“There's a temptation for all of us to blame failures on factors outside our control — the enemy was ten feet tall, we weren't treated fairly, or it was an impossible task to begin with. There's also comfort in doubling down on proven processes regardless of their efficacy. Few of us are criticized if we faithfully do what has worked many times before. But feeling comfortable or dodging criticism should not be our measure of success. There's likely a place in paradise for people who tried hard, but what really matters is succeeding. If that requires you to change, that's your mission.”

General Stanley A. McChrystal, U.S. Army, ret.
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

“For inspiration I would turn again and again to Lieutenant Jason C. Redman, a Navy SEAL who had been shot seven times and had undergone nearly two dozen surgeries. He had placed a hand drawn sign on the door to his room at Bethesda Naval Hospital. It read, ‘ATTENTION. To all who enter here: If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20% further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere. From: The Management.’”

former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

“I found a nice, medium-sized wave, possibly the first of a set. I caught it, shaky with relief, then I managed to fall off. I popped up, annoyed, and found myself looking at a wall of water that seemed to have marched out of my worst nightmares. It was already pulling water from the shelf, pulling me toward it, and there was no chance at all that I would escape it. It was the biggest wave I had ever seen at Pequena, and it was already starting to break. I swam toward it hard and dove early, but it plucked me out of the depths and beat me until I screamed in hopeless protest. When I finally surfaced there was another one behind it, just as big, just as malignant. There seemed to be a bit more water on the shelf. I swam to the bottom and tried to get a grip on a rough slab of rock but was instantly ripped away. Another long, thorough beating. I tried to cover my head with my arms in case it dashed me against the bottom. It didn't. I eventually resurfaced. There was another one. It was bigger than the others, but the important thing about it was that it sucked all the water off the shelf. Boulders started surfacing in front of me, and then I was standing in a field of rocks in rushing, waist-deep water. I did not understand where I was. A field of rocks had risen out of the ocean, quite far from shore, at a break I thought I knew. In a lifetime of surfing, I had never seen anything like this. The wave mutated into a hideous, boiling, two-story wall of white water, almost without breaking. It had run out of water to draw from. I had a moment in which to decide what to do before it hit me. I picked a fissure in the wall and threw myself up and into it. The vague hope was that if I wriggled in deep enough the white water might swallow me rather than simply smash me to pieces on the rocks. Something like that occurred apparently. My feet were sliced up from the leap but I did not hit the bottom as I rag-dolled shoreward in the bowels of the wave, and when I next surfaced I was in deep water, in the channel East of Pequena, safe.”

William Finnegan
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life