November 8, 2012

Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement

Leader’s Forum

Col. Robert Kuckuk
MCAS Commanding Officer

I qualified Expert last week at the pistol range. First time I had ever shot Expert on the pistol range in my 26 years in the Corps.

This is remarkable (to me anyway) because I barely qualified as a Marksman last August. Colonels don’t have to shoot at the range, but I went because I enjoy shooting…and I almost didn’t qualify.

As I said, I enjoy shooting, but I’m the first to admit I’ve never been very good with the pistol. I’d squeaked by with a Sharpshooter badge for some time. But never Expert. So when I shot the embarrassingly low score and squeaked by with a Marksman, I decided to do something about it. I knew my limitation (poor pistol skills) and sought some self improvement. I shot at the indoor range at Sprague’s once a week and again at the outdoor range either in Phoenix or Adair range in Yuma. I spent some money on ammo, targets, target stands, range time, gasoline and handgun rental. I did some reading on the fundamentals and talked at length with the MTU staff and some of the more successful shooters I’d known. It’s amazing what you can learn if you seek a little self improvement.

Now I’m not saying I’m ready for the Olympic team, I wasn’t even range high…I’m only saying I improved after dedicating myself to improving on a known weakness.

That’s the lesson: Understand what you want to improve in your life or job and seek ways to improve it. It can be applied to almost anything. Usually it’s as simple as just doing more of whatever it is you need to improve. For example; Do you want to do more pull-ups on the PFT…then practice doing pull ups. Turns out it works! You can improve in nearly any area simply by dedicating yourself to improving. It sounds obvious…but it isn’t. You don’t get in better shape by watching people work out. You don’t get yourself into the weight standards by talking about it. Your relationships don’t improve by letting your spouse, your parents/in-laws or siblings do all the work. The only way to get an education is to work at it. “Getting educated” is a verb…it implies action.

So think about this only long enough to develop an action plan. Then go do it. It works…I’ve got the expert badge to prove it.

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