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Nine Ways Military Thinking Can Be Applied to Everyday Life

Updated on March 12, 2015
The military teaches fast, practical, efficient decision making that can be applied to many situations outside military operations and training
The military teaches fast, practical, efficient decision making that can be applied to many situations outside military operations and training | Source

Our veterans know the importance of military training and having a strong background in the armed forces. The skills, knowledge, connections and expertise that our service men and women develop can be incredibly important both inside and outside the military.

If you're a veteran, you know the value of friendship, training, experience and decision making. When you serve in the armed forces, lives rely on everyone working together towards a larger purpose. This article explores several surprising ways that veterans can apply military training to civilian life, and the advantages that can provide; veterans can excel in many areas including:

  • Friendship, teamwork and listening
  • Decision making and leadership
  • Looking after yourself

Friendship, teamwork and listening

Veterans learn to be part of a team
When you're in the military, you trust your life to the people around you. In life or death situations, everyone has to do their jobs properly, without question or hesitation.

In civilian life, this makes it easier to appreciate how important it is to have a team around you that you can trust. You're the perfect team member, listening, acting and understanding what's best for everyone.

Veterans become better listeners
In the military, you learn to listen to, understand and obey those with more experience or seniority.

Outside the military, this can be extremely helpful as you're more likely to pay attention when someone has something valuable to add, rather than just trying to get your own opinion across.

Veterans value the people around them much more
When you're trusting your life to a squad mate, that trust creates a very strong bond between you. It deepens friendships, camaraderie and the trust that you place in other people.

Outside the military, it means that you tend to hold on to your closest friends, rely on them and develop closer ties with your loved ones.

Veterans learn to listen and take other views into account before making decisions
Veterans learn to listen and take other views into account before making decisions | Source
Soldiers understand the best course of action, even in difficult situations
Soldiers understand the best course of action, even in difficult situations | Source

Decision making and leadership

Veterans can make quick, confident decisions
Lives can be saved or lost on the basis of a good or bad decision. Military strategy teaches you to make fast, confident decisions based on the information that's available at the time.

One of the great drawbacks of modern life is having too much choice and procrastinating about the right thing to do. Veterans often find it much easier to make and stick to a decision.

Veterans rely on their wits and instinct
The military has come to rely more and more on technology, but the best soldiers trust their wits, instinct and training above everything else. Technology can always go wrong or break down, but if you've got the right understanding of the situation and the expertise to deal with it, that puts you in a much better position than those that rely on technology to do everything.

This means that you're often better prepared and more flexible when things don't go exactly to plan.

Veterans understand and manage risk better
In the armed forces, planning, strategy and minimizing risk are vital, and wherever possible you will act to maximize your own strengths and advantages.

In your personal life and the world of business, this can mean that you find it easier to understand risk, control it wherever possible and act in the ways that are most likely to be good for you and those around you.

Veterans lead by example
If there's a truth of leadership in the military, it's 'Show, Don't Tell'. The best commanders are those that lead by example, that understand what needs to be done and don't hesitate to do it themselves.

In civilian life, this means that you can demonstrate things to others more easily, and that you often have solid, rational thinking behind your decisions.

Being counted on as part of a team is essential to military thinking
Being counted on as part of a team is essential to military thinking | Source

Looking after yourself

The military teaches you to look after your appearance
The focus in the military on having the perfect appearance - Cleanly pressed uniform, perfect shoes, short hair and appearing clean and tidy can have benefits in civilian life.

Not only does it make you stand out from others that don't care about how they look, it also gives you an advantage in job interviews, positions of authority or anytime that you're in the public eye.

Veterans think about their diet and appreciate good food more
The armed forces consider proper nutrition and diet to be very important, which makes you much more aware of the food and drink that you're putting into your body.

Military rations are designed for nutrition rather than flavor and because meals can be hard to come by whilst out on operations, it's vital to eat as well as possible, when you can. When you leave the military, this understanding of food means that you're able to appreciate the nutrition, flavor and texture of food more easily than others.

The art of war

What's the most important part of military thinking?

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In closing

This is just a small selection of the military skills and experience that veterans can find incredibly useful in everyday life.

Because of your expertise, you are often very well placed to provide practical, useful advice, assistance and support to help your loved ones and colleagues make the most of every situation.


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