Cheating and the big picture

I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression, “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” As a BUDS instructor I’d love it when a student would say this in attempt to excuse their failure.

First place losers

It became a pattern, those who uttered that phrase and similar, we’re not use to winning. I saw this as a person who was not willing to put the work in, to be ready. Instead they’d seek out a short cut in an effort to avoid the difficulty or challenges. Hey, it sucks when your wet and cold and we’ve all done it, but are you better for it now? There are tons of excuses, but the one I see the most is again those who aren’t ready. I think it’s impossible to be ready for every contingency, but that doesn’t stop us from working.

Human nature

People will cheat, it’s human nature. Now ask yourself how that makes you feel when you learn the doctor performing surgery on your child wasn’t ready for their exams and took short cuts. What about the pilot who fails to log in extra hours. Are there professions it’s ok to cheat? Is it ok if one of my teammates cheats on his PT standards and can’t carry his load or gun decks their shooting qualifications? How does that help my team or teammates. More importantly, how does that help achieve mission success.

What if there weren’t any standards???

Not everything has to be a  life or death struggle regarding cheating. Sometimes it’s as simple as making a lift or finishing a workout as prescribed. At some point this conversation will circle back to standards. You either meet the standards or you don’t. Standards are what keep us all honest, they are worthless if there is no integrity attached to them. With the Crossfit games behind us, how would they look if there wasn’t a standard of movement?

Life long selection

Whether you like it or not we are constantly being evaluated and life is one long selection process. If you cheat on the little things, will you cheat on the bigger one or where do you draw the line? If you feel it’s ok to cheat then do you just blast the total stranger because “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying” and you didn’t want to wait for them to show lethal intentions. What about the person who shoots at the fleeing robber, is that cheating? Nobody said it would be easy. 

Integrity check

Now that everyone is on their seats just waiting to delve in to anger filled rebuke. Ask yourself if you cheat and if it is ok? Of course, we could go to the extreme and say using some equipment is cheating, night vision is an example. Is it hypocritical to think of this as tactical exploitation. Mull that over a bit. My point to all of this is don’t fall into the party line when it comes to performance. Most people can’t meet minimum standards not because they are not skilled, but because they don’t want to put the work in to meet them. So, they justify why it is ok to cut corners, shave time or count misses. Then of course there is that whole integrity thing we as an industry seem to find more of a convenience than a bedrock principle. 

The purpose of this article was to force people to think and consider their actions. Yes, people cheat. The question is did you cheat because you failed to prepare and train? If so, then why?

"Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching" C.S. Lewis British Novelist

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