“It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.”
Problems come and go. Some problems seem to breed more problems, and appear to be an endless stream of anguish and debilitating dark magic. Things we want, or need forever and always seem beyond our reach. Attaining that thing which will make our lives infinitely easier, ultimately will never come to pass. Even after we give it everything we have, and have exhausted every known method we know of to be successful.
For the inexperienced among the readers here, I am going to vastly over-simplify this process. This is not intended to insult your intelligence, but for brevity sake alone. During my time in the Navy I was a young impetuous First Class Petty Officer who by all accounts could be call a hard charging, lead from the front, and assisted many other to advance while being so brilliant. I took every miserable task and did my best to spin gold, and for the most part I did ok. Along the way, I would run into superiors who wanted nothing more than to choke slam me in the deck. I will be the first to tell you, there were times when I deserved it! I always seemed to do stupid things. See last week’s blog for details. Even still, my pros seemed to outweigh my cons. I would take the test, make board, and not get selected to the most honored position in the entire military; Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy. I couldn’t believe it. Why? I performed well, my Sailors advanced, my qualifications were beyond what one would expect to see. I considered myself humble, though to be fair about this, I was not properly humbled. Six years went by, and every year I made board, and did not get selected. Many wonderful, gifted people looked through my service record and were left scratching their heads right next to me. To say I was feeling like utter shit, is the understatement of the century. On year seven, yes seven, a Chief by the name of Jeremy Rodriguez sat down and talked with me. Jeremy is a no-nonsense guy, a heart of gold and is far more intelligent than he will ever let on. I feel a great swell of pity for those who make this mistake. A damn fine man, mentor and Chief! I am proud to call him my friend. He asked me all the right questions, and I answered them all. Everything was in my record. He nodded quietly, “Go over everything in your awards and education line item for line item.” I was floored. Did he honestly think I did not already do that?! I stopped myself on the spot, I told my myself, “Work the problem”. I broke out my record and went over my everything line item for line item. Citations, ribbons, medals, college classes all there. I was furious, then something nagged at me. I looked again, and again, and again. I persisted for two weeks, I poured over the data, then it slammed me in the face. My degree wasn’t there! All my classes were there, the fact I had a degree, but not the degree itself! I submitted it, then made sure it was in my service record. On the last week of July in 2012,
I was finally selected with no one other than my friend Jeremy standing behind me to share that fateful moment. While tears flowed in my eyes, he clapped my shoulder and walked out of the room saying only, “Congratulations, your fucked.” And boy was I.
The truth to any problem we face is not whether we have the answer, but rather, are will willing stick with the issue until we finally come to terms with the solution? Sometimes, just sometimes, all we have to do is be patient. Humble ourselves to accept that we don’t always have the most effective answer. What we really need is to persist long enough for the answer to present itself in the simplest way. Stay focused, and strong. Your day is coming! Good luck in all you do!! Unless you’re doing some criminal shit, then stop it and do something really awesome.