How I Beat the Military Promotion System

AKA: Do the thing they fear the most

Many service members, when asked about military promotion study material, say it’s a great way to cure insomnia.

And I agree.

The study references and exams cover military doctrine, history, uniform standards, and a host of other exciting topics for your next social engagement.

So many avoid it. They either don’t study at all or put in only a last minute cram session or two.

But I was behind in promotions. Having just lost my first stripe, my peers were well ahead of me in rank. I didn’t have the luxury of not studying.

So I learned to do what others feared.

They avoided the chapter on doctrine and joint planning, I spent days in those parts.

They crammed for a week, I planned and executed a 4-month study program.

They said “It’s only my first time testing”, I said “It’s my only time testing.”

I learned, by focusing on the task others avoided, a lesson about success in any hard endeavor. There is significant advantage in doing what others fear and avoid. And it’s only “hard” the first couple times.

And another benefit? In the end, I spent less time studying because I was successful the first time, every time.

What task do others avoid? How can you become the best at it?



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