Remaining Focused on the Prize

I see many Sailors in the Navy who lack focus. As a Chief Petty Officer, I'm amazed at how many of them simply don't understand that I (not just me of course, but many Chiefs) know more than they do how to have a successful career in the Navy. I see this as a problem of age mostly. When I was in my mid-20s, and a fairly young E5 in the Navy, I was scattered in my desires, thought I might be getting out of the Navy after my degree, or maybe staying in, or maybe getting out, or...well, you get the point. I wouldn't listen to really any advice from those who were senior to me. Now that I'm senior to many Sailors, I realize how off I had been back then.

The last thing I want to do is make someone feel bad for being a little scattered, but the fact is that men (in particular) and women are rather distracted. Paul understood this when writing to Timothy in his second letter to his "son."

II Timothy 2:4-7 (NIV)
No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

In this passage, Paul tells Timothy to be as focused as a good soldier, to compete like a good athlete, and to be as diligent as a good farmer. I can see the point in each of these analogies. As a Navy sailor, I understand that I must do certain things to please those I report to (and that does still apply to Chief Petty Officers!). As a teenager, I ran track and played football, so I understand the competitive nature of athletics, and the need to do so fairly (competition is still alive and well at my current job also). Finally, as the oldest son of a Kansas farmer, I understand the need to be a hard-working farmer, and enjoying the first-fruits of those efforts.

In the end, the point is to remain focused on whatever it is that you're involved in. If you're a preacher, remain focused on being a preacher, a housewife, be a housewife...a sailor...be focused on being a sailor. Listen to those who were older than you and know more. In that way you will succeed and follow scripture! 

2 comments:

Greg Cope said...

This is an amazing point. Great article. One question though, what percent of people in the Navy are promoted wrongly, ie not hardworkers? And what percent are not promoted that are the hardworkers? If you feel this number is higher than it should be, what can we do to fix it?

Dan Smith said...

Undoubtedly, as both of us have seen undeserving sailors promoted, this phenomenon happens. How often? I can't be for sure obviously. At ATT, I often felt wonderful about those being promoted by and large. And, of course, I see many good men and women passed over for seemingly trivial reasons.

Finally, I'm not sure what to do to fix it. My old mentor, Master Chief (soon to be CWO3) Edwards never mentioned that issue to me when he was guiding me. He simply pushed me to understand where I stood, not where others stand. I think that would be my push as well.