A US Marine’s Basics of Personal Protection

Dear Brendan,

Your father asked me to shoot you a note and begin a conversation with you about how to protect yourself, but also to prepare to protect your wife and children when you marry one day.

Specifically he asked that I share some of the life experiences I’ve had working with others around the world. As you are aware, the world is an increasingly dangerous place. We will touch on this more throughout our conversations and my messages to you. I encourage you along the way to engage me, speak freely, think outside the box, ask questions, and take an active role. Remember life is a journey and not a destination. We ought to enjoy our journey in life and make a positive difference whenever and wherever possible.

 

I know one day you will be responsible for a wife and children of your own. This is one of the primary reasons why your father has asked me to begin this dialogue with you. On that note, the best thing to do is start thinking ahead. Let’s lean forward together on this journey and be proactive from the beginning. Maybe some of what I have experienced will help you along your path in life.

Your father is fond of saying, “See you on the high ground,” and the high ground is where we want to be. However, first we must secure that high ground.

Before we get into specific subjects, it’s important that we establish the groundwork to be successful, a solid foundation to build upon. With that said, I know your father has been instilling key character traits and values in you since birth, so you are well on your way. Your foundation is solid, and we are going to make it even stronger.

As you know, your father and I are longtime friends. I think very highly of him and trust him completely and I am confident he feels the same way about me. Mutual respect between men is essential. But what’s key is that “respect” is earned. It’s never given. So you and I will proceed in a way that is mutually respectful.

The next important part of your foundation is to be clear on why you want to learn what I have to teach. One day, you will be married. You’ll be responsible for a wife and children. Take your time on that score, because it’s a big decision. A vast majority of our happiness in life hinges on a single decision—who we decide to marry. So, don’t rush. .

Let us not rush into anything. As I like to say, do not rush to failure.

So once you’re clear on why you want to learn about protecting yourself and others, let’s look at what you’re willing to do for those others. I want to touch on the meaning of the word “love”. What does love to mean to you as a young man? This is a simple yet powerful question. Something I ask myself to help me answer that question is this: Am I willing to sacrifice my life for that other person without hesitation or any doubts? If I have to pause and think long and hard about that, then the answer is, no I do not truly love that person.

I may like that person, however “like” and “love” are two very different things.

I think sometimes people throw around the word love too easily. It loses its true meaning.

You will notice I didn’t use the word “kill”. The reason is that anybody can kill. Thugs and knuckleheads will kill for a so-called friend. For money. For nothing. What’s important in life is not how many people you know that will kill for you; it’s about how many true friends will die for you, and for whom you are willing to make that ultimate sacrifice. Let’s not get these things confused, as they are very different.

Okay Brendan, pick up your pack and let’s begin this journey to secure that high ground. It’s important to have a trusted mentor and to be a mentor to others. You are going to hear me talk about “TEAM” a lot! You will probably get sick of hearing me bring this up over and over again. Well, too bad and start embracing it! You must have a TEAM mindset. You will hear me repeatedly say, One Team, One Family, One Fight.

Here are the building blocks to fortify your foundation of respect, your “Why” and the love you bring to the task.

First, Commitment. I’m talking about a forever commitment and dedication to yourself, your family, your team. This commitment must be unwavering. Stand for what you believe in. Hold the line!

Second, Training. You have to train! I mean real world training. There is also a difference between working out and training. I will discuss this in more detail at a later time. So with that said, I don’t simply mean go to the gym like a little girl spending your weekend mornings on the stair stepper or yoga mats. In case you didn’t notice, it’s time to put on your big boy pants. Man up for this journey. The type of training that I’m talking about never ends! You train yourself every day of your life. You train your mind, your body, your spirit.

Strive to become better every day. When you improve you help others to improve.

Strengthen yourself, your family, and your team.

Third, Communication. You have to communicate! I’m not a mind reader and neither is anyone else. There is no magic eight ball or crystal ball out there despite what you may have heard. So establish lines of communication. Establish and build strong relationships. This requires effective communication. I don’t care if you have to use smoke signals or draw pictures with crayons. Communication is paramount!

Finally, Leadership. There is a leadership vacuum in our society today. There is a leadership vacuum in our world. We need good strong men to fill this vacuum. If good men don’t fill it, evil men will. Once that happens, the leadership of evil men begins to spread like cancer spreads through the human body. Leadership may very well be the most important of these building blocks. You are growing into a man and a leader. You need to recognize this and embrace it. This is your time to step up to the challenge. Lead from the front. Set the tone. Leadership is a mindset.

Now, about so-called failure. As I’m sure your father has said to you many times before and I will reinforce again here, do NOT be afraid to fail. It’s how we learn. I don’t even like to use the word fail. I say, instead, to fall short or fall down on your journey in life. Hey Brendan, newsflash, you are going to fall down during your life journey. That’s okay, because we always learn more from falling down than we do from getting things right. Falling down and getting back up builds character. Adversity introduces us to ourselves. So I rephrase this to drive a point home and

because I refuse to say the word “fail” and I do not ever want to hear you say that

negative four-letter “F” word.

 

I’d rather you say any other four letter “F” word than that.

Moving on. The four D’s of success. You have to have Drive, Desire, Dedication, and Determination. The Drive, Desire, Dedication and Determination to be your best.

To lead. Sometimes, to follow. All of this will start to come into focus as we progress.

 

You have plenty to think about and digest but don’t worry, we will continue this journey together. Soon we will branch off into specific areas of study as our conversation continues.

I’ll leave you with this-- believe in yourself. Stay focused and stay on target.

One Family-One Team-One Fight

TRAIN-FIGHT- WIN

Your Friend,

-Travis