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Chapter 9: Be Yourself

A sergeant took his troop of new recruits to a nearby pine forest to practice tactics. “I want you to spread out amongst the trees,” he said, “and when I give the signal, you freeze. Imagine enemy planes overhead looking for you - one movement and they’ll blast you all to bacon! Okay, men - get to it!”

During the maneuvers the sergeant spotted, to his annoyance, a few fidgeting figures and noticed, with pleasure, one promising young recruit so still he really seemed frozen. Hardly had the sergeant’s beady eye moved on than the same young soldier was suddenly tearing through the forest as if being chased by a whole army.

After rounding up the troop, the sergeant bellowed at the young recruit and demanded to know why he had suddenly bolted like a frightened rabbit after starting the exercise so well.

“Sorry, sarge,” said the young offender. “You see, a pair of squirrels got up my trouser legs.”

“That’s no excuse, boy!” bellowed the sergeant.” Even while sitting on an ants’ nest, in the sight of the enemy, you have to be still!”

“But, sir,” protested the soldier, “It was fine until I overheard one squirrel say to the other, ‘Wow, look at these nuts! Let’s eat one now and store the other for the winter!’”

In sudden situations, how do you respond? Only that shows whether you have any intelligence or not.

Nurture strength of spirit.

And what is strength of spirit? Intelligence.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

The mind always enjoys imagining about misfortunes. The mind lives, feeds on misfortune, real or unreal.

Desiderata says:

.do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

So don’t fight with yourself, otherwise you will be fatigued; you will be always tired, in a state of low energy. And then dark clouds will surround you, nightmares will happen to you, and loneliness.