5 Insights from the Official Spartan Field Manual (Part 2)

This is the second half of life lessons pulled from Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual. Once again, please bear with me if you are not a fan of Halo video games. Video games aside, this book is well written and enjoyable. It has vivid and vibrant illustrations that put the reader into the universe of Halo.

Here are the final pieces of advice taken from the Spartan Field Manual:

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1 – Know your limits.

Even futuristic super soldiers housed in advanced suits of technology have to be cautious. No one is immortal and immune from harm.

Know your personal strengths and weaknesses. Know what makes you uncomfortable and when you should walk away from a situation. It’s not shameful to take a step back and say, “Hey, I’m not up to this today.”

Knowing your limits is a form of self-respect and self-care. Pay attention to yourself.

2 – The mind is the best weapon.

Halo features several different kinds of guns and close combat weapons. Many of them are broken down at the end of the manual. However, the manual explicitly states that the best weapon a Spartan can use is his/her own brain. The manual also mentions that instead of working harder, we need to practice working smarter.

Our minds have the power over everything we do in life. Our careers, our relationships, our bodies, and our overall situations. The brain has more power than current science can understand. It’s a magnificent gift and recognizing this fact is the first step in using it wisely.

Life is hard. Use your brain because it’s the best weapon against any adversity or ailment.

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3 – Have empathy.

The manual has a few pages for Master Chief alone. It discusses the potential reasons why he was so prominent and successful in saving the human race from the Covenant. One of those reasons was empathy.

From the Oxford dictionary, empathy is, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.” Most might not assume a super soldier tasked with destroying masses of enemy fleets would have any empathy, but Master Chief did in every step of the war. He had empathy for the humans on earth terrified of an advanced enemy. He had empathy for the soldiers he fought with afraid they’d never see home again. He had empathy for his leaders who had to make tough decisions.

Master Chief’s empathy lead him to the conclusion that all humans must be saved. No sacrifice other than his own. He felt so strongly about this that he ended up saving humanity from annihilation.

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Empathy for others makes the world kinder. Life will never be easy, but with an empathetic helping hand, it gets better.

4 – If you fight for something, be prepared to have enemies.

It’s mentioned in the book that Master Chief was a hero to humans. He saved the earth. Because of this, it also made him enemy number one to the aliens he fought against.

No one wants enemies or conflict. The minute you set yourself up to take a stand and fight for what you believe in, you’ll gain enemies. You’ll have people who very much dislike you and want you to go away. However, that’s probably a good thing. That usually means you are making an effort to make a difference.

Enemies aren’t fun, but they signify a path towards fighting for what you believe to be right.

5 – Turn enemies into allies.

Master Chief makes an invaluable ally out of an alien hellbent on killing the Chief. He talked to an alien leader after his head and came out with an alliance that helped humanity win the war.

Throughout history we’ve seen the world as “us against them.” Let’s work on making it, “us.” We’ll never all have the same religion or beliefs about ethical issues, but we can all come together to defeat worldwide issues – like hunger, clean water, homelessness, poverty, depression, addiction, disease, cancer, etc.

These issues are enemies to us all. So let’s become one team and work to destroy the debilitating factors that hurt everyone, all over the planet.

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Reading Halo: The Official Spartan Field Manual gave me many insights into life. Know your limits, use your mind, have empathy, stand up for what you believe, and turn enemies into allies.

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you have a great day absent of evil aliens.

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Exploration Guide and Other Free Stuff

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Twelventures #3: Two Days with Little Leia

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Dear Rational Brain…Come Back

It’s one of those nights when you’ve left me to my thoughts without an intelligent filter. I’m weak, tired, and restless. Sleep won’t come to me and all I can do is wonder…

I want to run outside and scream and rip the bark off of the trees. I will hide my face from the world with my blood stained hands. With this occasional late night disease – I’ll never be free.

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I will scream and they’ll hate me.

I will scream and they’ll laugh.

I will scream and they won’t see me.

In my final scream they’ll attack.

Their words are so cutting. Must they be so cruel? All I ever wanted was to belong and be at peace.

I’m not meant to stay. They’ll run me off. I’m not like them. I don’t fit, I’m pushed outside. I’ll never get in.

I’m not of this world. I’m not right. All I feel and do is wrong in their eyes. God knows that I tried.

For now, to them, it’s goodbye.

Forever I’ll hide.

I restlessly await your return, Rational Brain. It’s going to be a long night. Make sure to be back by morning, as usual.

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You leave me less often nowadays. Your absence is rare. Thank you for that. I’ll remember that during my madness. We’ve not perfected the insanity, but we’ve come a long way, my Rational Brain.

