“In the absence of further orders…ATTACK!” West Point life lesson #1
By my second year at West Point, I became very familiar with the maze of corridors of the huge castle-like structure that I would navigate to get back to my room from a class. This became especially handy during bitterly cold winter days. I preferred finding my way through the maze of old and historic hallways, inside in the warmth and comfort as I made my way back to my room after a long day of studying and attending classes.
My route would take me past the history department. I always knew I was passing through the history department because I would see a sign that read, “we teach about those we taught”. It was a cool sign that would always remind me of the great institution in which I had the pleasure of attending. It was not usual to find a quote or a motto posted outside a history officer’s door.
I enjoy reading quotes and mottos as they represent a core belief or mission statement. One particular quote always caught my attention and stuck with me over the years. I could not miss it, because it was posted predominately on a door outside an officer’s office at the end of a long hall. It was the last office before I would make a sharp right and down the stairs into my barracks area. The quote said, “In the absence of further orders….ATTACK!”
That quote eloquently summarizes the American spirit and the way I chose to live my life and it has served me well. I decided that I will approach life head on and would create my own way when there was not a clear path guiding me. I would not wait for someone to tell me the next step or have someone dictate my journey. West Point and my short career in the U.S. Army gave me many opportunities to live by this motto and I have never regretted the decisions I’ve made.
Life is not perfect and you can never have all the information you need to make a decision, but you don’t need to know all the variables. Do you want to separate yourself from the pack of mediocrity? Stop over thinking your situation, over planning your life, and start attacking your life by taking action. Think about an important project or goal you have in your life and ask yourself this, “what next?” then do it. Stop waiting for everything to be aligned perfectly before you make the jump to begin a new career or take on that new hobby or to ask for that promotion you know you deserve. No one is going to give you clear cut directions on what you need to do in your life, you simply must learn to take action and to gain control of your life.
What action can you take right now that will advance your cause and get you closer to your lifelong dream or goal? So why are you not doing it? ATTACK!