A few days ago I had the honor of witnessing a change of command at one of our military garrisons. What struck me is the onset of discipline that starts the moment you enter the military arena. You cannot go where you want and do what you want at any given time. Even the program was timed to the minute and one would be tempted to believe that the precision I saw was semi human.

Persona wears off at the gate and rank takes over. Where you shall go, how you are taken there, whom you shall seat with etc is determined by rank and profile. The respect is instinctive, not thought or mused for a moment. If your ranking merits a salute you are saluted on immediate realization and accorded the due respect and attention.

I observed the layers of hierarchy and I saw how easy it is to function when discipline and order are factored into our lives. I saw the formations on parade, the march pasts and salutes, I heard the speeches and witnessed precision. Every man (and woman) knew his place and role. None overstepped or slouched and all turned out brilliant.

As I drove home I was convinced that if I had not been in the service I am in today I definitely would have been a soldier. The paradigm made me realize that all what society at large needs – structure, hierarchy, responsibility and discipline. The military runs on these factors and all we see is a well tuned machine ready to defend the cause of the nation at any moment.

I aver so much physical exertions, drills, lessons, simulations etc take place to fine tune our defenders. It is the same parallel I would like to draw on the aspect of life. An untrained, un-drilled, ill-disciplined life has no direction. The same exertions that our service people go through to be found cap able of standing to the good of the nation are also applicable to the milestones of life. Show me a man who says he succeeded without training, discipline, endurance and the quest for precision and I will show you a blatant liar.

In the same manner that these men and women are presided over by their instructors and commanders in their everyday activities, so should our lives.  Instruction, training, discipline, respect, recognition and commitment are key epithets in their lives in their service to the nation.

The same points apply to a person seeking to walk the path of life and navigate the storms so as to successfully land on the beach without capsizing.

As the sun rises tomorrow and when you meet a well-drilled, clean, respectful, confident service man (or woman) may they be a reminder of the results of great effort, commitment, dedication, patriotism and a quest to serve successfully. The same qualities we need in the marathon of life.


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