Instant Gratification Nation?

“Modern man is conditioned to expect instant gratification, but any success or triumph realized quickly, with only marginal effort, is necessarily shallow. Meaningful achievement takes time, hard work, persistence, patience, proper intent and self-awareness. The path to success is punctuated by failure, consolidation, and renewed effort.”
– Mark Twain

This past weekend I had the honor of sitting on the Service Academy Nomination Committee for a local Congressman. This panel of community leaders and local service academy graduates help to interview, rank and recommend high school seniors applying to the various academies for a congressional nomination.   

Wow!!  I was impressed!  

Yes, the resumes were strong – high SAT scores, ranked in the top 5% of their class, student council president, stand out athletes, team Captains, strong letters of recommendation, and the list goes on.  

But it wasn’t their packets that impressed me the most; it was their communication skills. Yes, I know that they have practiced and prepared, but the ability to build rapport, answer questions and communicate to a very diverse (background, age, gender, race, etc.) panel all over a Zoom interview, incredible. I left the interviews thinking about two things: 

  1. No way I would get into West Point today, and
  2. Our Nation’s future is in good hands 

But the more we asked the question of “where do you see yourself in 10 years” (4 years of school plus 5 years Active Duty service obligation), I couldn’t help leaving the weekend reflecting on the last 20 years. 20 years since I graduated high school, and I was in their shoes. 10 years ago, I was getting off active duty, getting married, transitioning to the reserves, and starting my “business career.” 10 years before that, I was applying to service academies, graduating from high school, and eventually starting my Plebe year at West Point. Boy, does time fly.  

While most of our time is spent helping our organizations look out into the future, take the time to look into your future. It’s the end of the year, and 2020 has thrown us all our punches. Take out a sheet of paper and remind yourself what you want to accomplish in the next 10 years, but spend more time on what you want to accomplish in the next year. 

And as for New Year Resolutions. Make them Dec 11th Resolutions. Don’t quit or start some extreme resolution like “I’m never eating a cookie again” or “never drinking again” find moderation and build. You will be surprised what you can accomplish over 10 years if you focus on hard work, persistence, patience, proper intent, self-awareness… and renewed effort. Take the time now to renew your effort. Don’t wait until Dec 26th or Jan 1st.  

BJ Kraemer, President