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That Acronym Thing From One Of Those Classes You Were Forced To Attend

Having been in the military and law enforcement I had my share of unwanted and unwarranted classes that were mandatory. I went through instructor training in the military and as a police, so I know you should never ever clean a dry erase board by wiping from side to side (it makes your butt wiggle, up and down please).

From “diversity” training to “Aiming for center mass. Why it matters.” I’ve had my fair share. I was pumped for information today regarding thru-hiking and other adventure type stuff. The person was pretty much gung-ho, but lacked any experience. So I found myself trying to “guide” them through the process of getting outside the comfort zone. There questions turned to phobias and then I was stuck. I should have fallen back on the tried and true formula. SMART.

The military teaches this for damned near everything.

S- specific

M- measurable

A- attainable

R- realistic

T- timed

This sort of thinking will assist for any endeavor, not just a thru-hike or climb. Apply this to your next business venture/project.

By being specific you are labeling what needs to be accomplished and what the outcomes should be. Note: should be. Outcomes are never up to expectations, which is why the military considers 75% a decent score. That does not mean you should aim low (the military doesn’t, unless we were taking out fortified positions). You should be specific. Like this: Get to point B using X amount of funds.

That’s specific. Or maybe: Increase sales by 15% within twenty days.

Measure it. How else will you know if you are on track? Have a milestone. Like the AT. Most people use the Walasi Yi/ Neels Gap/ that outfitter where all the shoes are hanging in the trees as a measure of progress for the first 30 miles. How about the NOC, or Damascus? How about words written (if you are scratching out a book)? Background scenery for visual artists? We had to something like this when I was a police and a teacher.

Example- If there were five aggravated assaults at the street lever (pedestrians) during the last tour, I had to come up with a plan to get that number to zero, and be able to measure how I was doing it. I would track the areas or circumstances that led to the assaults (concert, bar, street level activity) and label the times. I would hit those areas and be present so many times within an hour, and at unpredictable intervals. I would then log it when I accomplished the patrol. Chances are I would not have any assaults in that area. So, how much work, how much time, and what are the results in a numerical value.

Attainable- Get to the moon. That’s not something attainable without a lot of work. But “get a 90% or better on a test” is. For the amount of work, which is measured, I can find that if person X spends Y amount of time studying notes and text per day, by Friday they will more than likely have a 90% or better on the test. That is “doable”. Killing Osama Bin Laden? Doable. Getting from point A to point B? Doable. The key is having the necessary materials and the required skill/mind set. Cub Scout Troop 974 from Podunkville taking out ISIS next week? No go. They don’t have the skills, equipment, or mind set. Know your limitations. And the limitations of your equipment/assets.

Realistic- Why? That is the reason. Is there a reason for doing whatever it is you are doing? If not, it has ceased being realistic. What you are doing must serve a purpose, either personal or professional. If you cannot justify it, stop doing it. Not only are you wasting time, but resources and effort. Why did JFK want to send a U.S. Spaceman to the moon? To prove it could be done? Nope. To accelerate the nations technology, and to begin the decline of the Soviet Union. Was it realistic? Absolutely. We already had the technology to survive for extended periods in the spartan environment of space, we just needed to juice up our math and fuel tech. The key was they had already done the math. It was realistic. They weren’t sending somebody to Pluto (still a planet, assholes). It was the moon. Pretty close, and if you screwed up plenty of time to fix it.

Timed- Nothing can last forever. If it does we have a name for it. Boring. Saturday Night Live is old, tired, and not watched. Have an ending. What would Tolkien have been if Frodo was just suited up for another three volume set? A d-bag, that’s what. End it. Have an ending in mind and plan for it. When those guys went in to take out UBL there were two possible outcomes; good and bad. Turned out good. They all got medals and some got book deals and movies. But there was no letting this thing drag out until doomsday. Noreiga runs into the Vatican embassy and thinks he can live there forever. Two nights of “Enter Sandman” changed his mind. Put a time limit on stuff. Until death do you part? Okay, that’s a time limit. Four years of college? I’ve heard that before, but okay, it is realistic and attainable, not to mention specific and measurable.

That’s time/life management tips. Thanks DoD and police academy. Oddly enough my mother applied the same philosophy.

Specific- Get this damned room cleaned up

Measurable- All of your shit off the floor

Attainable- You have two arms and two legs

Realistic- If you don’t do it… (clean underwear reference, dead relative reference, etc.)

Timed- You spent all day doing nothing, you have exactly (X) amount of time…





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