I feel so much peace when you return to me. You see the light. I see nothing but darkness.

Promise me you won’t leave me again?


Late Night Irrational Thinking Brain

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6 Eye Openers from Doctor Who: Orphan 55

Season 12, Episode 3 of Doctor Who gives us a glimpse of what a futuristic spa might look like. However, the Doctor and her companions quickly realize they won’t be doing much relaxing as the spa is under attack by a species living on the toxic planet of Orphan 55.

In fact, the entire spa is just a giant warehouse full of simulations giving residents the illusion of paradise.

This episode has themes of corruption, lies, and children scarred by betrayal of their parents. Here are six lessons to be learned from “Orphan 55”:

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1 – When in new territory, be aware that someone is likely watching you.

Exploration and travel are inspiring. We should all partake in these activities. But we must also be ready to adapt to whatever is normal in the local environments of where we find ourselves visiting.

Be respectful of land that others inhabit. Be open minded about the customs of different areas. And know that you will likely stand out amongst locals. Some might watch with unease, but others will be willing to help and share a look into their lifestyle.

Have an open mind, be willing to learn, and be aware that others are watching. Watch your back and be respectful.

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2 – Basic first aid training is always handy, especially when traveling.

Knowing CPR, learning wound care, and keeping a first aid kit on hand are all intelligent assets. These basic life saving skills can mean the difference between life and death.

Especially when traveling, be prepared to use first aid. Be prepared to save a life if out on a trail, in a foreign place, or just playing soccer in a backyard. Be wise and learn the basics.

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3 – People will disregard human life in order to make money.

This has been the case since the dawn of time and the invention of currency. It’s wrong and it’s evil. No one person’s life is worth any amount of paper or gold. Human life is priceless.

Any company that sacrifices the well being of consumers or employees in order to turn a profit deserves to go down in flames.

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4 – The rich elite will leave the poor behind, time and time again.

This goes along with #3 and unfortunately it’s another trend seen throughout history. Those on a throne or in any position of monetary power have a tendency to care only for themselves and their own untouchable wealth.

I’m not saying every rich person or every person with power is like this. Good people exist. But the fact that there are any gluttonous humans out there willing to sacrifice the poor to keep their lifestyle in tact – it’s shameful.

We can be so much better as a race. We can be so much better than children dying of starvation and poverty.

So why aren’t we better?

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5 – Love and grief leads us to be irrational.

A heartbroken elderly woman on this episode loses the love of her life. She’s devastated and furious at the creatures responsible. She recklessly confronts these monsters unarmed and unprepared and perishes.

If I were full of sorrow and lost the most special person in my life, I can’t say I wouldn’t make the same irrational decision. We’re only human and we often make the mistake of considering life decisions while under the control of intense emotion.

Be aware of this human flaw the next time you make choices under the influence of high emotion.

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6 – It’s time to buckle down and care for Earth.

It’s not a joke and it is a big deal – we have one Earth. We have one planet that we have already caused destructive harm and damage to – both knowingly and unknowingly.

Scientists have found ways that we can better care for our planet but it’s up to us – everyone – to take the initiative to better our environment.

If we don’t, we’ll end up with a toxic planet and humans that evolved to breath in carbon dioxide. Watch the episode – these humans are ferocious and hostile. They are a product of what happens when people don’t care about the beautiful planet they’ve been given.

The Doctor says to these creatures, “Be smarter than what made you.” Let’s heed The Doctor’s advice and be smarter than what got us into this situation in the first place. Let’s be smarter than those who abused our Earth. Let’s get our planet back on track and flourishing for generations to come.


Doctor Who is a show of wisdom. It always has been. To sum up the lessons of “Orphan 55”: You’ll be watched when exploring new territory, learn basic first aid, people will do anything for money, the elite will leave the poor behind, emotions make us irrational, and save our planet.

On a less serious note, if someone is investigating intently, don’t touch said person. You might get slapped.

Thanks for reading. I hope your day is full of toxicity free oxygen and good ethical people. Take care.

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5 Insights from the Official Spartan Field Manual (Part One)

Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual is an entertaining read for anyone who has ever played and loved the Halo video games. It is written as if the reader is a newly commissioned and augmented Spartan preparing for the first duty assignment.

It touches on a little bit of everything in the Halo universe from planets and species to weapons and UNSC structure. It’s a manual on being an effective soldier for a fictional institution in a fantastical universe, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.

Whether you are a fan of Halo or not, check out the prodigious life lessons pulled from this field manual:

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1 – It takes bold souls to make an impact.

The manual mentions that Spartans make a a huge impact, but that it’s an extremely dangerous and selective career path.

