I heard this story from a retired US Army Ranger:
He knew Ranger selection would be extremely difficult. It’s basically 60+ days of stress. No more than 3 hours sleep in a 24-hour period. One meal a day. Relentless physical exertion. Your performance is constantly being graded. The program is designed to select for mentally tough, never-quit people who can execute incredibly difficult missions. Few candy asses will dare to sign up for selection. Even with the outstanding starting pool, it’s rare that more than 15% of the soldiers get through without recycling on at least part of it.
He sought advice from a soldier qualified as a Ranger. His advice was simple: “Never quit on a bad day.” When asked about how many bad days he could expect, the Ranger told him, “Every day will be a bad day.”
I recommend this as an outstanding leadership lesson: “Never quit on a bad day.”
One more story about a retired Army Ranger. He and his family were a guest in our home when my son Matt was 11 years old. Matt was in awe of the story about selection and what little this soldier could share of his classified missions. He said, “I bet only the meanest, baddest guys get through it.”
“Oh no,” replied the Ranger. “They’re far too selfish. They wash out early.”
This was a hugely important insight for my son. Noble character matters.