Most people never have to do anything truly hard their entire lives. Their idea of overcoming adversity is to pull an all-night study session, or to work a little overtime, or not be able to afford the leopard-skin pants they’ve always wanted and actually have to save for something. Rather than get the instant gratification for their every need not being attended to. Kids aren’t allowed to lose so there is a trophy for everyone. Hurtful words are now being equated to physical violence, which is comical. We go to war and less than 10 percent of the population answers the call. There is no rise in taxes to cover the two wars we were engaged in so the average citizen doesn’t suffer at all. Increasingly, we’re told that we are the smartest, most handsome, most amazing people in the whole wide world. Even if we haven’t done a goddamn thing to earn that status. In short, people have no idea what sacrifice looks like anymore. Then when given the tiniest window into the military world and they see people reaching physical exhaustion, getting yelled at, getting emotionally brought down, they just see cruelty. They don’t see the value, because they don’t know what we know. That toughness is earned. It has to be earned. You can be naturally smart and naturally athletic. You can be bornn with every advantage. But when you’re getting shot at, none of that matters. All that matters is the work you’ve put in, the skill you’ve acquired, and your willingness to fight though it all and never quit, no matter what. In that moment and that moment alone, can you realize the futility of the participation trophy. It’s first place or nothing. Warriors are not born. They are made through hard work, suffering, and sacrifice.