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Eric Greitens: Why I Became a Navy SEAL
Eric Greitens is a former Navy Seal and the current CEO of The Mission Continues. He is also the author of Heart and Fist: The Education of A Humanitarian, The Making of a Navy Seal, which shares lessons of leadership, ethics and inspiration from his service as a humanitarian and a soldier.
Eric is not your typical SEAL (is there such a thing?). He was a Rhodes and Truman Scholar, attended Duke and Oxford Universities, and his doctoral thesis at Oxford was entitled “Children First,” which investigated how international humanitarian organizations can best serve war-affected children. He continues to study and teach public service as a Senior Fellow at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri and in the MBA Program at the Olin School of Business at Washington University.
Eric has done humanitarian work in Rwanda, Cambodia, Albania, Mexico, India, the Gaza Strip, Croatia, and Bolivia.
Eric is also a United States Navy SEAL officer, and he has deployed four times during the Global War on Terrorism: to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and Southeast Asia.
After returning from Iraq, Eric donated his combat pay to found The Mission Continues. A non-profit organization, The Mission Continues empowers wounded and disabled veterans to begin new lives as citizen leaders here at home. He has been recognized by the Manhattan Institute as one of the five leading social entrepreneurs in the country.
Eric was appointed by George W. Bush as a White House Fellow in 2005.
Question: How do you teach young people the non-monetary value that they get from service rather than going to Wall Street? You made a decision to go into service and then you made that decision again when you came home from the military and you probably could have gone
anywhere you wanted. Why did you make the choices you’ve made and what can we learn from those choices, so far?
Eric Greitens: So, I had a moment in my life where I had finished my PhD, studying International Humanitarian work. And I had come to the end of my time at Oxford and I had three choices in front of me. One is that I could stay at Oxford and pursue a life of great academic freedom. Another choice was to go to a consulting firm which had offered me more money in my first year than both of my parents combined had ever made in a year or maybe in a couple of years. And then I had this third option from the United States Navy.
Now, the Navy said to me, they said that if you join, we’re going to pay you $1,332.60 per month. And they said, if you join, we guarantee that you will have zero minutes per day of privacy in your first few months. And they said, if you join, from the moment that you sign your name on the dotted line, you’re going to owe us eight years of service. In return, we’ll give you one and only one chance at basic Underwater Demolition Seal School. If you make it, then you’re going to be on your way to being a Seal officer and leader. But if you fail ,as over 80 percent of the candidates do, then you’re still going to owe us eight years and we’ll tell you where and how you’re gonna serve.
Now, in some way, it wasn’t such a compelling offer. But when I thought about that question in my own life, I realized that a university career at Oxford could give me a lot of freedom. The consulting firm could give me a lot of money, the Navy was going to give me very little, but would make me more. And they were going to give me the opportunity to be of service to others and to lead and to test myself. And so I think that whenever you or whenever we are
facing these decisions in our lives, if we ask ourselves the question, which decision, which path on our journey is going to make us more, I think we’ll always be happy with the choices that we make.
Former Navy SEAL says the Navy offered him the opportunity "to be of service to others and to lead and to test myself."
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A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".
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Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.
Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>