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In todays Daily Mail General Nanson
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This is not full report far to big for message board so been edited but click on link in blue to ses it all

Atten-shun! The military rules that can change YOUR life: Army General who runs Prince William and Harry's old military academy claims Sandhurst's gruelling regime can teach us all how to succeed

Major-General Paul Nanson said Sandhurst discipline can help improve lives
Getting up early, tidying your room, ironing clothes can all help, he said
Each one promotes empowerment, self-discipline and leadership skills



He also admits that his children are on red alert when he returns home from Sandhurst, where he is the commandant, every Friday.

‘I wouldn’t go as far as putting on my white gloves to inspect but it’s good for them to have a tidy room. They work in there and it’s easier to do a tricky job at a tidy desk.

‘I can’t stand working in a cluttered space. An orderly room helps an orderly mind.’

Neither of his children, he says, currently wants to join the Army.

For the more practical skills, he despatches me to his beloved Sandhurst in Berkshire, established in 1812 and the alma mater of Sir Winston Churchill, historian Sir Anthony Beevor, author Sir Michael Morpurgo, singer James Blunt and, of course, Princes William and Harry. It is here, beyond the vast echoing grandeur of the entrance hall, that I meet some of the 240-odd cadets who graduated in December and learn from them — courtesy of a bit of bed-making and ‘bulling’ (intensive shoe polishing) — the day-to-day practicalities of the Sandhurst way.

Which in real life starts with five weeks of utter hell.

Up at 4.30am, room inspections at 5.30am, breakfast at six, endless ironing — arrival day is called Ironing Board Sunday because it’s when all the new cadets unload their kit from their cars — polishing, assault courses, standing to attention and very little sleep.

According to General Nanson, it’s about ‘teaching new habits and hopefully helping you shake off old [ones]’.

It all begins in the bedroom, where everything must be perfect — and I mean weirdly, astonishingly, dare I say almost pointlessly perfect — ready for the 6am singing of the national anthem and the day’s first inspection.

The bed alone is a work of art —sheet secured by hospital corners and bulldog clips to the bed frame beneath, ironed in situ (‘So much easier than ironing the sheet beforehand,’ says Officer Cadet Olivia Eaton-Jones, 24), duvet tucked in at one end and also ironed. Yes, really.
The Major-General said that when he goes home his children are on 'red alert' and are retired to keep a tidy bedroom as it will help them to complete more complicated tasks
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The Major-General said that when he goes home his children are on 'red alert' and are retired to keep a tidy bedroom as it will help them to complete more complicated tasks

The drawers would make any harassed civilian sigh with pleasure. Everything just so.

It turns out folding a jumper or shirt into an exact A4 is rather tricky. The paper inside crumples and buckles. The arms don’t lie flat, unless you’ve practised it many times.

Officer Cadet Fabio Grassi, 24, says it’s all about self-discipline, to do the small stuff well.

And, he adds, there’s a silver lining: ‘If it all goes wrong, we could probably get a job in a clothing shop,’ he says. The attention to detail is astonishing. The closed end of the pillow cases must always face the door. The area between the pillows and duvets should be the exact length of a sheet of A4 and the shoes and boots are buffed until they look brand new with a seemingly endless routine of polish, water, special damp cloth and prepped with a nail brush.

Which, frankly, seems an astonishing faff to someone like me, who would rather not wear a shirt than have to iron it, has drawers bursting with mismatched socks and crumpled knickers and lives happily with piles of detritus all around the house.

But General Nanson says this sort of self-discipline (and, crucially, teamwork — some cadets are better at bulling, others beds, so they help each other out) is one of the keystones to success. ‘If you look good, you feel good,’ he says. ‘The road to greatness starts with a perfectly folded sock. It’s about having a sense of pride in everything you do, an inner satisfaction in not having cut corners.’

So far, so very Army.

After self-discipline comes preparation. So whether packing for battle or a mini-break with your girlfriends, always make a list, lay everything out neatly and tick it off as you go — and perhaps have a ‘practice pack’ a few days before. Just as General Nanson does at home.
This image shows Regimental Sergeant-Major Ronald Brittain of the Coldstream Guards, who is said to have on of the loudest voices in the British Army
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This image shows Regimental Sergeant-Major Ronald Brittain of the Coldstream Guards, who is said to have on of the loudest voices in the British Army

He loves making packing lists and personally checks off all joint family items such as sun cream, towels and travel books. He tells me his sock drawer is ‘absolutely not chaotic’, that he jumps out of bed for a run at 6am every morning like clockwork and assures me he has never, ever, dropped a wet towel on the floor. Happily, for the rest of us, much of the Sandhurst way is about building on failure, of regularly checking your moral compass and what Nanson calls stopping for a ‘condor moment’ — giving yourself enough thinking space to make the right decision in a crisis.

Because even in an emergency —whether being surrounded by suspect enemy tanks on ops in Saudi Arabia or faced with improvised explosive devices that can kill your comrades in a second — there is time to breathe, think and then act.

In everyday life, he says, this is just as important and the principles can be applied equally to an email written in haste and fury — stop, save, go for a run, have a cup of tea, pop to the loo.

The chances are, by the time you get back to it, you will never send it and be grateful you didn’t. Given how crisp, organised and energetic the general is — and how unlike a messy teenager — I suspect civilian family life must be full of frustrations. While cool-headed in battle, he admits to struggling sometimes at home.

‘I am not as good as I should be. I can be quite fiery on small things,’ he says.

After some nudging, he also admits to using elasticated sheets at home — so no hospital corners — and (shock horror!) buttering toast on the kitchen counter without a plate.

Shame on you, General: ten push-ups now!

But he has never been late in his life and I would bet my house he has never worn a crumpled shirt.
The Major-General works at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Berkshire
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The Major-General works at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Berkshire

Meanwhile, back at Sandhurst, I am marvelling at the cadets, because just like the general they are simply not like the rest of us.

Nearly 44 weeks in when we meet and, with their superb posture, impeccable manners and immaculately pressed combat trousers, they almost throb with confidence and self-belief.

All say they have changed for the better.

‘It’s in how you carry yourself,’ says Olivia Eaton-Jones. ‘How you do things. I’m much more organised and far more confident and I have lists everywhere.’

Fabio Grassi’s mum was shocked by how much he had changed — in a good way. ‘I was suddenly really tidy and much more organised and better at decision-making,’ he says.

Meanwhile, Evie Lindsay, 23, says she’s more alert, more observant, walks much faster now and eats much, much faster, because there is never any time to linger over meals.

They are, without doubt, the most impressive, confident, capable and likeable millennials I have ever met. And they need to be because, as Army officers, the spectrum of challenges they will face is far wider than that General Nanson had to deal with all those years ago.

‘It’s a tough job and they’re all incredibly brave. There are no snowflakes here,’ he says.

Unlike them, I will never ‘pass out’ on the Sovereign’s Parade and march symbolically up the grand stone stairs to enter through the cream-white Corinthian pillars of the academy.

But just a day here — admiring the architecture, soaking up the history and mixing with these amazing youngsters — is enough to understand how a few of their precious life lessons, self-discipline, teamwork, even standing up straight, can make life run smoother, better, nobler, longer.

So why not do as General Nanson suggests and have your own ‘first five weeks’ — seizing the moment to have a fresh start

STAND UP STRAIGHT by Major-General Paul Nanson is published by Century at £9.99. To order a copy for £8 (offer valid to January 18, 2020; p&p free), visit mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648155.

Today's Mail on line Major-General Paul Nanson said Sandhurst discipline can help improve lives Getting up early, tidying your room, ironing clothes can all help, he said Each one promotes empowerment, se

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