Three Things My GI JOE Taught Me About Life

by Steve Prager on January 20, 2011

In 1967, my talking GI Joe had a deep, commanding voice and a kick butt attitude. He was the king of the toy box. No kung fu grip –that came two years later.

He’d been in a couple of scrapes. I knew that because he had a big orange scar running down his left plastic cheek.

Whenever my ten year old hand pulled the string that snaked out of the back of his camouflage dungarees, GI Joe barked, “Take Hill 279. Move out!” There was no mistaking his insistent tone. Joe was a doll (err..action figure) of few words, but when he spoke, everyone jumped.


Take Hill 279.” After an absence of 43 years, I heard his voice again last week. I’d been working on a particularly unpleasant task. Ugh! Almost any excuse to quit would have delighted me.

“Move out!” The Old Sergeant’s words tumbling through the fog of time seemed like a special message for this 52 year old kid. I put on my best deciphering hat, and here’s what I gleaned….

“Take Hill 279.Move out!”

First of all – Joe was emphatic. TAKE Hill 279. Don’t ignore it, go around it or bargain with it. Don’t go halfway up and quit. And for God’s sake,..don’t TRY. Take it. In today’s parlance, Crush it……Own it.

Second – GI Joe was specific. “Take Hill 279.” Not any old hill, but Hill 279. Focus on just one thing, Joe seemed to be saying. Name it and tame it. Give this one thing everything you’ve got.

Third – GI Joe was impatient. He was a true ACTION figure. “Move out!” he barked. Don’t think about it, study it or hang around at the bottom of the hill waiting for the perfect moment. Don’t put off action until ‘someday’ or ‘retirement’; don’t wait for the critics to agree, or for someone else to tell you it’s OK. Move Out! Do It Now!


Take Hill 279. Move out!” That’s my new battle cry. GI Joe’s lesson is clear. Focus on one specific problem, hit it with everything you’ve got and don’t quit. Do that NOW.

Maybe your challenge is finishing the great American novel, losing 10 pounds, forgiving a heartless ex, quitting smoking, finding the courage to leave a dead end job and start a new business or taking up Grandma Moses-style finger painting. It doesn’t matter.

Whatever it is, you can do it. You’ve got your marching orders now.

How do I know? Well, just pull Joe’s string….he’ll tell you himself.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan January 20, 2011 at 9:25 am

Terrific inspiration!


Alice February 1, 2012 at 7:39 am

I am taking down my Golden Hour sign at my cube and replacing it with “TAKE HILL 279″


Robert Nixon June 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Great inspiration from a true American Hero! Thanks to GI Joe and Steve Prager!


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