine or video controller and pick up a book. It is surprising how much extra time one has to read, whether it is while waiting at court (you may be able to finish a book there!), at the car wash, doctor's office, etc; I bet you have a few minutes to devote to sharpening your mind.
In the next few posts I am going to recommend a few commonly read and cited books among the tactical community. I am sure many of you have read them, so feel free to add your comments and wisdom. Also, if you have other books that you recommend, please post them along with a brief description. I would like to see some discussion going, the book with the most "likes" is the one we will read/discuss first. The Marine Corps does it which is good enough for me. Hoorah!
The best book I have read recently on living a super life that could also be applied to officer survival is The Survivor's Club:The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood. Rather then use police and military examples, the author looks at seemingly ordinary civilians that have been profoundly tested by life threatening events- such as plane crashs, lion attacks, life threatening illness, the Holocaust, and being in the Twin Towers, among others- and comes to the conclusion that rather then being broken by these events, they emerged as mush stronger and different people. Sherwood then goes on to study these survivors to see what traits make them so remarkable.
The author's thesis is that we will all go trough a similar event in our future and we need to cultivate certain traits so we will be ready when the time comes. The author comes up with 5 survivor types that exhibit a combination of 12 strenghts that brought them trough their ordeals.
Sherwood breaks down his research into a formula he calls the Resilience Prescription, which I'll list for you here so you can put in into action in case you don't have the time to read the book: 1. Practice Optimism. 2. Find a role model. 3.Develop a moral compass and unshakeable beliefs.4.Practice alturism.5. Learn to adapt your thinking to new situations.6.Face your fears and confront your negative emotions.7. Build active coping skills.8.Have a strong support network.9.Be physically fit and 10. Laugh!
In addition to the above, survivors have a knowledge that they will be tested. They know that luck is actually being in the right state of mind. They are able to turn their fear into anger and focus. When faces with a challenge, they observe and analyze a situation, devise their plan then act decisively. They kept going despite opposition and setbacks. They just didn't survive, they lived fully. To become a survivor literally meant to become a super liver.
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