As with most actions that have an affect on the world, it’s not for the faint of heart. If you want to take a stand and truly make a difference, it’s going to take serious strength, intelligence, and risk.

2 – Always be prepared.

Maybe we don’t live in the Halo universe, but our world is not without danger and unexpected anomalies.

Don’t fret and panic over an unseen future, but be prepared for the basic issues that come with normal life. Have a spare tire and know how to swap it with a flat one. Keep some extra money saved up for emergencies. Take a snack if you’ll be gone all day and practice hard for a competition.

Be prepared. Aliens aren’t likely to fall from the sky today, but a thunderstorm might. So close your car windows and get ready.

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3 – There’s much we don’t know.

I keep saying that we don’t live in the Halo universe, but we still live in a massive, growing, mysterious universe. We are one grain of sand in an ocean of planets and galaxies. We have no idea what’s beyond the range of our telescopes.

Sure, there are theories. There are very intelligent humans out there guessing what’s going on beyond the Milky Way. But it’s all a major compilation of hypotheses. We don’t know. We figure facts out here and there, but we are far from finding out what’s happening on the other side of the universe. We don’t even know what goes on at the bottom of our own oceans.

Let your mind consider all the fascinating worlds and creatures that could potentially be undiscovered by man. It’s mind-blowing.

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4 – Fight as one.

All the components of the UNSC and the Spartan teams work well because they do one thing very well – they fight as one. They work as a unit and complete missions together. No one branch of the institution succeeds without the others.

Whether it’s at work, a sport team, or at home as a family – it’s going to work best if the members work as one. Everyone needs to be on the same page and know his/her job and how it contributes to the mission as a whole.

When we work as one, we all have purpose and a desire to work for the greater good. If teammates go rogue, it leads the entire unit to fall down into a disorganized, inefficient mess.

Be one, moving unit of teamwork.

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5 – Be ready for both times of war and times of peace.

I found it intriguing that manual based off of a war video game mentioned being a good soldier in times of peace. That’s an aspect of this career that is often overlooked and forgotten about to those on the outside.

Yes, be ready for war if you’re a Spartan. But also do your part when the earth is at peace. Be a good worker, a fellow citizen, a supporter of the industry – anything related to making the world a safer place.

The same goes for those of us not on our way to leading a Spartan force – let’s make the world a better, safer place, even if we aren’t directly fighting evil aliens. Pass out free meals or water, volunteer at state parks, give a donation to a group home – the possibilities are endless.

Let’s learn ways to lead keep the world spinning no matter what it’s going through.

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In the end, yes, it’s not a book about real life. Regardless, Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual, taught me five very important lessons: You must be brave to make a difference, be prepared, realize how much we don’t know about life and the universe, fight as one, and be ready for both war and peace.

Throughout reading this book I was amazed that this entire fictitious universe was built from the original idea of a video game. People are truly creative.

Thanks for reading this post. Go create your own universe of life and wonder. And maybe one day some nerdy kid will read about it a write a blog post on it. Who knows?

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Twelventures #2 – Love and Sharpees

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Dear Darth Vader…I Get It

All I ever saw in you was pain. You were constantly suffering in agony. You were on the edge of exploding at any minute and that’s why you released your misery in destructive ways.

All your life you were lied to. You were ripped from your mother and later told to forget her. You were told not to love and that your feelings were shameful. You had to house all that love and anger until it festered and imploded. The dark-side was your only escape from the internal turmoil.

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Darth Vader, I understand you. I don’t blame you for turning to the darkness. The darkness can be a comfort to those lost and confused. You knew something was off about yourself and your emotions, but no one would help you…except one of sinister motive. He lured you into the dark with promises of hope and then trapped you inside forever.

Those who should have led you on the path of balance failed you. They let you down and left you dangling in front of the Sith. When no one would lend a helping hand, who would blame you for turning to the first face that offered a solution? The darkness swooped in and provided a path of preventing death. They comforted you when no one else would.

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But of course, they then betrayed you and let your loved one perish. No one would save you and the only entity helping you out betrayed you. The amount of hatred and excruciating pain would have been unbearable for anyone to handle. The grief and anger, the outrage and anguish – fully giving yourself to the dark-side was the only way to relieve the bottled up despair.

Throughout life you remained stoic, heartless, and harbored deep hatred. You took out your fury on anyone standing in your deadly path.

Until one day, when you saw a spark of light. You saw your son and he led you away from the darkness. He gave you redemption. He gave you peace.

I don’t blame you for your darkness, Vader, I only wish you had met Luke’s light after his birth and not twenty years later. I ache for your decades wasted in hateful destruction.

