How the Army Helped Me Become a Better Person

I spent 15 years of my life in the Army and really enjoyed the experience.  If it wasn’t for the Army, I wouldn’t be where I am today! It’s helped make me into a man, a patriotic citizen, a good businessman, a good father and good husband.  What I want to do in the paragraphs below is share some of the most valuable lessons I learned in the Army.  These are life lessons that helped mold me into the person I am today.  I hope you find the information helpful.

# 1 Leadership – The Army taught me leadership.  It taught me how to lead others and how to lead myself.  It taught me what I am good at, what I’m not good at, how to be a doer and how to get things done.  I had a few of these qualities before I joined the Army, but the Army really “fine tuned” them.  Few young folks outside the military get put into leadership positions so early on in life.  I’ve supervised up to 127 people personally and when you are put in that situation, you learn a lot about leadership.

# 2 Personal Accountability – The Army taught me to accept responsibility for my actions, thoughts and decisions.  Of all of the lessons on this page, this one might just be the most important one.  So many people in America spend their entire lives blaming someone else for their shortcomings and position in life.  In the Army, I was taught to man up and accept responsibility for what I said and did, and for the actions of the people I led.  This lesson has really helped me a lot in life.  After all, I’ve never met a successful person with a victim mentality.

# 3 To Be Grateful – I’ve traveled to about 20 different countries, thanks to Uncle Sam. During my travels, I learned a valuable lesson.  I learned how good we have it here in America.  I learned that if you have a roof over your head, three meals a day, clean water, a hot shower, and a toilet to sit on, you are doing better than MOST of the world.  I’ve learned to appreciate my freedoms and standard of living.  Had I never left America and visited anywhere else, I might not have this appreciation.

# 4 Purpose – Another helpful life lesson I learned in the Army was my purpose in life.  I quickly discovered what I didn’t want, and as the time passed by, I learned what I did want!  The Army gave me clarity.  When you are in high stress, life or death situations, you get clarity about what matters most.

# 5 Confidence – The Army taught me confidence.  I learned how to look myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am.  I learned how to look others in the eyes when I talked to them.  I learned how to make decisions and give orders and not second guess myself.

# 6 The Importance of Family – My wife and I spent almost 17 months apart while I was deployed.  Everyone says family is important, but it’s not until you and your family have been apart for a long time that you really appreciate them.  It’s true, you don’t appreciate things as much as you should until it is gone!  Never underestimate how important family is.

# 7 Patriotism – The Army taught me to be a patriot and love my country.  Most people have no clue how good we have it here in America!  I remember as a young child spending time with my grandfather and some other WW2 vets.  I remember how patriotic they were.  I always wondered why other people weren’t the same way.  It wasn’t until I served my country that I understood why they were such patriots.

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks.  These are seven ways the Army helped me be a better person.  I hope you can takeaway a few points from this post to help make you a better person.

On a side note, I would love to hear from you.  How has the Army helped YOU become a better person?  Leave a comment below to let me know.  I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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6 thoughts on “How the Army Helped Me Become a Better Person”

  1. You mentioned being grateful. It is so true; we all have many things to be grateful for no matter our circumstances. Just being able to breathe alone is something to be grateful for.

    I am grateful for all the experiences I have had in life, both good and bad, because they all have helped me grow into the man I am today.

    The Army was a huge help in making me grow; yes, it was tough, but a great experience.

  2. Theresa Williams

    Patriotism, Purpose, and Gratitude. These are the big three for me in my life and how being an Army wife has made me a better person. I’ve always loved our country and been loyal, but never was I so patriotic until I married a serviceman. My father and his father have/had always been big patriots and they passed that on to me. I have always been proud to be an American but now, sometimes, I am brought to tears of gratitude for being born an American. And now I see that so many of my idols were huge patriots (Walt Disney, Mark Twain)– it’s like patriotism always ran through my veins but just needed a little stimulant to take full form.

  3. I like to think a good career/job is one you can look back on and undoubtedly recognize all of the great benefits it had on your life. Everyone’s goal should be to leave their workplace better than it was when they entered, and the reward in that is that your workplace will help you become a better person than you were when you entered. The seven lessons learned mentioned above are so important to understanding the world and your place in it. The Army, and the military in general, is an excellent way to learn those lessons.

  4. I've always had a hard time telling people what the service did for me. This post summarized many of the things that I've felt as well. I wouldn't have considered myself a particularly patriotic person before I entered the service, but after only a few short years I felt completely connected to all the men and women who had worn the uniform before me. Now, as my career comes closer to the end I am looking a the young men and women and I feel connected to the future generations who will take my post.

    1. There is a bond in the military that civilians will never understand. I see so many merits in military service that I think it should be a requirement for every citizen, no exceptions. Everyone should do SOMETHING to serve their country. It would definitely make a difference in many people’s perspective, how they think and even how they vote!

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