I just read “Make Your Bed” by Admiral William H. McRaven, which he wrote after delivering an incredible commencement speech at the University of Texas (Austin) in 2014. McRaven talked and wrote about the 10 lessons we can learn from the Navy SEALs, one of which centered around the sugar cookie. Made me think about the importance of grit, perseverance, and… that’s what the sugar cookie and the strawberry are all about.
What’s a sugar cookie?
In the marines, being a sugar cookie means you get yourself wet and then roll around in the sand until you’re absolutely covered in it… letting the sand get in your eyes, your underwear, between the toes. It smells terrible and irritates your skin for the rest of the day. WHY would someone ever make you be a sugar cookie?
Often implemented as punishment, the sugar cookie treatment also taught marines to get comfortable with being uncomfortable… or at least accustomed it (not sure this could ever be comfortable!) Pushing through the discomfort of learning a new skill, driving change, or assuming a new role, ultimately gets us to the other side where we get settled and eventually thrive! I totally relate to this and in fact, my second TEDx talk was about just this, titled “On Killing Chickens.“
What’s a strawberry?
In China, the strawberry generation refers to those born after 1990, perceived to bruise easily. They’re sweet and tender, but don’t do well under pressure. Interestingly, The Taiwan News credits the lack of war and political persecution for raising a “softer” generation. Quite the generalization. But it raises the question: do we get soft, or take things for granted in times of comfort and surplus? To the point where we may even wear it as a badge of pride?
Maybe there is something to the sugar cookie, after all.