The Way Forward Book Review

the way forward book review

The Way Forward Book Review

I read The Way Forward by Robert O’Neill and Dakota Meyer to answer a question that seems to weigh on me and has been for several years now.  My question that I always ask and wonder about is; what does it take mentally, spiritually and emotionally to be in SpecOps?  And with a little bit of self-depreciation thrown in, what do these people have that I don’t or better yet, what have they fostered in themselves that I did not?  Especially in my youth.  I am reminded of the story from American Sniper where Chris Kyle’s father tells him about wolves, sheep and sheepdogs.  Which one am I?  Which one do I want to be, emulate, be known for?

I too want to create a lasting legacy.  I mean who doesn’t?  And life comes at us with all sorts of challenges.  Life is literally a choose your own adventure book.  Life is a game.  How will you play?

The Way Forward:  Preparation and Duty

The book is broken up in to two parts.  Part one is called Preparation.  In it we meet Robert O’Neill and Dakota Meyer.  Robert O’Neill is a former Navy SEAL and the man who killed Osama Bin Ladin.  Dakota Meyer is a US Marine and Medal of Honor recipient.  Both these men have fought for our country and paid a very heavy price for our freedoms and way of life.  They also both do extensive work to help veterans transition back to civilian life.

Preparation shows us how these men grew up and became who they are today.  What moved them toward service.

On the farm I learned to do what I do best – I take care of things.”  -Dakota

We also learn about their work ethics.  From Rob…

…Perfection comes from practice.  Mastering the basics.  Repeating something a hundred times, until you have it perfect.  Being the first one in the gym and the last one when the lights go out.”

This sets the tone for the theme of the book and Part Two called Duty where they also define what the subtitle means, “Master Life’s Toughest Battles and Create Your Lasting Legacy”

Should you read The Way Forward?

Yes.  Hindsight 20/20, here’s a few mindsets that the book gives us that I can’t help but wonder what life would have been like had a had these understandings years ago…

The only way to have success in the future is to have failures in the present.

Why are we so afraid of failing when literally everyone who has ever created any real success in their life failed over and over again along their road to success?  Babe Ruth was the home run king and strike out king at the same time.  Failure is an integral part of success.  Getting it wrong is an essential part of getting it right.  And there is a massive difference between failing and being a failure.

Success doesn’t happen spontaneously; it happens through grinding repetition.  Doing the same thing over and over until it becomes second nature.

Can we embrace the repetition and let go of the need for variety for the sake of variety?  How many three pointers did Jordan practice?  How many jabs has Floyd Mayweather thrown in his career?  Grant Cardone has said, “my overnight success took 30 years.”  And at Billionaire status, he still claims to be “waiting for his big break.”  Success will happen because of you, not just too you.

Just because something is hard and hurts doesn’t mean quitting is the right thing to do.

This is how you survive BUD/S and this finish a workout or make another sales call.  This is how you get sober, stop smoking cigarettes, salvage a relationship and this is how you get right with your higher power.  We quit on ourselves everyday in little ways and it adds up, it withers away on you until you succumb.  OR you as Dakota put it, “facing forward and staring down problems and fears.  Front toward enemy.”

Who’s your enemy?

For those of us who are NOT an active duty Marine or SEAL, who’s your “enemy”?  How does a civilian operate with “front toward enemy”?  Are you at war with yourself or a part of yourself?  Do you have goals and dreams your pursuing and yet something seems to be holding you back?  How do you stay focused on forward?

That’s where the simple and pragmatic approached outlined for us by Rob and Dakota come in truly handy.  Have a pen, bring a note pad, get the highlighter and dig in.  Here’s one example.  For the rest, you’ll need to read the book.  Personally, I read the book while listening to the audible at the same time.  Does wonders for my comprehension.

5 Things That Have Nothing To Do With Luck

What does it take to make your own luck?  Well, according to Robert O’Neill who’s nickname is The Luckiest Unlucky Man in America, it’s these 5 things…

  1. Preparation
  2. Courage
  3. Honor
  4. Patriotism
  5. Brotherhood

So it’s worth asking the hard look in the mirror questions at this point.  What do these words mean to you?  When was the last time you looked these words up in the dictionary?  How would you rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 with these words?  Who do you know who exemplifies these words?

The Way Forward Book Review:  Check Yourself

Even if you never read this book.  You should, but even if you don’t, do take the time to look at these 5 words and examine how they fit into your life.

  • Are you preparing everyday to meet life’s challenges and opportunities?
  • Courage does not exist in the absence of fear so are you doing things that push you out of your comfort zone?  Things that stretch you?
  • Where in your life are you letting your honor off the hook?  “You’re excuses”, as Grant Cardone says, “might be legit, but they won’t change your life.”
  • Love of land and country and the willingness to fight for it and to protect a way of life is you fighting for causes and ideals that are greater than just you.  It is, regardless of how the media spins it right now, virtuous and correct.
  • Who’s in your circle?  You are the sum of the people you surround yourself with.  Inventory and audit who’s in your circle.
  • BONUS:  Dakota has his rule of two things.  Do something daily to make you better and do something daily to make the world better.

Remember, simple does not equate with easy.  In fact, sometimes, the simpler it is, the harder it is.  And ultimately at the end, it’s what we do, not what we say that counts.  Read this book, you’ll be better for it.