Stockdale’s Reality Confrontation

Jim Collins, quoting Admiral Jim Stockdale, who called spending seven years in a Vietnamese prison camp “the defining event of my life that would make me a stronger and better person.”

This is what I learned from those years in the prison camp, where all those constraints just were oppressive. You must never ever ever confuse, on the one hand, the need for absolute, unwavering faith that you can prevail despite those constraints with, on the other hand, the need for the discipline to begin by confronting the brutal facts, whatever they are. We’re not getting out of here by Christmas.

Like a good Stoic, you should believe in yourself and focus on the things within your valence of control and stop–as much as possible–hinging your mental, physical, and even economic health on the things you cannot.

Painfully good advice for the world right now.

Leave a Reply