Bibliophile | Bram Connolly teaches us ‘The Commando Way’

The Commando Way
by Bram Connolly
Allen & Unwin

Bram Connolly spent 20 years in the armed forces from the age of 17. After rigorous training, he was deployed to Somalia at the age of 19 and also served several tours of duty in East Timor and Afghanistan. As a commander for the Australian Special Forces, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for leadership in combat.

Moving his way up through the ranks from private to major during that time meant that many lessons were learned, some of them in the hardest possible ways. Connolly takes the reader into military life and the world of high intensity combat to share some hard-fought lessons on his journey to discovering resilience, optimism, values and leadership.

Hardly any of us are ever forced to having to survive arctic conditions or trek with a full pack through a tropical jungle but, in many ways, the lessons learned are the same ones we need to improve the effectiveness of our lives. I for one won’t be running 10kms every day for 10 consecutive days, but I’m quite happy to read about the lessons to be learned from the exercise completed by this Australian Bear Grylls.

The extreme situations provided by military service do provide greater opportunities for going without comfort in pursuit of wisdom, and it was good to read about how more slovenly people like me can reprogram bad habits. Although Connolly points out that this is infinitely harder than preventing the bad habits from developing in the first place.

Some parts just reinforce what we already should know about creating habits for more efficient and effective lives, including recharging and the importance of sleep. Connolly’s emphasis on self-discipline, organization and time management means that “you get more bang for your buck in your short time here on earth”.

As well as sharing what he has learned about the pillars of self-development, Connolly honours the excellent role models who have motivated him to aim higher. Leadership ranges from within a family to places of responsibility in the workforce or community, and there are many world leaders who could do with some lessons from The Commando Way.

Lezly Herbert

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