I went into the military after law school, but I wasn’t a very good soldier; I had trouble with things like knowing the difference between my left foot and my my right.
I was not, of course, the only trainee who had problems like that — particularly when we had a sergeant in our faces, yelling how dumb we were, that we had to be faking it, that nobody could be so awkward and so stupid.
This after maybe three or four hours of sleep -- and maybe not even that because of guard duty and middle-of-the-night fire drills.
I found myself pondering a question much like the question I’d pondered in law school: If they really want us to learn the important things, then why bug us with all this
But again, as in law school, I was missing the point of the covert game underway: The ultimate object of the military training game is not so much to teach soldiers to start off on the proper foot, or to hang uniforms a certain way, as it is force them to learn that they could cope with pressure and still function by pushing beyond fatigue, fear, and pressure.
All that came to mind when I came on this article via Zite (on-line magazine/app) the other day: "Why Are Military Boot Camps So Intense?" Link
It was written by a Marine drill sergeant and makes pretty much the point I had arrived at: Yes, certain book-learning could be done better in a quiet classroom, but the Marines are training for something beyond that. In other words, the "game" of basic is partly to teach important stuff like the difference between left and right, but also to teach the new soldier to learn to function under fatigue and high stress.
Which, I think, reinforces my overall point in HOW TO ASK THE SMART QUESTIONS FOR WINNING THE GAMES OF BUSINESS & LIFE: To learn to "look through" what's happening here and now to spot the larger "game" that's under way.