A few years ago, I read two books about missions that were carried out in Iraq during the Gulf war.
These books were Bravo Two Zero by Andy Mcnab and The One That Got Away by Chris Ryan – both former SAS service men.
Now I can’t remember which book it was in (it may have been in both), but the way they got out of the helicopter really fascinated me.
When soldiers discharge from a helicopter to start a mission, I expected high adrenaline, fast movements and guns blazing!
This is not how it works! They take a much calmer, logical approach, something they call “laying up.”
On immediately exiting the helicopter, soldiers disperse to a defensive position in a calm and controlled manner.
The soldiers, in this case, dispersed from the helicopter, lay on their stomachs and waited for it to fly away, allowing all the dust to settle.
When everything settled, they remained; listening, watching, keeping calm and adjusting to their environment.
They wait for quietness to tune into their surroundings and accustom their senses.
When they are confident that the enemy have not detected them, and they gain their bearings, they calmly stand up and move ahead with their mission.
I don’t know why, but it made me think about how my mind, and maybe how your mind, works…
Just think about how busy and overwhelmed your mind can get with the stresses, strains and worries of life.
Now think about the noise of the helicopter, the chopping of the blades, the groan of the engine, the sand blowing in your eyes, ears and mouth. On top of that you have your team to think about, the mission, the strategies and any subconscious fears of abandoning your family!
Soldiers are trained to deal with these stresses, and they know to wait for the chopper to fly away and for the dust to settle before they move.
So as we move throughout our lives, why don’t we learn from soldiers?
Stop to pause, allow the chopper to fly away and let the dust settle.
Instead of rushing around each morning, if we allow our minds to settle, surely we would be able to deal with the stresses of life just a little easier.
This can work throughout the day too. By making a small effort to pause and allow the dust to settle, we can move on with calmness and confidence.
The same goes for dealing with people. When communicating with friends, family or colleagues, it’s not the best strategy to bark orders over the chaos of roaring rotors, swirling sand and whipping wind.
Things can come out wrong or get heard wrong and then it’s a failed mission!
Like the soldier, move away from the chopper (person), allow the noise to subside and the dust to settle; calm yourself, tune yourself to the true reality of the situation, check your co-ordinates (your internal GPS) and move forward with a calm, clear head.
Let the chopper fly away and allow the dust to settle!
Over and Out, Gareth.