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Why You Should go Heavy at the March for the Fallen

by: Lawrence Hamtil     

Last September, I was privileged to participate in the March for the Fallen, which is an annual event put on by the Pennsylvania National Guard.  My good friend, Wes Gray, of Alpha Architect has taken on the task of annually organizing a large group of finance professionals to participate in the event, which is a grueling 28-mile trek over rugged terrain.  You can read more about Wes's team and the event over on Wes's site, found here.

That being said, I wanted to write this brief note about why I believe you should not only participate in the event, but also why you should consider registering for the "heavy" group, which means you assume the challenge of completing the 28 miles while carrying a 35-pound pack.  

First of all, you should participate in the event because it is for a good cause:  the remembrance of those who died for our country.  You honor them by feeling, for just a short time, some of the physical and mental burdens they willingly embrace while serving.  Most of us now enjoy the benefits of the protection these men and women provide, but we have no real sense of the sacrifices they make on our behalf.  Being a little uncomfortable for a day is a good reminder that we should not take for granted these selfless individuals.

Secondly, you will meet a lot of very interesting and smart people from the same industry, and these connections can be very useful going forward.  Many of you already interact with each other through blogs and social media, so meeting one another other in person only strengthens this connection.

Finally, you should consider challenging yourself to carry the extra weight for these reasons:

-Rucking is a very practical exercise that strengthens both the mind and the body.  It is an endurance test that focuses the mind and the body on covering a long distance while bearing a burden.  The added weight tests one's will to finish why taxing the body's ability to endure.  It is an excellent way to build core strength and stamina, which, as we get older, are crucial to maintaining our health.

-While the March is, in theory, a team event, it is, in practice, an individual experience.  You cover the course as a team, but you push yourself over the finish line.  While it is true that no one else present at the March will long remember who carried weight, or who finished first, or whatever, there does exist a special camaraderie among those who assume the extra weight, and who set out on the trek with a mutual purpose and a shared burden.

-You should not be afraid of failure.  In an interview with Jocko Willink, Dr. Jordan Peterson talked about the reason why many do not specify a goal of theirs.  The reason many do not do this, argues Dr. Peterson, is that it makes failing easier.  In other words, if you do not name a specific goal, not achieving it does not, in their minds, actually equal failure.  Along these lines, I would argue that failure is not what should be feared in the first place because failure means that you left nothing "in the tank," so to speak; you gave it your all.  What we should fear is the lingering doubt about what else we might have done if we had but pushed ourselves a little more.  Carrying 35 pounds over 28 miles may seem like a silly way to test one's willingness to stay the course for the long haul, but the confidence it will bring you in having done it will help propel you to the next goal, whatever that may be.

I hope to see you there in September.

The information provided above is obtained from publicly available sources and it is believed to be reliable. However, no representation or warranty is made as to its accuracy or completeness.


Lawrence Hamtil is a fourteen-year veteran of the financial services industry, having served clients in all aspects of the business during his career, which started in 2002. In 2005, he joined Dennis Wallace of Fortune Financial Services, LLC, becoming, at the time, one of Multi-Financial Securities, Inc's youngest registered representatives. In 2008, Dennis and Lawrence made the decision to become fully independent by founding their own Registered Investment Advisory (RIA), Fortune Financial Advisors, LLC. He serves clients in the United States and Europe. His financial commentary has been referenced in Barron’s online edition.

You can connect with Lawrence on Twitter ( @lhamtil) or via email, lawrence.hamtil@fortuneadv.com.