Some people feel affronted when something they thought to be true doesn't happen. If that's the case, then your sense of risk is much higher, and that leads to risk aversion. You need to be able to be comfortable in uncertainty.
If you read enough biography and history, you learn how people have dealt successfully or unsuccessfully with similar situations or patterns in the past. It doesn't give you a template of answers, but it does help you refine the questions you have to ask yourself.
There are a lot of self-imposed restrictions by people who somehow believe they have to fall in with a certain military cant. There was always a sense that we had to put things into words that would touch our troops' hearts, not just their heads.
Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed... It doesn't give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.
The Army was always big on Clausewitz, the Prussian; the Navy on Alfred Thayer Mahan, the American; and the Air Force on Giulio Douhet, the Italian. But the Marine Corps has always been more Eastern-oriented. I am much more comfortable with Sun-tzu and his approach to warfare.
I can't tell you the number of times I looked down at what was going on on the ground, or I was engaged in a fight somewhere, and I knew within a couple of minutes how I was going to screw up the enemy. And I knew it because I'd done so much reading.
In an interconnected age when opportunistic adversaries can work in tandem to destroy stability and prosperity, our country needs to regain its strategic footing. We need to bring the clarity to our efforts before we lose the confidence of the American people and the support of potential allies.
Basically, Islamic State is a combined al Qaeda and Lebanese Hezbollah on steroids, destabilizing the region, dissolving borders/changing the political geography in the Mid-east, and hardening political positions that make Mid-east peace-building more remote by the day.
So long as our Corps fields such Marines, America has nothing to fear from tyrants, be they Fascists, Communists or Tyrants with Medieval Ideology. For we serve in a Corps with no institutional confusion about our purpose: To fight! To fight well!