Training Is Where It Comes From

Around the world, millions of people are trained to respond to difficulty with calm. They are firefighters, who don’t flinch before running into a burning building. They are EMTs, who come upon a scene of total carnage and spring into action. They are military professionals, who run into gunfire, not away from it.

Were these people born this way? No. Of course not. While they may have had some natural aptitude, the instructor at the police or fire or military academy knows the truth: They remember how raw and terrified those recruits were on the first day.

It was training that got them to where they are. They trained themselves to respond to total chaos with complete clarity. They exposed themselves, deliberately, to stressful situations until it became like a kind of second nature.

“The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength,” Marcus Aurelius said. And we get closer to that strength through training and practice. That’s doing the reading, writing in the journal, and then putting yourself out there—taking risks, standing up when you’d rather sit down, saying no when it would be easier to say yes, challenging yourself and growing through the difficulty.

If you want calmness in the face of chaos all you have to do is work for it.

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