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“Politics is when people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react rather than based on what they really think.” -Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a team.

“We are men of action. Lies do not become us.” – Westley, The Princess Bride

There is something fundamentally connected with truth-telling and warrior culture.

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Last weekend, I watched the movie “Lone Survivor”. If you’re not familiar, this is the true account by former US Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell about Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, during which the other members of his team were killed in action. Among many other impressive aspects of the movie, one thing I noticed was the communication between these elite warriors. They never once skirted the truth. They never once voiced their opinion with vague passivity. Their communication was characterized unwaveringly with hard truths spoken without hesitation and without regard for personal interest. Their words displayed radical commitment to the mission and to each other. Like so much of their other training, their own comfort was simply not a consideration when speaking. They spoke like their communication had the power of life or death, because it did. They understood the value of their words – both for the accomplishment of their goal, and for the support of one another. Everything they said was true. And everything they said was beneficial. Very little of it was easy. All of it was necessary.

  • Do you courageously speak the truth even when it is scary or painful, or do you skirt the hard truths because they are uncomfortable?
  • Do your words build people up and equip them to fight their own battles well, or do your words serve your own interests?
  • Do you tell people what they want to hear, or what they need to hear?
  • Is what you say both true and beneficial? Do you say it without hesitation or passivity?

There are very few ways we can ever hope to follow the example of such heroic warfighters. This may be an acceptable place to start.



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