“As If It Were Your First…”

Now that my BMT stint on the perpetually sunny island of Tekong is over, I finally have time to read through my Diary of Tekong Happenings and look back at all the things which made up the good, the bad, and the ugly. Slight lamentations started this military journey on Pulau Tekong, but smiles and heartfelt joy were the parting shots to this little adventure with Scorpion company (yes, it is the company with girls if that is what you are wondering haha).

Many laughable and memorable moments occurred over nine weeks on the island and it would probably take as many weeks if I were to go through them all with you today, and thus I have decided to zoom in on one worthy quote which I think can be applied to life in many different scenarios and circumstances. It was a line thrown at us by our Company Sergeant Major (CSM) – Master Sergeant (MSG) Denash, an Indian gentleman with the true grit of a soldier and the gentle heart of a guiding figure.

It was the day of our first Live Firing session with our rifles, a maiden experience at the Pulau Tekong 100m Live Firing Range where the rifles we mess around with on a daily basis were transformed into the lethal weapons designed to inflict maximum damage and casualty for the purposes of war. We were about to fire live rounds, and with it certainly carried a distinct element of danger and tension. To put it simply, you definitely would not want to accidentally shoot yourself in the foot or fire at your buddy next to you.

When we arrived at the live range, MSG Denash said this:

“I want you to treat every range as if it were your first.

It certainly sounded like a simple safety command which an experienced sergeant would attempt to warn us to abide by but more than that, this line can be transformed into something useful for all of us to use in our daily lives. You see, if we modify the line to allow “range” to be substitutable with any other experience or activity, it would open up a mindset where we face everything we take up with enthusiasm, passion and seriousness.

For example, if we swap “range” with “tennis match”, it woud be “to treat every tennis match as if it were your first”; if you follow my tread of thought, it would mean that you play every tennis match with the same joy, enthusiasm, seriousness and passion which you had for your first ever game of tennis! Just imagine how wonderful things would be and how great the results could be if we had such a mindset where we wake up each day with the same gratitude, curiosity, innocence and joy which we had when we first came into this world. It definitely would make us happier and more driven individuals, and the list of benefits continue.

There definitely were moments far more significant and quotes far more useful to military life which occurred over the course of nine weeks, but for now I think the quote above would be the one I will share today. I think it is important that we treat every day as a new day and every experience as a new experience so that we do not lose our positive energies to the mundanity of repetition and routine. It is not wrong to say that every experience is what we make of it, and the best should be made of every experience by treating it as if it were the first.

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