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17160 Stephen Kalyta: Leaders being able to recognize that the unpretentious things of life are the most important

 Feature photo -Neil Alden Armstrong and Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr.

17160 Stephen Kalyta

US Admiral Byrd, was a war hero and explorer with comparable fame in his era to fellow explorer, Neil Armstrong, in the era of space exploration. While attempting to explore uncharted land beyond the South Pole, the Admiral, according to his diary, became more than physically lost in this harsh environment. America’s hero who, despite having access by radio to the outside world, chose to die, rather than appear less than a hero by asking for help.

Before submitting completely to a slow and progressive death through carbon monoxide poisoning from his generator, the Admiral recorded a moment of prophetic lucidity. He wrote, ” I have failed to see. The simple, homely, unpretentious things of life are the most important.” So the Admiral came to realize at death that the ticket parades down main street were important only to his persona.

The mundane can offer a lesson in the form of unseen danger. The mundane can also teach us through quiet self-reflection. As a leader, we must be vigilant in using all our senses, be it in an environment that is mundane or extreme. As a great leader we should recognize when we need help under any condition, rather than following the Admiral’s irrational path.

The stories of real heroes do not sell newspapers. They quietly step up to the cause and do what is right, empty of ego, empty of agenda, at the fringe of the limelight. It is the persona that attracts admiration by many and often does not fit with the script of the person. Consider those that serve in our Special Forces where anonymity reigns supreme and to survive, the ego must be surrendered.

On the surface, what may appear as mundane, like the routine of drill at RMC, may be quietly imbuing you with a greater sense of what is important. Consider that, for the Admiral’s sake.

Previous article in this 17160 Stephen Kalyta series:


‘Gratitude toward Self’

Mid-term monsters and an altered academic reality

Oh what a night!

Cadets and Valour

17160 Stephen Kalyta calling out all cadets with bars…

17160 Stephen Kalyta weighs in on auditor general’s report and gives Officer Cadets something to ponder