Lesson # 17 from Starship Troopers

Today, we’re going to cover the seventeenth lesson I learned from the book Starship Troopers. This is the seventeenth lesson in the 17-lesson mini-series.  If you haven’t read the previous post yet, please do so right now and try to follow it in order.

Lesson # 17:  There is No “I” in Team

Quote: “Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part…and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.”

starship troopers bookMy Take: There is no “I” in team.  I learned this concept in high school sports and in the Army.  Yes, you are a unique individual.  But when you serve in the military you are part of the team.  And it’s no longer all about YOU.  You have yourself, the people you lead, your peers, and the people you work for (and your country).  While your needs are important, the most important thing is the success of the team.

That means you need to be a team player.  Sometimes, you might have to sacrifice some of your personal desires for the overall benefit of the team.  Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do for the overall benefit of the team.  Heck, there might even come a point in time where you need to sacrifice YOUR LIFE for the greater good.

You won’t get very far in the military if you only focus on you.  Yes, you need goals.  Yes, you need to get the right jobs, go to the right skills, and stay technically and tactically proficient.  But you also need to realize that everything YOU do effects your team.  And your contributions an dedication to your team are much more important than your personal desires.

Here are a few tips to be a good team player:

1.  Do what you can to help your unit succeed

2.  Take care of your boss and make their life easier

3.  Be a servant leader to the people you lead

4.  Help out your peers whenever possible

Just remember that when you signed your name to the dotted line to “serve” your country it is no longer about YOU.  Instead, it is about what you can do for your country (and your boss, followers and peers).

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

4 thoughts on “Lesson # 17 from Starship Troopers”

  1. In any military position it is important to work as a team, not as an individual. Although, like you said, every person is allowed to be an individual, but the goal of any Soldier is to work as a team with his or her unit.

    Similarly to my husband in the Air Force, he was a Weapons Loader on the A-10s, which involved a 3-man crew which he oversaw. If any of his men did not work as a team the bombs would never of been loaded, slowing the process of the mission being accomplished.

    This is a great example as to why working as a team is important, especially in a military setting.

  2. Faith A. Coleman

    The truths that you’ve discussed in your lessons are so foundational, so essential. Do the enlisted receive instruction in these truths overtly, at whatever level of understanding, language and examples that can impart the lessons to any person doing the learning. Are the soldiers drilled in these principles like they’re drilled in logistics? The public education system could benefit. Maybe we should be teaching kids these principles all the way through high school; make the students demonstrate that they have understanding of the principles, know how they’re put to use and show with action that the truths have been internalized to such a degree that they become automatic.

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