Lessons on James Bond Mental Toughness from a former Paratrooper

By Andrew Bass | Blog

Tags: Blog

Remember the nail-biting scene in the James Bond film Moonraker when Bond is pushed out of an aircraft without a parachute? Most people would be overcome with panic and would plummet screaming to the ground.

Not our hero.

He spots another villain skydiving below him, grimaces with determination, and dives to intercept. After a tussle, he secures the parachute, and it’s the villain that tumbles away screaming.

But there’s no time to relax. Now Bond is set upon from above by his would-be nemesis, Jaws…!

Bond prevails of course. What’s his mindset?  It’s one that former Canadian paratrooper and military police instructor Sean Bacon systematically inculcates in his trainees, both in the military and these days in business.

Sean recently spoke to the CEO peer learning group that I chair. Here’s one of his key principles. Whatever happens, and however many twists and turns there are, “Do something about it!”

Sean tells me in military exercises, instructors would make sure things went wrong – one damn thing after another – so that their trainees learned to be unrelenting. Every time the trainee would hesitate, the instructing staff would simply shout, “Do something about it!”

The mindset this fosters was a crucial factor in how one of his buddies survived a jump after his parachute failed. It’s how pilots with the right stuff (think Sully Sullenberger) land the plane. 

And it’s how we all need think in order to deal with the world of sometimes dizzying uncertainty in which we now live.

Copyright Andy Bass 2021