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Five mindsets you need to survive the army

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What does it take to go from ah boys to men?

Serving the nation is every Singaporean man's duty. Many boys dread entering national service (NS), but the hard truth is that they do not have much of a choice.

Surviving NS is very much a mind over matter challenge, so here are five attitudes that will get you through the toughest times in the military.

1. Never say die

No one said NS was going to be easy. Tough training and demanding superiors are going make life a constant hell. Fear may creep in, so brace yourself to endure the hardship. After all, nobody likes a quitter.

Remember that the pain is all temporary and thinking of your family and loved ones can be a strong source of motivation – I know it worked for me. Tough times do not last, tough men do.

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ONE OF THE TOUGHEST THING EVERY BOY MUST GO THROUGH - DIGGING THE SHELLSCRAPE
PHOTO CREDIT: ABOVETOPSECRET.COM

2. Nobody owes you anything

There are many challenges that you have to go through while serving the nation. If you are going to be whiny about it, do not expect others to give you any attention. Everyone is going through the same experiences and there is no reason for you to be treated with privilege.

Besides, going through difficult training together with your buddies is a great way to bond, and you can look back at the memories fondly even 10 years down the road.

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NOBODY LIKES A COMPLAIN KING
PHOTO CREDIT: FINANCIALGAZETTE.CO.ZW

3. Teamwork is of utmost importance

You probably will not find yourself alone most of the time while serving the nation. While life in camp may get a little mundane, your friendship with your buddies will definitely not. Thick and thin, hot and cold, you go through it all with them.

More importantly, the army operates as a team, a battalion, a platoon and a section. Remember, you cannot succeed alone and decisions have to be made together. You cannot win a war with everyone in a battalion having different individual strategies right? Alone we fall, united we stand.

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URBAN OPERATIONS REQUIRE YOU TO WORK IN TEAMS OF THREE
PHOTO CREDIT: MINDEF.GOV.SG

4. Work hard, play hard

If you have an idea or suggestion that can make everyone's life better, voice it out. Contrary to popular belief, commanders do reward soldiers when they see initiative and effort put into training.

Things like getting a gold for your IPPT may even warrant you an early book out at times! The "work hard, play hard" mentality has never been more applicable.

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THERE IS ALWAYS A TRADE OFF IN THE ARMY
PHOTO CREDIT: THECUFFLINKSSHOP.COM

5. Have the courage to admit your mistakes

We can never do everything perfectly the first time round. In the army, you will be learning everything from scratch, so do not be too hard on yourself if make some honest mistakes.

When given the chance to learn during training, be open to making mistakes so that you will know what to do during actual operations. Make your mistakes during mock-up practices, not when handling live ammunition and dangerous equipment in the field.

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NO ONE SAID MAKING MISTAKES IS WRONG
PHOTO CREDIT: LUGENFAMILYOFFICE.WORDPRESS.COM

Having mentioned these five mentalities, the quality of your NS experience lies solely on you. My suggestion is that since you cannot avoid serving the nation, why not make the best out of the experience?