July 16, 2023 | Issue #77
"Engage your brain before you engage your weapon."
-From: Jim Mattis
Jim Mattis, also known as "Mad Dog" Mattis is one of the most fascinating people to read about in my opinion. His interviews are captivating and you can tell he is someone who speaks carefully. This quote comes from a speech addressed to the U.S. Marines right before the invasion of Iraq. It is a short, concise, and powerful message meant to inspire and motivate troops who are about to go to war.
"Engage your brain before you engage your weapon" is a piece of advice that Mattis got from decades of experience in the military. If I had to take a guess, Mattis probably learned through experience that, weapons and violence usually aren't the best answers on the battlefield.
In 2019, when talking to a group of 90-somethings Lydia Sohn asked if they had any regrets looking back at their lives. One of the answers was:
"They regretted not being better listeners; they wish they had been more empathetic and considerate."
In our lives, we tend to engage our weapon first—negative emotions. Judgment, frustration, self-doubt, and fear are weapons that were useful for our early ancestors because they kept them alive. To modern humans, these weapons are useless and negatively harm us.
We must pause and engage our brain i.e., take a deep breath, take perspective on a situation, and look at the bigger picture.
When we engage our brain before our weapons we tend to be better listeners, more empathetic, more considerate, more compassionate, and more hopeful. As a result, we will look back and not have the same regret as the 90-somethings Lydia Sohn talked to.
What negative emotion do you struggle with the most?
ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER
The 1-Step Forward Newsletter is a weekly Sunday newsletter.
Each issue contains 1 Quote, 1 Reflection, and 1 Question each meant to guide you on the next step forward in your life towards improvement.
July 23 (newer)
"We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that one way or another." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
July 09 (older)
"But my later experience has taught me two lessons: first, that things are seen plainer after the events have occurred; second, that the most confident critics are generally those who know the least about the matter criticised." -Ulysses S. Grant