Overcome Adversity with Military Habits & Mindsets

March 18, 2020

Book Review by Andy Ghillyer

A graphic recollection of a horrific battle injury and the forty reconstructive surgeries that followed it may seem like a bleak start to a motivational book, but when a retired Navy Seal wants to grab your attention, you can’t help but be drawn into his amazing story.

In his new book Overcome: Crush Adversity with the Leadership Techniques of America’s Toughest Warriors, author Jason Redman recounts a harrowing journey of recovery from near-fatal injuries. The life lessons he learned from that journey after making the critical decision to stop “the pity party,” combined with leadership lessons from other American military leaders––including retired four-star Admiral William McRaven, and retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal––are offered as a path for anyone to overcome personal and professional adversity.

A Life Ambush

Redman sustained his injuries in a military ambush, but he recognizes that adversity of any kind can represent a life ambush. Whether it’s a divorce, job loss, bankruptcy, or a catastrophic health diagnosis, or a frustrating disruption such as a cancelled flight or a missed promotion, all of these events have the potential to disrupt or even derail your life. With his OVERCOME Mind-Set, you will be able to not only survive the challenge but thrive beyond it.

Get Off the X

When adversity strikes, it is easy to feel trapped in ‘the X’ (military jargon for the danger or kill zone). Your options seem very limited and emotional collapse quickly follows: anxiety, shame, guilt, anger, and even outright panic. Redman argues that getting out of that zone is the first step on the journey back. You will need to take ownership of the situation, however unfair it may seem, and accept that you have to deal with it rather than just hoping it will go away or somehow fix itself.

The tone of these lessons may feel like very tough love, but that, from the author’s perspective, is essential. If life knocks you down, you can’t regain the ability to lead yourself or others if you’re unwilling to have some very tough conversations with yourself about what you want your future to look like and what you’re willing to do to achieve that. As such, discomfort has to be embraced as a necessary part of the journey rather than something to be avoided. Once you’ve cleared your head and drawn-up your plan, you have to execute every step of it, handling any unanticipated challenges along the way.

Redman makes it clear that an OVERCOME Mind-Set is not a quick fix for a temporary situation. It must be approached as a permanent change in perspective; otherwise your commitment to rediscovery and future growth will be wasted. He concludes with a vital message for anyone stuck in ‘the X’ or struggling to stabilize their life post-trauma: Adversity is a gift because it reminds you of the fragility of life. That gift can help you to reimagine what you have to offer the world and to appreciate the second chance to do that.

Overcome offers a clear path to overcome adversity instead of falling underneath it. Jason Redman’s inspirational journey back from horrific injuries sustained in service to his country will empower you to tackle any challenge life might throw at you.


Andy Ghillyer

Andy Ghillyer is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. He lives in Tampa, FL where he specializes in writing for the B2B and academic markets while raising a growing menagerie of cats and dogs. His other reviews are here.


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