Personal Development


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Chapter XXIII – Are you a Soldier or a Scout?

I am Jude. This week I pose the question, are you a soldier or a scout?

Julia Galef is the host of the Rationally Speaking podcast, co-founder of The Center for Applied Rationality, and author of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t.

She introduced the concept of “motivated reasoning, which is the way our unconscious motivations, desires and fears impact the way we interpret information. This shapes how we think about ourselves, our relationships and our place in the world. It influences what and who we like, how we vote and what we consider important.

Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs — or a scout, spurred by curiosity?

The Soldier

We often possess a ‘soldier mindset’. Some information, ideas, perspectives feel like our allies and we easily integrate them into our personal belief systems. 

Unfortunately, if we have a soldier mindset, once we adopt them, we feel the need to defend them against any evidence or arguments to the contrary, irrespective of truth or reason. 

Alternate ideas are considered threats and are met with denial, justifications and motivated reasoning. We view any conflicting information as the enemy, and we aim to shoot them down. 

The soldier mindset is based on emotions such as defensiveness and tribalism. 

Simply put, the soldier chooses a side and then sets about defending that position.

The Scout

Conversely, scouts are driven by the desire to find the truth regardless of the starting point. They are curious and are much more interested in getting the situation right than in winning the argument.

The scout mindset provides the drive, not to choose and defend an idea or position against another, but to investigate the truth as honestly and accurately as possible, even if it’s not comfortable or convenient.

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A scout is more likely to enjoy learning new things, adapt to change and explore the unknown. For a soldier, changing their mind is considered a sign of weakness or even defeat. Whereas a scout perceives it as something positive and part of the learning process.

Above all, scouts are grounded, which means their self-worth as a person isn’t tied to whether they are right or wrong about a particular topic.

So I am putting down my weapons and taking off my uniform. I don’t want to be a soldier anymore. I want to be a scout.

I want to demonstrate flexibility and be consistently open to new information and change. I want to maintain a high level of objectivity and consider the value of alternative perspectives. 

Our collective goal should be to challenge what we know and seek truth in all things. Adopting a scout mindset affords us that opportunity, remaining a soldier doesn’t. 

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting

Life coaching is a relatively new vocation. Consequently, many people are unclear about what it is and the potential benefits it can provide.

Unfortunately persons of African descent, have yet to collectively appreciate the potential benefits of life coaching.

To this end, I have created a Facebook group, called The African Nova Scotian Coaching Network to introduce and promote life coaching to Black people throughout the Diaspora and to cultivate a community of change through the transformational power of Life Coaching.

The Network‘ is focused on the unique needs and complex realities of persons of African descent in Nova Scotia, and around the world.

It is a safe, interactive space for certified and prospective life coaches and individuals seeking to benefit from culturally-relevant coaching,

The hope is that it will facilitate lively discussion, active engagement, collaboration and help all of the group members live more meaningful lives. 

The life coaching industry is thriving. It is part of the $2.85 billion global industry of professional coaches. The International Coaches Federation(ICF) estimates there are approximately 71,000 professional coaches worldwide and 23,000 based in North America.

And the profession is growing. Between 2015 and 2019, the number of professional coaches worldwide increased by 33% globally and 33% in North America, based on ICF’s 2020 Global Coaching Study Final Report.

So join ‘The Network’ and explore the benefits life coaching.


Your Next Best Read – The Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

The Ego is the Enemy is the second book I have read by Ryan Holiday. He has written extensively about the benefits of stoicism which is the pursuit of self-mastery and perseverance. 

Stoicism offers an immediate and practical framework to manage life, find tranquility and improve your character. It provides an operating system that deals with the trials of the human condition and reminds people of what is truly important. 

The four fundamental virtues of Stoicism are: Courage, Temperance, Justice and Wisdom.  

In this book the author suggests that often, our biggest problems are not caused by external factors such as other people or circumstances. Instead, they stem from our own attitude, selfishness and self-absorption.

It reveals how our ego holds us back from living the life it convinces us we want and what we can do to overcome it in order to achieve our individual greatness.

Three important themes that resonated with me were: the importance of living with purpose and not passion; the need to always be a student; and the reminder to talk and think less and do more.

What’s Good – Positive Reflections

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to be more mindful during my frosty morning walks. I have turned off the audiobooks, motivational videos and podcasts and have been more attuned to my thoughts and my surroundings. 

I am embracing the quiet and attempting to be more aware of my connection with nature and everything around me. Especially now that the sun is slowly getting warmer and is arriving earlier and earlier everyday.

I have an even greater appreciation for the kaleidoscope of colors that accompany the sunrise and the sounds that are created and carried by the wind.

I am beginning to recognize a few bird calls and I am noticing the subtleties of the changing season. I am paying closer attention to the murder of crows that roost on the Golf Course and to the eagles and hawks, that perch high in the trees and survey the landscape looking for prey.

I am attempting to be more present and intentional and my efforts are being rewarded with beauty, gratitude, a greater sense of connection and peace. The bounty has been fruitful. My mornings have become even more enjoyable and that’s a beautiful thing. I couldn’t ask for more.  

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Public Announcement

I have been managing chronic lower back pain now for as long as I can remember. It’s an ever-present companion that announces itself with my every move. It’s been something that I have had to struggle through and manage, and unfortunately, it’s only gotten worse. 

Approximately six months ago, I decided to undergo back surgery to alleviate some of my symptoms and recently I was given a date. March 15th.

Although I know it’s the right decision, I still have a lot of mixed emotions. If I’m going to be honest, I have fear of the surgery and of the worst case scenarios that I have created in my mind. 

However, I also envision the prospect of moving without pain; being able to ride, hike and run with more freedom and comfort; and having the ability to be even more interactive with my grandchildren. And that makes all of the associated risks, both real and perceived, worthwhile. 

Additionally, I have been trying to determine how to best utilize this ‘forced stop’  during my recovery to improve physically, emotionally and spiritually. I am challenging myself with some thought provoking questions and some corresponding SMART goals. 

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Will I commit to physiotherapy and the tedious suggested exercises that could expedite my recovery? 

Can I develop a daily practice of deep breathing and meditation to mitigate pain and increase focus and productivity?

How do I create a new and improved diet and fitness regime that ultimately results in better overall health? 

What new rituals can I establish to create a meaningful life?

What goals can I accomplish to keep me moving along my path to greater joy and fulfillment?

How can I use this situation to become a better version of myself?

I am going into this with confidence and a positive mindset!!

My hope is that the procedure mitigates some of the discomfort. I am not expecting a miracle, I would just like enough relief to stand up a little straighter, be a little more active and enjoy life a little more. 

Adversity provides fertile ground for growth. I believe my personal development journey has been preparing me for this obstacle and I am viewing it as a timely opportunity to Break Free and Be Better. Period. This is just another one of life’s challenges and I am more than up for the test. I am Jude.

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