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The hardest victory is over self

315th Airlift Wing Command Chief Commantary:  Self Mastery.  "The hardest victory is over self," Aristotle.  (U.S. Air Force illustration by Michael Dukes)

315th Airlift Wing Command Chief Commantary: Self Mastery. "The hardest victory is over self," Aristotle. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Michael Dukes)

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- "The hardest victory is over self" - Aristotle

How many times have you procrastinated over an issue because you "just didn't feel like it," didn't complete career development timely, or maintain or attain fitness? I'm sure we've all done some of these things at some point in time. Now ask yourself, of those times in which you fell short, did you end up with a negative result for yourself or your customer, i.e. supervisor, peer, spouse, child, friend?

We all value our time, but do we always use it wisely? How often do we end up going down rabbit holes on the internet that have zero to do with a subject we're researching, or getting caught up in a conversation in the hallway or flight line when we could be finishing a project? These are not bad things, but they are examples of how we don't effectively use our time. We look around and the week is gone or the weekend is gone and we haven't accomplished the goals we set for ourselves. The task list continues to grow and we begin prioritizing things from the week before that wouldn't be on the list if we had completed them as scheduled.

When it comes to professional development, be it career field specific, professional military education, or civilian education, do we get out of our own way? One of the things I stress to my newcomers and when the command chiefs would brief at Airman Leadership School was "don't be your own hold-up." The point I was stressing is that fantastic opportunities don't come along every day, and if you're not ready for them, they will pass you by. If you haven't done the work, the person next to you or behind you will pass you by and you can't blame anyone else except yourself.

Thinking of fit to fight, everyone has an opinion on the program, but we all know it is a non-negotiable item and a condition of employment in the military. We are an all-volunteer force. Some have to work harder than others to maintain the standards, but maintain the standards we must, and everyone should be held to the same standards regardless of status. When there is even the hint of inequity, morale is affected and leadership is questioned. Everyone is responsible for their own individual fitness and no one should attempt to put anyone else in a position to have their integrity questioned.

All of these areas, procrastination/time management, career choices, fitness, are victories we have to win over ourselves. Some will win more than others, but the ultimate goal is to strive for those small victories and not look outside of ourselves to make them happen. The larger victories will be that much sweeter.

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