Of all the things I have learned from my Marine Corps experience, perhaps the most important is that sometimes—both in the chaotic environment of combat and in peacetime—the little things are lost. Though seemingly insignificant by themselves, it always seems to be such things—the ones we take for granted—that determine success or failure in our profession. One of the most important of these is morale.
One of the toughest challenges for a leader of Marines is to maintain a high state of morale among the troops. This is most difficult when operational tempo is at its lowest and at its highest. Cognitively, we seek homeostasis—where the combination of external and internal stimuli balances with our ability to handle stress and strain. When operations run at a tempo that allows each Marine to be challenged moderately, all will perform at their peak efficiency. During this time, a leader's main job—although he may not be consciously aware of it—is to maintain the status quo. The Marines remain motivated and prepared to do the next day's business. This applies both in combat and in peacetime.