“The Complete Warrior”


Eric Greitens writes in Reslience of once being tasked by a commanding officer to gather thoughts on SEAL training. He wrote, relative to the fact that training “embodied the possibility of transforming the young man focused on himself into  a warrior built to protect society.”

Greitens distinguishes between the child and the warrior – or I guess we might say the man-child  or woman child and the warrior….


The Complete Warrior


When the child is skillful, he boasts.

When the Warrior has a skill, he teaches.


When the child is strong, he attacks the weak.

When the Warrior is strong , he protects the weak.


The child criticizes others to make himself feel better.

The Warrior is his own most demanding critic.


The child brandishes symbols as a substitute for substance.

The Warrior knows that it is not his position, his rank, his education, or his warfare pin that makes him a man, but his honor.


The child serves himself.

The Warrior serves others.


The child relishes gossip.

The Warrior speaks through action.


The child never makes mistakes.

The Warrior admits his mistakes and corrects them.


The child’s character is cloudy.

The Warrior’s character is clear.


If the child can recognize that he needs teaching,  he may one day become a Warrior.

When the Warrior meets the child, he seeks to teach them.


Resilience, p. 235


So much is said between the lines here. The stuff of daily life of most of us, who have the capacity to act as fools or like children throughout our lives. It’s how often we do, and whether we are even aware of it, that really makes the difference.

My only quibble is the last line. I’m thinking Greitens wrote this as a younger man, and I wonder what he might say today. While I definitely agree that if the child can recognize the need for teaching, he can become a warrior, I am not sure it is the job of the warrior to seek to teach…for the truth is for some people teaching is simply another form of the chikd’s boasting, the criticizing, and brandishing of symbols.

It’s job of the child to seek teaching….and accept it.

I’d put it:

“When the child meets a Warrior, he honestly seeks instruction.”




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