I have a complicated relationship with the word “mindset”. On one hand, it accurately describes an important concept. On the other hand, it is so overused, abused, and buzzed in our industry as to lose the intended meaning in most cases. I will try not to do that here, but no promises.
Mindset, as I think of it, is an ethos. It is a deeply ingrained sentiment – a part of your psyche – that informs and drives who you are and what you do. Many talk to mindset as if it is just a way to think about something – but to me, it is more a part of your belief system. It dominates the way you look at the world around you and creates a deliberateness in your actions.
In our various courses, we talk about mindset. If you are going to save a life by rendering aid or defend your own life, You need to have the ability to do this – not just the knowledge. For example, mindset is the difference between “peaceful” and “harmless”. If you have the capacity to be violent (read legitimate self-defense), but you don’t commit violent acts – you are peaceful. If you have no capacity (mindset) to commit violence (even as legitimate self-defense) and you don’t commit violence – you are harmless.
We teach this because harmless people should not own or carry weapons unless they are evolving their ethos to become peaceful people. We often refer to this as evolving from sheep to sheepdog. Not everyone can be a sheepdog – some people are just not wired for it. It’s ok, as long as you recognize that in yourself and don’t try to judge or look down on those who DO have a sheepdog ethos.
In the military, the Warrior Ethos is ingrained into every new soldier. It is a rebirth of sorts and is maintained throughout their career.
- I will always place the mission first
- I will never accept defeat
- I will never quit
- I will never leave a fallen comrade
You can’t just memorize these and then, “I’m good.” it has to become part of your belief system. Civilians who have a sheepdog mindset should subscribe to something that reflects their love for, and willingness to protect, other people. I believe we should be servant protectors in our communities. And we should teach others to do the same. Giving language to your beliefs provides a context or framework from which to act.
In this spirit, I humbly offer you the following:
WLTAC Servant Protector Ethos
- I will only use deadly force to defend myself or someone else in mortal danger.
- I will always render lifesaving aid to those in need
- I am always patient and humble
- I will never quit
If you integrate these four statements into your belief system, they form a part of your identity. You must now BE something deliberate. They also inform a need to DO something deliberate. These beliefs – these declarations – require you to interact with others in a certain way.
I personally feel these declarations drive you to be kinder. Maybe more patient in traffic. Perhaps an ethos like this underscores your need to train or look at others’ points-of-view differently.
If nothing else, never quit. Never give up on yourself. Never stop trying to be better. Be a servant leader and a servant protector.