“Now, if you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do.”
—Gen. George S. Patton
In his book Patton’s Principles, Porter Williamson recalls several of the general’s pronouncements concerning the value of a healthy mind and body. Patton demanded that every soldier run a mile every day, twenty-five years before jogging became popular. He warned his officers to stay away from desks; they were to be out talking with the troops. Too much desk work, according to Patton, soured the brain. Patton taught that one must exercise beyond the point of exhaustion to gain superior strength and stamina. To overcome the weakness of one’s body, the mind must play its part. Patton encouraged his troops to gain mental strength from daily readings of the Bible. When it was time for battle, he believed, the mind must be in charge of the body, since the body will always give up first.
Patton’s troops were some of the most feared and respected of World War II. Many times, enemy soldiers would purposely arrange to surrender to Patton’s units, since that was considered to be no disgrace. Patton demanded more physical fitness from those under his command than did any other leader. That emphasis on health gave his soldiers advantages over enemy troops that would become exhausted in battle.
Today, we know that physical fitness is an important component of our own ability to face the “battles” of daily life. Exercise and diet directly influence our mental health and our ability to effectively carry out our activities.
Consider This: Is your life controlled by aches, pains, and tiredness—or by a mental determination to reach your life goals?
Title : A Daily Dose of the American Dream. Copyright © 1998 by Alan C. Elliott. Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1999, Parsons Technology, Inc.