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WW2 vets from ‘The Pacific’ remind today’s generations to push through difficulty

One harmful habit that can keep anybody from fulfilling their potential is self-coddling. This is when a person encounters difficulty, but instead of pushing through it, runs to a harmful vice in an attempt to self-soothe. 

This habit runs rampant in a generation inflicted with participation trophies and grade inflation, which many academics and psychologists now believe do more harm than good. 

A story from World War II can help. 

World War II Guadalcanal

A mortar crew prepares for battle on Guadalcanal. Sid Phillips is crouched, second from right. (Photo courtesy the estate of Sid Phillips)

The Marines of H/2/1 had been fighting an intense battle on Guadalcanal for weeks. C-rations had run out, and the troops were only authorized to eat twice a day – and then only pieces of coconut they’d scrounged mixed with wormy rice confiscated from the enemy. 

Sure, frustrations exist in life. But we don’t need to drink excessively. We don’t need the insidious vice of pornography. We don’t need to give in to that moment of rage on the freeway. We really don’t. But it’s so easy to convince ourselves that we do. 

By the way, the get-tough-with-yourself strategy works. 

W.O. Brown survived the dysentery – and the war.


Marcus Brotherton writes extensively about veterans and World War II. His latest book, “The Long March Home,” is a tribute to the WW2 troops who fought in the Pacific.


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