The 5.0 Individual: an essay
The Five point Zero Individual
Inspired by Jocko Podcast Episode 174
Sometimes you have to pause and wonder at your life.
For some, the pause is quick and the trick is done.
For others, as for me, we got to halt the normalcy of life and climb-out just above the horizon on the Earth to see the curve of the universe and think about everything and nothing.
The latest Jocko Podcast episode was soul-nourishing: It’s a 2 by 4, smack-in-your-face message. Jocko took the Marine Corps evaluation form and dissected it to its audiences. The Navy SEALs have the 5.0 numbering system, where 5.0 is the highest score possible per section. But here’s the kicker: even among the best of the best of the US Navy, the instructors can only give 5.0 to one individual in the platoon. Even if every one is the best, they still have to rank the whole group, from the best to the average. The Marines take it one step further: it is a qualified marine or one of the few exceptionally qualified marines.
And there can only be a few at the top, the eminently qualified marine. That’s where I want to be.
The last five years of my life were so intense, so filled with emotions and adventures and loneliness that I had to come to a stop and take a rest and assess where I am at. What a better way than reflecting about your place in the cosmos than a US NAVY evaluation form! I read the highest possible score of every aspect of the form and decided that these will be my new benchmark of Excellence. It’s easy to be an overachiever in a society where mediocrity is encouraged. I guess I let myself believed that I was great. Call it ego problem, but when you travel the world in a Jeep and did 90% of your bucket list at 27 years old, it’s easy to think of yourself as someone that made it. So this list is a OH-YEAH-YOU-THINK-SO!?
Performance: “Results far surpass expectations. Recognizes and exploits new resources; creates opportunities. Emulated; sought after as an expert with influence beyond unit. Impact significant; innovative approaches to problems produce significant gains in quality and efficiency.
Proficiency: “True expert in field. Knowledge and skills impact far beyond those of peers. Translates broad-based education and experience into forward thinking, innovative actions. Makes immeasurable impact on mission accomplishments. Peerless teacher, selflessly imparts expertise to subordinates, peers and seniors.
Courage: “Uncommon bravery and capacity to overcome obstacles and inspire others in the face of moral dilemma or life-threatening danger. Demonstrated under the most adverse conditions. Selfless. Always places conscience over competing interests regardless or physical or personal consequences.
This has to be my favorite on the list. Courage. Cowardliness is easy and cheap, so that’s why the masses buy it at discount. Just like you don’t test an umbrella in the sun but in the rain, you test courage by being in the field.
Effectiveness under stress: “Demonstrates seldom-matched presence of mind under the most demanding circumstances. Stabilizes any situation through the resolute and timely application of direction, focus and personal presence.”
Initiative: “Highly motivated and proactive. Displays exceptional awareness of surroundings and environment. Uncanny ability to anticipe mission requirements and quickly formulate original, far-reaching solutions. Always takes decisive, effective action.”
Leading subordinates: “Promotes creativity and energy among subordinates by striking the ideal balance of direction and delegation. Achieves highest levels of performance from subordinates by encouraging individual initiative. Engenders willing subordination, loyalty, and trust that allow subordinates to overcome their perceived limitations. Personal leadership fosters highest levels of motivation and morale, ensuring mission accomplishment even in the most difficult circumstances.”
Developing Subordinates: “Widely recognized and emulated as a teacher, coach and leader. Any Marine would desire to serve with this Marine because they know they will grow personally and professionally. Subordinate and unit performance far surpassed expected results due to MRO's mentorship and team building talents. Attitude toward subordinate development is infectious, extending beyond the unit. “
Setting the example: “Model Marine, frequently emulated. Exemplary conduct, behavior, and actions are tone-setting. An inspiration to subordinates, peers, and seniors. Remarkable dedication to improving self and others. “
Ensuring well-being of subordinates: “Noticeably enhances subordinates well-being, resulting in a measurable increase in unit effectiveness. Maximizes unit and base resources to provide subordinates with the best support available. Proactive approach serves to energize unit members to "take care of their own," thereby correcting potential problems before they can hinder subordinates' effectiveness. Widely recognized for techniques and policies that produce results and build morale. Builds strong family atmosphere. Puts motto Mission first, Marines always , into action. “
Communications Skills: “Highly developed facility in verbal communication. Adept in composing written documents of the highest quality. Combines presence and verbal skills which engender confidence and achieve understanding irrespective of the setting, situation, or size of the group addressed. Displays an intuitive sense of when and how to listen. “
Intellect and Wisdom: “Dedicated to life-long learning. As a result of active and continuous efforts, widely recognized as an intellectual leader in professionally related topics. Makes time for study and takes advantage of all resources and programs. Introduces new and creative approaches to services issues. Engages in a broad spectrum of forums and dialogues. “
Decision making ability: “Widely recognized and sought after to resolve the most critical, complex problems. Seldom matched analytical and intuitive abilities; accurately foresees unexpected problems and arrives at well-timed decisions despite fog and friction. Completely confident approach to all problems. Masterfully strikes a balance between the desire for perfect knowledge and greater tempo. “
Judgment: “Decisions reflect exceptional insight and wisdom beyond this Marine's experience. Counsel sought by all; often an arbiter. Consistent, superior judgment inspires the confidence of seniors. “
And so these are the points that will be thrown as buoys in the ocean of my life. As the fog of war creeps and the enemy sneaks behind the walls of my life, these beacons of Excellence will hopefully help me navigate and stay away from the dangerous offing that offers laziness and ease of existence.
You have a beautiful mind and limitless power of creativity. Any of the worlds are possible, it is just a matter of making steps in the right direction. The right direction is often what your heart tells you. It’s a soul-feeling. It’s a gut-feeling. Burn off the dead woods and move forward. Print the list above if you need to.
People are not where they want to be in life because they don’t know where they want to be!
Just like many of us do a five years plan to make things happen on the physical plane of existence, we need to also do a five years plan of our own character.
It is so easy to bs ourselves in thinking that we are great. The list above tells me otherwise. I got work to do. I got a five years plan to do for my own little self. It’s a non-stop fight against mediocrity, it really is.
Thanks for stopping by!
ps: Below is the original evaluation form employed by the Marines’ instructors.