Period of Instruction: Morale in a survival/combat situation

Good Morning, For those of you who don’t know me I’m Art, For those of you who do, I’m still Art, Today’s Period of Instruction.

Morale in a survival/combat situation. There is a question at the end of this period of instruction please answer it.

Last week we talked about humor, and how it’s an important tool to survival/combat. This week we are going to continue in that manner but talk about Morale.

One of my biggest pet peeves is 90% of all Movies, TV, and Stories/Books do not show Morale as a important factor in survival/combat situations. Sure they have that humors individual in the corner that makes everyone laugh during bleak moments but everyone takes him or her as comedic relief to keep the movie/book from being to “dark”. And actually 90% of the time that is exactly why they are in the movie/book. Plus you always have to have that plucky, comedic idiot type to kill off at some point that every one mourns over. But in the truth of the matter that individual plays a vital role on all the survivors.

Morale. Morale is a emotional or mental condition with respect to cheerfulness, confidence, zeal, etc., especially in the face of opposition, hardship, etc.: the morale of the troops. (Thank you Webster’s dictionary of awesomesauce).

So lets look at Morale in an personal example. SCENE: “Your alarm goes off after a good night’s sleep, from which you had a great evening with your significant other the day before. You reach over and hit the button shutting it off, stretch, yawn and sit up in bed. smile to yourself remembering the day prior and you feel great.

Your mood is high, you get out of bed pad to the bathroom and do shit/shower/shave etcs. While you’re brushing your teeth in front of the mirror it hits you.

Its Monday. You’ve got to go to work. You have a project/task/meeting, you’ve been avoiding/putting off/just don’t want to do because it’s worse than pulling your own teeth with pliers.

And you get that sick feeling in your stomach, your shoulders slump; the world becomes a little less lack luster. Yesterday’s enjoyable day becomes just a memory and your mood is shot to shit. ”

How many of you have had that very situation happen? Yep I have probably almost EVERY Monday, Hate Mondays, when the apocalypse happens Mondays are the first thing I’m shooting. Well probably actually the second thing I’ll shoot, but they are getting shot.

Any ways. That is Personal Morale in a nutshell. Morale can be affected by anything. Typically it’s an outside influence in the negative regards. Can something affect your Morale Positively? Absofreakinglutly, and that is your goal.
Personal Morale is actually quite easily controlled by the individual person, you do it on a daily basis by either avoiding the morale eating problem, changing the situation, or doing something that improves your morale on a personal level.
But now let’s look at the group dynamic for Morale.

Morale becomes a huge factor when you are in a group. And yes two people constitute a group. Time is also a factor, in most cases the longer you are with or near a individual their morale will effect yours. So what are some things you can do in a group to positively and negatively affect morale?
Well let’s look at the negative aspect first. What are some things that can negatively affect Morale in a group?

1. Piss poor attitude. Self explanatory, negative will beget negative
2. False Motivation. This is almost as bad as a piss poor attitude, pretending to be motivated and positive when you are actually negative only makes the situation worse and often times irritates people
3. Not pulling your weight. Biggest contributing factor to Morale loss.
4. Lack of Communication. In a situation where potentially all forms of technology is cut off, communication is vital. Any news is good news. Keeping information to yourself can and will potentially destroy morale at great lengths. This is a double edged sword though in regards to communication and information.
5. Inclusion/seclusion, including or secluding someone from the group for whatever reason can affect your morale.

There are many many many many etc etc factors to what can cause negative Morale, if we continued to list them your morale would be negative just by reading it! So lets look at some positive ways to improve group Morale

1. Positive Attitude, Now.. this isn’t the “bubbly cheerleader, squirrel chasing a laser dot” attitude “YAY GO TEAM!” blah, It’s the end of the freaking world, everything can’t be rainbows and unicorns. But there can be some positive to it. You’re alive, you’re breathing, you’re supporting each other, your surviving. And you’re shooting zombies. That’s a positive thing!
2. Lead by Example. In many instances Morale can be improved just by the simple fact that someone is stepping up and doing something that everyone has to do first AND they are doing it without complaining/whining etc.
3. Communicating. Information is power, again the double edged sword, but when everyone is informed of what the plan is, and given the opportunity to voice their opinion, regardless in most cases of wither its followed or not. Will help with Morale.
4. Inclusion/Seclusion. Include people in the group when they are needed to be included. Kick the dumb ass out when they need to be kicked out. This is a large contributing factor to Morale.

Wait.. lets look at that list again, outside of number 2. Isn’t that almost exactly like the negative list? Well actually yes it is. Are you now seeing what can negatively affect Morale can positively affect it as well? And these are just the emotional/personal factors. And this isn’t even all of them! These are just a FEW examples.

Are there other factors that can affect morale? Yes. Danger, Stress, Food, Shelter, all the standard survival “items”, are a factor to Morale. And can all be mitigated by alleviating or reducing through standard or non standards methods.

Over all Morale is a balancing act. It can and will teeter towards one direction or other. The only way to really develop an understanding of how to balance Morale is balance your personal Morale in a situation that tests it on a minute to minute basis. Many people will not have that opportunity. So outside of that just taking the step to be aware of what Morale is, will start you on the path to balancing it in any situation.

“Improve your own Morale, and you will improve the morale of those around you.”

A book.. I know, I apologize I didn’t intend to go long winded, but I feel sometimes that you have to, in order to present information that’s vital or important to a topic. I am trying a different format for these, presenting them more as a Topic of Instruction like I do to Military Students I teach then just a “tip”. Let me know if you like it this way or the old way better.

So now, Questions? and if you have no Questions I have one for you.

“You are in a Group that has low Morale, to the point people are considering just giving up. How would you, NOT using any of the above mentioned ways to improve morale. Improve their Morale for them to survive? And yes, it is your responsibility to see that they survive as they are your Family.” Please post your answer.

So with that Howdy, Semper Fi and have a wonderful Freaking day.

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