Tuesday, July 25, 2006


For those who don't happen to belong to a Boy's (or Girl's) Brigade unit, the title probably elicits responses like, "You're what hurts?" Since it is quite likely that covers everybody reading this, MOSAMVBATT is the initials for a way of life.

It means: My own self at my very best, all the time.

As a leader at the Boy's Brigade, this is a value I attempt to instill in the 8th grade groups in my charge each year. A simple statement that speaks volumes. It is something from which we can all benefit.

First, it deals with the one person over whom we have true control. Ourselves. Try as we might, we can only attempt to influence others. Teachers try to help students be great students. But only the student can make themselves excel. Coaches offer suggestions for all of us to be better triathletes. But only we can make ourselves train as needed. Our destinies are our own.

Second, it deals with MY VERY best. Not second best. Not "best until it gets too difficult." Very best. That's MY very best, by the way. So if my best is 3m/100yd in the pool, 14 mph on the bike, and 12 minute miles running, that's good enough. We set ourselves up for failure if we judge ourselves based upon someone else's best. MY best is all anyone (myself included) can ask of me.

Finally, the words "all the time." If you're doing your best some of the time, what about the rest of the time? Are you doing "sort of okay," or "50%,' or "sort of half-assed?" Anything less than all the time leaves lots of time for performing less than 100%.

MOSAMVBATT is the driving force behind my being a marathoner. It is what forced me to become a triathlete, after twelve 8th graders said, "You should do a triathlon." Doing any less would set a poor example for those kids I continually challenge.

One final thought to keep in mind is that MOSAMVBATT is a high bar. While short of perfection, it is the closest thing we can hope to achieve on earth. But we have our whole lives to pursue it. When you have that training session or race that goes "badly," just ask yourself the question. Did I perform at my very best all the time. If you can answer that with an honest, "Yes," then cut yourself some slack. If the honest answer is, "No," then figure out where you need to improve so you can answer "Yes," next time.


Bolder said...

are you speaking American, or, Wisconsin?

what's a brigade?

do people spell out the letters, or is it pronounced MOESAMVEEBAT?

legal immigrants want to know.

Dante said...

Like Bolder, I'm not sure what a brigade is, other than assuming it's like the Scouts?

Some nice thoughts in there, especially when trying to deal with kids that excel in different areas, like my own.

And to be honest, it's something I can learn from too...

Sherri said...

iron pol, did you coin MOSAMVBATT? i appreciate this post, this acronym, and your explanation of it. "MOSAMVBATT" should be engraved into one of those rubber bracelets. In the meantime, I will write it on a yellow post-it and stick it to my bathroom mirror.

Iron Pol said...

Bolder and Dante, The Boy's Brigade is a youth organization started in Europe. In the United States, there is only one unit, located in Neenah, Wisconsin. There are a great many other units in Europe and Australia.

Like some acronyms, many who have been exposed to the concept for years do, in fact, say it phonetically as Bolder put it.

Sherri, the acronym was developed as a way to put the "phrase" onto items without enough room for the whole sentence.

Veeg said...

Is there room in the definition for the fact that "my very best" is going to vary (sometimes widely)? 'Cuz some days, my very best bears a mighty close resemblence to other day's half-assedness. ;)

Sherri said...

got it. thanks. it is indeed scribed on a yellow piece of paper and stuck to my bathroom mirror! thank you iron pol.

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