During my time in Afghanistan at Camp Dwyer, the work spaces were filled with motivational posters, advertising the motto: “Keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing.”
It reminded me of what Charlotte Bronte wrote in her famous novel, Jane Eyre: “Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
It’s easy to bend the rules (and in some cases, completely ignore them) at our own convenience in order to please our laziness. But if we keep the main thing as the reason why we’re serving our country, then we’ll soon realize how important these laws and principles are that we need to follow and uphold.
Concurrently, by keeping focus on the main purpose of the mission at hand, we can use our wisdom and discretion to allow for positive exceptions for the success of the mission. Challenge yourselves everyday.
Tardiness, cutting corners, putting things off until the last minute. Has this been the pattern of your work ethic? If we break our moral and ethical codes, why have them? And why enforce it on others? Let’s set the tone of “Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing” by being the example first.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Don’t wait for your NCO to do it. You do it.
Let’s encourage each other throughout our chain of influence. Let’s focus on the “Main Thing,” losing sight of the pettiness and Bravo Sierra that sometimes plagues our work spaces.
As we do this, we’ll continue to bring honor, courage, and commitment to the grand prestige of what it means to be a veteran as we celebrate the holiday, as well as the Marine Corps Birthday. Happy 237th birthday, Marines!