Sunday, September 2, 2012

Naked in a Box

By Julie Rahm                           
My husband, John spent three days naked in a plywood box! It was part of his military training. All Marine pilots go through SERE training. The pilots get SERE training to help them survive if shot down behind enemy lines. SERE stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. John is not allowed to discuss the training. However, from what I know, the training started with survival and evasion lessons. Pretend enemy soldiers chased him through the woods for a few days. Eventually he was caught and placed in a mock prisoner of war camp for the resistance and escape portion of his training. While a “prisoner of war”, John earned a reputation for being a belligerent prisoner. The “guards” quickly labeled him as uncooperative. Imagine that! Regardless, John’s uncooperative attitude landed him in a plywood box sans clothes. John spent three naked days in his box. The box was small and he could not sit upright or extend his legs. Of course, he was not allowed to sleep. It was hot during the day and cold at night. I suspect it was unpleasant. But, the training gave him a very small taste of the mental toughness required to survive as a prisoner of war. And, my family might add, it equips him for being married to me! Now that John is retired, his three naked days in the plywood box serves as a benchmark for what really constitutes a bad day.
In life, there are plenty of opportunities to have bad days. Examples abound. For us, Hurricane Irene is still a vivid memory. And, I am sure the arrival of Hurricane Isaac on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina made for some really bad days on the gulf coast. Our loved ones get old and leave the planet. Some loved ones leave prematurely. Our precious pets pass on. So, my point is; in the midst of all this potential for the negative, mindset can be a powerful tool to get you through the bad days. Resilience is the key ingredient. During the bad days, there is very little substitute for the resilience associated with mental toughness. It can get you through. All my successful and happy clients have an identifiable measure of resilience.
So, in our house, during a bad time, John will say, “It’s not as bad as the box.” John has a personal benchmark for what constitutes a bad day. I know things are really bad when John says, “I’d rather be in the box.” Now, I’m not suggesting you should spend time naked in an undersized plywood box! In fact, don’t do it! I am advocating perspective on things that seem bad and things that are just annoying. A mindset for perceiving situations accurately can be your greatest asset. It is your mindset that turns bad days around.
If you would like some help converting your bad days into better days, contact me by visiting my website at

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