Traits from Military Lives We Should Apply Ourselves

Frankly, the holiday weekend had us feeling inspired. So, I put together this short list of good traits we should apply to our lives taken from some of my favorite Military Biographies.


  • Continual LearningInside Delta Force , Eric L. Haney

delta collage

The Inspiration for the award winning show, The Unit; Inside Delta Force is the story of Eric L. Haney’s service in the covert Military Unit known as Delta Force.

Although this book is loaded with interesting facts, one concept that we could apply to our own lives is that of continuous learning. Once recruits have passed the rigorous testing to be selected as a member of the elite counter-terrorist unit, they immediately begin to train continuously. The extensive training can include weapons and explosives, hostage negotiations, and even studying the layout for commercial airplanes. Any time not spent in combat is spent in gaining new knowledge. This could be learning from professional thieves how to break into buildings and hot-wire cars, or mastering new languages and customs to blend into foreign countries. In a sense, surviving the selection process does not mean that the soldier is elite, but simply that he is ready to learn.

In life, it is said that the only constant is change. We either improve or we become complacent. If we improve just 1% a day, that’s 365% improvement over a year. Now, imagine the life of one dedicated to continual learning over a span of 5, 10, or 20 years!


  • Taking Ownership -The Heart and the Fist , Eric Greitens

the heart and the fist pic

The Heart and the Fist chronicles the journey of Rhodes Scholar Humanitarian Eric Greitens who decided that the most effective way for him to help the world was to become a Navy Seal.

Like many of us, Eric saw the problems of the world and thought, “someone should do something.” However, Eric states that when we say, “someone should do something, we really mean SOMEONE ELSE.” But Eric wouldn’t pass the world’s problems off to someone else to solve. He understood that this is his planet too, and these were also his problems to solve. This is called taking ownership.

Whether at home or in the workplace, how many times have you had the same thoughts that someone should do or fix something? Next time remember that you’re someone too. Take Ownership of the situation, find places to solve problems. Be the change that you want to see.


  • Resilience and Making Peace -Unbroken , Laura Hillenbrand

unbroken pic

This is one of my all-time favorite books. Unbroken details the incredible odyssey of Olympic Runner turned WW2 Aviator Louis Zamperini.

What he and other veterans endured, I never want to be that brave.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but to be honest, I was a bit put off by the PG13 rating. Frankly, there was nothing about their time in the Japanese POW camps that could be considered PG13.

One thing we can learn from our veterans is resilience.

During Louis’ journey, he was shot down, stranded at sea, chemically tested on, tortured, used as a propaganda tool, and nearly executed countless times. Because of his Olympic background, he was singled out for humiliation, including mental and physical torture.

But he was resilient! He decided he would not be broken. Even if he had lost hope, he never gave up. He always moved forward.

Eventually, the war was over and Louis headed home.

Back at home, his Olympic dreams over, Louis struggled to find a purpose. He suffered from nightmares, alcoholism, limited career options, and severe PTSD. To add insult, Louis’ captors would not be tried in court. He, like many WW2 Veterans, felt as though the U.S. Administration had betrayed them by not prosecuting but instead recruiting Japanese War criminals as part of Operation Paperclip.

His main antagonist, who mocked the Geneva Conventions, was even allowed to visit New York.

Eventually though, Louis was able to make his peace and move on with his life. He had seen that even in the darkest hours it felt as though someone had always been looking out for him. In fact, the odds of him surviving were near impossible. He made his peace and in a sense, by letting go, he was able to find redemption. Though he had been through so much, he still had an entire life ahead of him.

The war had been brutal, but the war ended in 1945. Louis would live a full, happy, and honorable life until his passing in 2014.

My best,

Justin Flores

If you’d like to read any of the books listed above, they are all available for download here at

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