All you needed was Luke. Those of us lost in the suffering of the dark only need one spark of pure light to bring us out of the depths. Your spark came far too late, Vader.


I’m only glad that it came at the end. I’m thankful you did the right thing and kept your source of light alive.

Thanks for your story, Darth Vader.


Someone Who Has Found Her Light

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3 Ways Zeitgeist: The Movie Will Make You Think

Zeitgeist: The Movie can be found for free on Youtube and details a few major conspiracy theories. I don’t want to give much away, I’m only a viewer of this documentary and wouldn’t do it justice with my words. I suggest everyone watch this video. Even if you don’t agree with what it says, it’s still a well made video that causes viewers to think about our world.

My personal views aside, here are three major life lessons anyone of any belief system can draw from this video:

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1 – Religion has been used to control people – and continues to abuse its power.

I believe that there are genuine people out there practicing religion who gain spirituality and comfort from it. However, I also know that there are others who have taken this sector and used it to gain power and control those who follow along.

In addition to any sacred texts, rules are added, punishments are established, and money is demanded of the followers. Those in charge take advantage of their followers by threatening their souls and well-being.

Religion might mean much for some, but it’s also been used as a tool to control and gain power. Believe and practice religion if it suits your soul, but don’t let those in charge manipulate and control you with lies. Don’t be fooled by the words of charismatic, corrupt men and women.

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2 – People who think too much are dangerous to those in unethical control.

To have mindless, distracted subjects is ideal for those in control. If we’re all blindly following along playing games on our iPhones, then there’s no one to question those in authoritative positions. There’s no one to notice the messed up policies and actions of those who have power.

Dangerous in today’s society doesn’t mean carrying a rifle or planting a bomb. Those who are truly dangerous are those who think too much and strive to threaten the corrupt establishments that we follow without questioning.

The world is the way it is nowadays – but it doesn’t have to be so. When we give up dreaming of different possibilities is when we completely give those in charge all power over us.

Be dangerous – be a thinker.

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3 – Nothing in our society is how it seems.

The biggest mistake we all make is believing whatever we’re told by the media. The truth is, we can’t take any of it seriously because we’ve been lied to for so long.

The only real truth is what we experience and see for ourselves. Look at how you are living life. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Do you feel like you belong and have safety? What you experience is reality. What they tell us is modified by monetary gain and the pursuit of continued power.

Explore and find your own answers because no one on a TV screen is genuinely handing them out.

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Zeitgeist: The Movie is a bit of a mind boggling watch. It might lead you to believe what’s discussed in the video or it might not. Either way, it will make you think about this world today. Have an unbiased, open mind and check it out.

Thanks for reading this post. Go do some exploring.

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3 Tips from Doctor Who: Spyfall, Part Two

Doctor Who Season 12, Episode 2 featured a battle between The Doctor and her arch enemy – The Master. The Doctor meets some new historically significant friends while her 21st century companions try to fight from afar.

The Doctor saves the day but learns a hard truth about her home in the end. Here’s some life advice taken from Spyfall, Part Two:

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1 – Taking risks can spark hope.

When the world is in danger and there seems to be no end in sight, it might be time to step out and take an enormous, life shaking risk. Making moves in general will bring hope. Staying stagnant is what causes us to lose motivation and give up the fight.

So when life gets tough, take some risky steps forward. You may not know where the steps will get you, but at least there will be hope of making things better. There’s hope in taking the initiative to improve your own situation.

2 – Even if the hero is lost, continue to fight.

In this episode, the Doctor is separated from her current companions. The group wonders what to do with the Doctor MIA, but they quickly conclude to continue their mission of stopping the bad guy. They worry about the whereabouts of their leader briefly, but move on to help save the world.

Following genuine leaders/heroes is great, but we must all remember to keep fighting even if the leader falls.

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3 – Use what we have at our disposal. Don’t take anything for granted.

When caught in a sticky situation, do as the Doctor and companions did in this episode and examine the scenario. What do we know? What do we have? What can we use? What can we do right now to make this better?

Take a minute to observe the details and look at all aspects of the situation calmly before making a move.

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Doctor Who always tends to lend tidbits of guidances to viewers. From Spyfall, Part Two I pulled advice to take risks to spark hope, fight even if the hero is lost, and to use what’s available to beat the bad guys.

On a less serious note, I learned that if you change from a man to a woman, you might often forget that you are, in fact, now a woman. I would imagine that being a dude for over a thousand years will make the transition to a woman pretty difficult. Interesting thought.

Thanks for reading and I hope you don’t get trapped in the 19th century today. That’s probably not fun for anyone.

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