Skipper Trick #4: Tap Your Guts


Skippers excel at tough choices, at sticking their necks out. These acts include battle charges and life changes, and though they’re far from easy, they’re soon done. Not so the little choices.

Each day, you face the simple, almost thoughtless choices of whether to start your work once you arrive at your desk, whether to put off that project that doesn’t have a deadline again, whether to let your little one watch Thomas the Tank Engine right after he gets up because you’re tired or to be a playful dad–easy decisions, right? Conceptually, maybe. But these are discipline choices, not gut decisions. Which brings us to Skipper Trick #3: Tap Your Guts.

The Goal

By tapping your guts, you make each minor decision feel like a major one, and it becomes more valuable to you. Because it is valuable, and you know it. In fact, if an act isn’t part of your family’s goals, then it’s either recreation or waste. Some recreation is good, but it should fit in with family goals. Therefore, if it’s not waste, it’s valuable. So your goal is to value the little decisions.

What could be more menial than digging trenches? But how they changed World War 1!

So how do you tap your guts? Well, you follow the trick.

The Trick

  1. Look at the war. Your little choice is not a world-changer right? It’s not the whole war–it’s hardly even a battle. But it is. Look at any war. It was won by several key battles. The battles were won by several commanders. Those commanders depended on unique soldiers. Those soldiers depended on their weapons. Those weapons depended on being cleaned and properly stored. The whole war depends on soldiers choosing to clean their weapons and a hundred other tiny, insignificant decisions. See where this is going? See your little decision in its place in the big war. This opens your guts to tapping.

    No wider view of the entire war could be gathered than in the President's meeting with his War Cabinet.

    No wider view of the entire war could be gathered than in the President’s meeting with his War Cabinet.

  2. Listen to the battle speech. The great battle speeches of history focus on the importance of…you guessed it…the coming battle. They inspire. Find something that inspires you to charge. If you’ve got nothing, enjoy the Robert Burns poem below. This is the actual guts-tapping.

    Speeches are best given before the enemy starts shooting.

    Speeches are best given before the enemy starts shooting.

  3. Approach your weapon. And clean that sucker, knowing that you’ve got the guts to face this little thing, because that’s what makes you a great soldier.

A Speech for Scots

This Robert Burns poem takes the voice of Robert the Bruce as he admonishes his soldiers to be brave before the Battle of Bannockburn. Credit goes to for the transcription as well as the translation of Scotch words. Be inspired.

Robert Bruce’s March To Bannockburn

Robert Burns

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to Victorie!

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
See the front o’ battle lour;
See approach proud Edward’s power-
Chains and Slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a Slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha, for Scotland’s King and Law,
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Free-man stand, or Free-man fa’,
Let him on wi’ me!

By Oppression’s woes and pains!
By your Sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!-
Let us Do or Die!