By Michael M. Novogradac, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public AffairsMarch 29, 2016
WEST FORT HOOD, Texas -- Upon finishing early morning physical fitness training, a young company commander gets a message from a colonel that reads, "Come see me when you get to work."
Immediately following, the captain gets a call from his first sergeant, telling him, "The colonel came down looking for you. He wants to see you."
"I'm like, 'WOW!' This is something urgent!'" exclaimed Capt. Li Xu, commander of HHC, U.S. Army Operational Test Command.
"So, the whole way home, I'm just thinking about, 'What did I do? Did something happen? Is it something I did?' I start thinking about every email I sent out before, and every initiative I put out before … I'm just trying to think, 'What happened?'"
With his morning routine of showering, having breakfast, and getting back to work before 9 a.m. perfectly interrupted, Xu constantly wonders what could be the matter.
"I didn't even have time to talk with my wife; I just wanted to get ready," he said. "I didn't want to eat breakfast; I just wanted to turn around and get right back to work before 9, and go to his office to see what he needed.
"And, of course, during that whole drive, I'm just distracted -- just constantly thinking about the worst-case scenario. And when I showed up, all he needed was for me to sign his weapon registration form."
After all is told, Xu giggles a moment because when he met with the colonel to sign his weapon registration form to hunt on post, the two ended up chatting a bit about the weekend's hunting and fishing.
Light stuff. Nothing to be worried about.
But, worry, the young officer did. He skipped breakfast and said, "My wife was freaking out because I was freaking out."
Enter OTC's most recent iteration of Master Resiliency Training, "Put It In Perspective," which focuses Soldier attention on the deciding factors needed to prevent matters from automatically going into the worst-case scenario.
According to Master Sgt. Ray H. Barros, OTC's Master Resiliency Trainer, PIIP teaches the skills so Soldiers can stop from going too far down into the most negative thoughts, and instead, look for the positive outcome of everyday events.
"PIIP is one skill set of 14," Barros said. "We've done seven so far, and each month we continue to highlight a specific skill set. PIIP shows that when an activating event happens in a situation, a lot of us have the tendency to go to into the worst-case scenario.
"You want to get all those worst-case scenarios out of the way," he continued. "So, you get all of that negative bias out. Once you've established that, now you want to think of the positivity, or the possible best outcome."
Barros explained that the Army wants to help Soldiers with their stressful situations. "Soldiers can become more able to be resilient and bounce back from adversity, and focus on what needs to happen so they can flourish and pretty much be fit to fight," he said.
"PIIP is good training for a leader, because it is the perfect opportunity to find out what Soldiers are going through," Xu said. "Especially when they are speaking openly and freely about the things that are bothering them. You get a chance to listen to Soldiers."
One of the skills PIIP teaches is, "Hunt for the good stuff, and don't always go for the negative," Xu added.
Part of putting things into perspective is establishing a connection between Soldiers through PIIP training, according to Barros.
"This environment brings people together," he said. "You find out you have some type of similarity or some conversation you can relate to. When you open up that conversation, we're more of a team and a bond has been established because of the MRT."