The Brain Gap (BG) – Why you need to avoid it
“It is usually meaningless work, not overwork, that wears us down, saps our strength, and robs our joy.” Rick Warren, Author
Do Meaningful Work
I am here to tell you that every one of us is falling into the trap of doing meaningless work – especially when it comes to our Military Transition. Some do this more than others but every transitioning veteran will do this to some extent – here’s why.
How Our Brain Can Operate Against Us
The most highly individual aspect of someone is how they think – to contextualize this we need to explore how our brain works. If you missed our previous article discussing how our brain derives decision making, and why we created new words in the space – check it out here. From cognitive neuroscience, we know how we process (perceive) information is based on long and short term memories. This means we use our past personal experience and memories to inform our decision making in the present, intuitively this makes sense. So what? That’s good right?
What happens when we plan to do something completely new, something which we have never done and have no experience or memory to draw from? Let’s apply this to Military Transition, what does our brain do?
At PreVeteran we call this scenario the Brain Gap ™. When confronted with the unknown our brain seeks to “fill in the gap” searching for new information and direction on what to do. Your brain continues this search the external environment until you experience satisfaction that you are prepared with the information you need. So what – we live in the information age for crying out loud! How hard is it to learn something new? Well if you know what you are looking for, it turns out not hard at all – but let’s discuss why nearly all of us in the military (confidently) get this completely wrong.
Brain Gap (BG)
So now that you understand your brain contextualizes things based off memories and experiences, to drive your current thoughts and behavior, and we know in the absence of this experience we search for new information- the next step becomes crucial. How do we know the information we are receiving to “fill the gap” is relevant, and useful to this new experience? Typically this step of the process is filtered internally, without your knowledge. Have you ever heard yourself thinking these things as you consider your military transition?
- I can’t see a clear path forward
- Should I do something completely different?
- Do I need to get my PMP?
- Do I need to get my Six Sigma?
- Should I use my GI Bill to “figure out” transition?
- I just need to land a Skillbridge gig!
These thoughts come directly from your Brain Gap ™. You have seen others getting out of the military do these activities, or know they are accessible (sometimes for free!) so in your mind these are reasonable things to do. Let’s revisit the quote at the top, “It is usually meaningless work, not overwork, that wears us down, saps our strength, and robs our joy.” Could these activities be “meaningless”? Truly, ask yourself this question. If any of these tasks are indeed meaningless for your future success, what is the cost? Maybe there is no monetary cost, but your time, attention and effort is one of your most valuable and limited resources you have during transition. You need to use these precious resources wisely. You may find that yes, these tasks are often meaningless – especially if you talk to Military Members who have done one or all of these things and then found themselves still unsure what they want to do upon their transition. Did these additional courses and qualifications help them achieve their goals? No. It sapped their time and effort and in the process wore them down. So what do we do?
Military Transition 2.0
I was guilty of doing all of these activities! I was just like everyone else who is transitioning out and trying to succeed inside the Military Transition 1.0 Model – but that’s why PreVeteran has developed a new MilitaryTransition 2.0 Model, we have now piloted our 5 week Employment Preparation Course since March 2021 with amazing results. At the core of our teaching is self transformation, aimed to get you to recognize and have the tools to eliminate thinking barriers, such as the Brain Gap ™. We have helped many veterans exactly like you get the training and tools they need in order to narrow down what they want to do down to the industry, company, role and level so preparation for the job they want becomes more than grasping at straws, it becomes a well defined goal with specific and measurable qualifications that you can begin to attain and have competency in. We want you to succeed in the private sector instead of treading water (doing random training, certifications, etc. not attached to a goal or job) until you are exhausted.
Sounds too good to be true? Check out our student testimonials to see what military members, who have taken the course, say about PreVeteran.
We want you to spend your time and efforts wisely, that is why we have developed our systematic training program. If you are unsure how prepared you are please take our Employment Readiness Quiz to see how you stack up. Remember the Brain Gap ™ can steal your time and energy in the wrong direction – let’s avoid this trap, we are here to help!
Creating more successful, happier, and healthier veterans one PreVeteran at a time.