What makes an "elite" firefighter? Well elite firefighters have invested a tremendous amount of time mastering his or her skill set through thousands of hours of training and experiences. Now looking at experience alone, the elite firefighter has been provided opportunities to succeed from other people who invested time in said development. The author Malcomb Gladwell wrote in his book "Outliers" that "People do not rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." If we were to overlay Gladwell's quote to the fire service, firefighters in reality are molded or influenced by the people for which they work for. Each of us one way or another are a reflection of our cultural upbringing. Some of those "opportunities" Gladwell speaks of in the fire service would be the instructors and officers who trained and provided the very first exposure to the brotherhood. Read more here...
I loved your post and I think that you've got a tremendous amount of insight here. However I am not a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell, I think a much better treatment of randomness was done by Leonard Mlodinow in The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives or Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas. I think that Mr. Gladwell does a poor job of highlighting how important opportunity is when it lands on fertile ground such as a firefighter who was open and receptive to learning and interested and passionate enough to pursue it as a lifelong goal. There are other people who have similar opportunities and chooses to do little or nothing with it because of a lack of motivation and I don't think that he credits those who seize the day enough. I would highly recommend anyone who's interested in opportunity, success and the pursuit of perfection read Mr. Mlodinow and Mr. Nicholas books. I think Mr. Gladwell has an agenda whereas the other two gentlemen are true scientists and thinkers. However I truly believe that these are great insights that you pulled and made them workable within the fire service community. Thanks again for your tremendous work and your contributions. Look forward to hearing you on the radio! You truly are among those who have seize the day, who enjoy learning and who will never rest in your pursuit of perfection within our honored profession. Your friend Bobby
-It's been said, "Men don't rise to the occasion but rather sink to the level of their training".
-Tom Brennen said, "You can go to a hundred fires one at a time or, one fire a hundred times". In short, do you have ten years experience or one year of experience ten times?
-Be a student of the game, learning always. The day you stop learning, the day you stop caring; that should be your last day. This is a service based career, giving of your self freely and completely, at your own expense, for the exclusive benefit of others. Ask your self, "What are you willing to do for a stranger? What are you willing to give for someone you will never meet or know?"