On Being Operational

My family places a premium on being operational. My Father traded on that quality his entire life to be successful and continues to do so.

What exactly is operational?

It’s hard to give it a precise definition. Street smarts. Accomplishing a task, despite no clear path to success? Knowing when to take a clear answer to victory, even if it isn’t the prettiest answer because you know that you only have two choices – success and failure.

Allow me to give you a small example.

I had a month until hell week – my first week of military school. I needed proper facilities to work out in, to do my push ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. I could do all the push ups I wanted at home of course, but I needed a push up bar and did sit ups a certain way.

I had no real money for a gym membership. My parents weren’t going to buy me one just for me to go for a month.

But I did have an ace up my sleeve. Right before summer transition program, I took advantage of a program a local DC Gym offered – a month’s free membership to try out the gym. I had only been able to take advantage of it for a week.

I walked inside the gym, explained that I was preparing for military school on an army scholarship, and needed a place to work out. I told them I had used their free membership program but was only able to use a week. I asked if there was any chance I could use the remaining three weeks of my trial membership.

And the guy at the counter signed me up.


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