Charting A Course - Never Lose Your Temper

By Captain Kevin Eyer, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Second, read, think, speak, write, and get published if you can. Every one of us has a unique perspective, and as we learn and grow it is equally likely that we all possess original and valuable ideas. You should get those ideas into the mix, because they are not only wanted, they are needed. There are dozens of publications and even more blogs, and whether the subject is better pier security or improved pump maintenance or new directions in strike warfare, your ideas possess inherent value. Nevertheless, you should speak and write about those things you know and understand. Try not to swing for distant, difficult-to-hit fences, unless you genuinely are a recognized expert in the field. If you are, swing away!

Certainly not everyone is a gifted writer, but don’t let that hold you back. Professional forums are hungry for useful content, and they are eager to work with you. Further, writing is a skill that can be dramatically improved with a bit of practice. It’s your idea that’s important.

Finally, the life of a naval officer can be stressful, and if you didn’t get frustrated now and again, you wouldn’t be human. Having said that, never lose your temper, under any circumstances, and never raise your voice. As hard as this may seem, remember that your job is to bring order out of chaos, not the other way around. When you lose self-control, the issue becomes something other than the matter at hand: It becomes all about the fireworks display during which reason was abandoned. Above all, we should be reasonable persons—subject to reason and capable of reason—and the best solution can almost always be found in an intelligent back-and-forth discussion.

Ultimately, we are all here to serve this nation and one another. The paths we each choose in the provision of that service may vary greatly; still, you may rest assured that each of these paths is of equal necessity and value to the long-term success of our Navy. If you are a skilled engineer, work to contribute as a truly great engineer. If you are a dedicated supply officer, your aim should be to be the best of supply officers. In the big tent that is our Navy, your energy is what is most valuable. Find and fulfill your passion, even if that passion takes you down nontraditional roads. Our Navy is hungry for mine experts, linguists, teachers, and academics. We need you in Africa, Asia, and all across the United States. Do what you love, and you will succeed.

Captain Eyer served in seven cruisers, commanding three of them: the USS Thomas S. Gates (CG-51), Shiloh (CG-67), and Chancellorsville (CG-62). He is a frequent contributor to Proceedings .




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