The Institute of Psychiatry hasjust published the resultsfrom the first survey of post-traumatic stress disorder in UK troops serving in Iraq, and found that only around 3% of troops reported suffering from the symptoms of PTSD – lower than the incidence found in police officers or doctors working in casualty.
Today, with email and satellite phones, it’s much easier to communicate with loved ones back home. But you can have too much of a good thing. I’ve listened to many soldiers talking to their families, and problems are often presented to husbands, like ‘little Johnny’s refusing to go to school’, which he is powerless to do anything about. That is not good for people.
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.It’s also a technique which Stephen Covey teaches in chapter one of his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, in which he talks about recognizing what elements are in your ‘circle of influence’ (where you can genuinely influence how they turn out) and what elements are in your ‘circle of concern’ (you might worry about them, but there’s not much you can do about them right now).
Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control. Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies in is a giant step in becoming proactive.
Or, as the US Army’s Ultimate Leadership Manual puts it: “It is critical for leaders to remain calm under pressure and to expend energy on things they can positively influence and not worry about things they cannot affect.”