June 11; Getting Cut Is Hell
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Six: Correction; 11 June

 

For many are invited, but few are chosen.

Matthew 22:14

Getting Cut Is Hell

Membership

Your Business Professor

Your Business Professor

Your Business Professor was 12 years old playing on a Little League® baseball team. We were not doing well and I was doing worse. This was normal. In the losing effort, I was only going through the motions and a teammate noticed. This surprised me in two ways:

1) That anyone would notice my performance was particularly poor, and

2) That anyone would care.

Actually, he didn’t care either. He said, “You’re only playing for the trophy—”

I was stunned. “What trophy?” I may have deserved recognition—but it wouldn’t be anything positive.

“Everyone gets one,” he said. “Show up at the awards banquet and we all will get a trophy.”

I winced. Even losers got a plaque. Worthless.

***

Woody Allen said that 80 percent of success in life is showing up. But he never said that you could get a trophy for getting out of bed in the morning. Sports was changing. Our culture was a-changing. But it wasn’t always so. During the Second World War, the military did not award participation trophies.

The armed services is an exclusive club. It’s not for everyone. There are high barriers to entry. Only a few good men make it in.

The also-ran, ne’er-do-wells will be sent home. This does not mean: if you want winners, there must be losers. Military induction is not a zero sum game. The armed services will welcome nearly anyone who will clear the criteria (e.g., citizenship) and survive the hazing process (i.e., boot camp). A team must have minimum standards that must be met to be able to join and, more important, to be accepted by the group. When a sub-standard member is admitted, then there are no standards and no expectations of compliance to the organization. If a Marine Rifleperson cannot execute three chin-ups then s/he will be rejected. Don’t take it personal. It’s personnel policy.

However, if a candidate fails the entry-level exam the Drill Instructor may or may not humiliate the rejected non-performer. It is not Schadenfreude so much to celebrate failure as to acknowledge achievement. How do we know if the membership is coveted? How do we know if belonging is worth the pain?

Because not everyone is good enough to get in.

***

Every American male should watch the beginning of the 1976 motion picture, Baby Blue Marine.

The movie is about a Marine washout who failed basic training during WWII. The men who failed were issued light blue fatigues and a train ticket home. The world knew they didn’t make it in the Marines. The baby blue pajamas were designed to humiliate. (War is Hell. The rejection of getting cut from the team might be worse than Hell…)

Both groups, the winners and losers, the successful and unsuccessful were outfitted in a uniform. No one wanted to wear the uniform of the failure. The successful were awarded with combat uniform-ity. The military personnel selection process was nearly as brutal as the fighting.

The world was at war. That was the war we won. Decisively.

For many are invited, but few are chosen, Matthew 22:14.

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