The New Role Models: Jason Fox
Special Forces sergeant, adventurer, documentary maker, founder of military support organisation Rock2Recovery, and all round nice guy - Jason Fox is a perfect role model for our times.
The Book of Man’s new columnist is one of the ideal role models for men today. We are not highlighting perfect male specimens, we’re talking about real men who have lived through real experiences, and come out of good times and dark times, ready to be an inspiration for others. Jason Fox is one of those people and we sat down to talk about Special Forces selection and why elite soldiers aren’t superheroes…
“I was often in trouble in as a kid, so I joined the military at 16. I was in the marines, and enjoyed it but at the 10 year point, if I wanted to continue as a soldier I wanted it to be with autonomy. So I put in for Special Forces selection.”
The selection course
“I knew I was going to be pass. I just visualised it. I remember thinking, ‘There’s no other option.’
I remember having a tough time on one of the marches where I was at one end of a valley facing three miles of terrain and thinking, ‘I can’t make it.\ But then I just said to myself, ‘Keep going.’ I’m sure I was crying at some point! You can see how people give up, but I just talked myself into keeping going. “
“It’s the hardest the course on the planet. 350 started and there were 9 of us at the end. It’s an awesome feeling when you get through, but then you’re quickly back down to earth as you join a squadron and find yourself back at the bottom with it all to prove to the others. Selection turns out to be the easiest bit, once you join the squadron it’s intense.”
Special Forces people
“We’re not superheroes. It’s normal blokes doing extraordinary things. But obviously the people on it are physically and psychologically robust. And happy in uncomfortable situations.
The people who get through the selection process are flexible individuals who don’t quite think the same and aren’t governed by routine or plans. You have the military training of doing things a set way, but in the Special Forces it’s about understanding that if the plan has gone a bit awry, you need to start thinking outside the box. When things do go wrong, because you’re of that mindset, you’re happy to embrace it and find a new way out.”
The appeal of chaos
“I prefer to be in difficult situations. I like it when stuff is strenuous and stressful in a big way. Little mundane things like bills stress me out – I prefer it when there’s extreme situations where there’s absolute chaos going on and I can be calm within it.
“It’s an emotional rollercoaster. It’s stretches of boredom interjected with sheer terror and excitement. And the by-products involve extreme violence and fear, and just horrible stuff.”
“There is structure to the organisation but the decisions don’t all rest on one man. You’re expected to think for yourself. If you see something that needs actioning or that needs to be done, you can go and do it. And as long as you have good reasons for your actions – that’s what I’s all about. “
“I suppose I realised I had a problem when I was preparing for a job as a senior team leader of a squadron, which I’d normally look forward to, but for some reason it felt like there was a black cloud in the distance. I’d lost my mojo. I couldn’t motivate myself to do it, and I felt like I needed to address it. I was one of the biggest non-believers in PTSD, I thought it was nonsense. But then I suddenly realised it’s not made up. Something wasn’t right with me.”
“People say, ‘I couldn’t do what you do, you are superhuman.’ That’s the worst thing you can say. You’re putting yourself and other people down. I was born a kid, like everyone else and all the guys I’ve worked with are normal. They just decided to go and do something and believed they could do it. It was a belief. Everyone else out there can have that belief if they want it. If they really wat to do something they can – but you have to motivate yourself, you can’t think if I want it, it will just happen – you have to have drive.
Read Foxy’s first column for The Book of Man on leadership.
Follow Jason Fox on Instagram @jason_carl_fox
Jason Fox’s forthcoming Channel 4 show, ‘Inside the Narcos’, will air later this year.
Jason is the founder of Rock2Recovery
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