Do Be Do Be Do

To Be Is To Do?

To Do Is To Be?

Do Be Do Be Do!


Action vs Wanking?

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John Boyd's Roll Call: To Be or To Do

When he was passed over for a promotion that was instead given to some inconsequential but compliant paper-pushers, Coram writes that Boyd was “deeply affected” by the blow:

hard work and success do not always go together in the military, where success is defined by rank, and reaching higher rank requires conforming to the military’s value system. Those who do not conform will one day realize that the path of doing the right thing has diverged from the path of success, and then they must decide which path they will follow through life. Almost certainly, he realized that if he was not promoted early to lieutenant colonel after all that he had done, he would never achieve high rank.”

the top three career aspirations of today’s 5- to 11-year-olds are sports star, music star, and actor. Just 25 years ago, that same survey turned up teacher, doctor, and banker

“Tiger,” he would say, “one day you will come to a fork in the road... And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can Be Somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can Do Something — something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?”

Challenging the status quo is never easy. You may not be worried about winning fame, but simply holding onto your job.

the ability to speak truth to power has always necessarily been tied to an indifference to material security. As Coram writes, Boyd understood this, and said that “if a man can reduce his needs to zero, he is truly free: there is nothing that can be taken from him and nothing anyone can do to hurt him.”

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