During recent air travel in the Middle East, I was taking advantage of a rare opportunity to get caught up on some dated emails, reading and reflection. Reflection, for me, is the return, rebirth or rediscovery of a crucial part of my personal thought and decision making process that has proven “therapeutic” in a lifestyle that is built for speed.

The re-addition of reflection to my decision making cycle has changed me from reactive, to proactive, to adversity. For me, reflection represents the complete circle of thought, concept, effort, result and adjustment. Without reflection, there would be no improvement or adaptation prior to re-engagement. Reflection should serve as your personal after-action report. I feel that reflection should be part of every person’s routine, thought and continuous decision-making cycle. The following experience serves as a product or vignette of my reflections from that trip.

For over a decade, specifically in travel, we have learned that safety is good, awareness is better and creating an environment of security and confidence is optimal. One can certainly argue with the order of that precedence, but regardless, the consideration of these factors and how we or others choose to act upon them determines our behaviors. Are you acting or being required to act in a logical or illogical manners that balance your personal security with your freedoms as an American citizen? Are you achieving life’s fulfillment in a post 9/11 environment, or are you conditioned to continually compromise your liberties based on past events that continue to drive fear?

Back to those emails. One of those emails contained an article sent to me by a respected colleague and mentor. Yay, another article on Al Qaeda! Out of professional courtesy,  I was obliged to read the article and conjure up a response with intellectual injection as a gesture of appreciation for inclusion in this “electronic professional development club.” This specific article instantly captured my interests as it broadly discussed the strategic foundation of Al Qaeda and referenced a book that defined their simplistic views of global insurgency. The book, published in 1965, is titled War of the Flea, by Robert Taber, an American investigative journalist who covered Castro’s operations in the late 1950s.