View Full Version : Mindset and Attitude: "Staying positive is a discipline"

Erich G. Simmers
09-28-2010, 02:28 PM
I saw this article, "Staying positive is a discipline (http://www.policeone.com/off-duty/articles/2716540-Staying-positive-is-a-discipline/)," written by Lt. Dan Marcou, in Blackwater Tactical Weekly and I wanted to pass it along. The target audience is law enforcement, but the advice could apply to a number of other professions represented on this forum. Marcou argues that maintaining a positive attitude is not contrary to staying sharp on the street. His message is to resist the seemingly natural worldview "that almost everyone you meet is a substance abuser, a social degenerate, or a criminal." For those operating in a COIN environment or in FID, maintaining the right attitude may not be easy when operating among the local population and with local partners. In this sense, we might substitute those domestic adversaries for "an insurgent, a Taliban supporter, or a terrorist." Ultimately, Marcou advise is to "[g]ive everyone your respect, but no one your trust."

SWAT Officer
with Lt. Dan Marcou
September 22, 2010

Staying positive is a discipline

You do not need to abandon either your street intensity or your commitment to your physical survival in order to have a positive outlook on your chosen career

Most officers start their career as idealistic young rookies ready to catch bad guys and rescue damsels in distress. Inevitably, they’ll meet a cynical, time-scarred veteran who will tell them to “Slow down... you know you can’t make a difference.” He may even add an observation like, “A career in law enforcement is like putting your hand in a bucket of water and pulling it out. When you retire no one will even notice you were here.” This will be the rookie’s first (among countless) invitations to venture down the path of cynicism and negativity.

More at the link...


Erich Simmers

09-28-2010, 03:34 PM
Thanks for sharing this. I think the hardest enemy to face is the emotional fatigue that comes from having to work in a situation that is chronic rather than acute - the tendency to burn out that is faced by ER personnel, COIN warriors, aid workers, law enforcement, educators, and many others. The pressures will vary, the dangers as well, but the resulting despair sounds so similar.

So how do we find the right encouragement? How do we train for THAT kind of "emotional fitness?"

09-29-2010, 09:22 PM
I think the best training is education. Then once you are put in a leadership position start to encourage people to take time off therefore they are capable of remaining focused. IMO many people feel like they need to constantly work without any time off and they quickly get overwhelmed by the events at their job. Which causes they to become negative and only see the bad things.

In conjunction with this I believe that it starts with leadership being happy about where they are at in their careers. If they project their happiness factor then new influential officers/employees will be more prone to adopt a positive attitude because the person they "answer" to and look up to maintains a positive attitude.

Overall the way in which you train this is my sharing and talking about the positive experiences and not talking about the negative ones. Do not hide the negative just don't overemphasis it. Reinforce the reason why they are doing what they are doing; whichever career that might be.

09-30-2010, 07:10 AM
Leadership is more when the more senior staff are NOT HAPPY with their place in the scheme of thing and still continue to lead instead of going down the path of cynicism and pessimism...also happiness can also = complacency and not automatically be an attribute of leadership...

Presley Cannady
10-06-2010, 10:29 PM
So how do we find the right encouragement? How do we train for THAT kind of "emotional fitness?"

I believe it's called a Mud Run.