Learn more about personaldevelopment with this collection
Understanding the importance of decision-making
Identifying biases that affect decision-making
Analyzing the potential outcomes of a decision
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
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One needs to note incorrect assumptions and biases and then replace them with fundamental, versatile mental models. Only then can we begin to garner a reality-oriented picture of the situation, which will inform subsequent decisions.
Example: A snowmobile comprises elements of different...
Orientation isn’t just a state you’re in; it’s a process. You’re always orienting
John Boyd developed his ideas during his own time as a fighter pilot. He earned the nickname “Forty-Second Boyd” for his ability to win any fight in under 40 seconds.
Boyd spent his career observing people and organizations. How do they adapt to changeable environments in ...
What is strategy? A mental tapestry of changing intentions for harmonizing and focusing our efforts as a basis for realizing some aim or purpose in an unfolding and often unforeseen world of many bewildering events and many contending interests.
The first step in the OODA Loop is to observe. At this stage, the main focus is to build a comprehensive picture of the situation with as much accuracy as possible.
A fighter pilot needs to consider: What is immediately affecting me? What is affecting my opponent? What could affect us later...
Orientation is frequently misunderstood or skipped because it is less intuitive than the other stages. Boyd referred to it as the schwerpunkt, a German term that loosely translates to “the main emphasis.” In this context, to orient is to recognize the barriers that might interfere with the other ...
Having gathered information and oriented ourselves, we have to make an informed decision. The previous two steps should have generated a plethora of ideas, so this is the point where we choose the most relevant option.
First-conclusion bias: We cannot keep making the same ...
In a closed system, entropy always increases and everything moves towards chaos. Energy spreads out and becomes disorganized.
A fighter pilot must be an open system or they will fail. They must draw “energy” (information) from outside them...
Ideas should be tested and then, if necessary, discarded.
OODA is a feedback loop, with the outcome of actions leading back to observations.
We can incorporate testing into our decision-making processes by keeping track of outcomes in
Uncertainty does not always equate to risk. A fighter pilot is in a precarious situation, where there will be gaps in their knowledge. They cannot read the mind of the opponent and might have incomplete information about the weather conditions and surrounding environment. They can, however, take ...
OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. The description of it as a loop is crucial. Boyd intended the four steps to be repeated again and again until a conflict finishes. Although most depictions of the OODA loop portray it as a superficial idea, there is a lot of depth to it. Using it shou...
Four main barriers prevent us from seeing information in an unbiased manner:
While technically a decision-making process, the OODA loop is all about action. The ability to act upon rational decisions is a serious advantage.
The other steps are mere precursors. A decision made, now is the time to act upon it. Also known as the test stage, this is when we experiment t...
Fighter pilots must make many decisions in fast succession. They don’t have time to list pros and cons or to consider every available avenue. Once the OODA loop becomes part of their mental toolboxes, they should be able to cycle through it in a matter of seconds.
Speed is a crucial element...
Gödel’s theorems indicate that any mental model we have of reality will omit certain information and that Bayesian updating must be used to bring it in line with reality. Our understanding of science illustrates this.
In the past, people’s conception of reality missed crucial concepts such ...
We can’t just look at our own personal experiences or use the same mental recipes over and over again; we’ve got to look at other disciplines and activities and relate or connect them to what we know from our experiences and the strategic world we live in.
Using the OODA loop should enable us to act faster than an opponent, thereby seeming unpredictable. While they are still deciding what to do, we have already acted. This resets their own loop, moving them back to the observation stage. Keep doing this, and they are either rendered immobile or for...
This principle describes the limit of the precision with which pairs of physical properties can be understood.
We cannot know the position and the velocity of a body at the same time. We can know either its location or its speed, but not both.
If a pilot focuses too hard on where a...
I am a sucker for gadgets, stubborn and curious. Eating right and sleeping well is important to me.
Make decisions using strategies from the best fighter pilot.
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During the day:
1. Metaphors are workhorses of description that intrigue your audience and help you win new readers. They allow you to paint a picture beyond corresponding adjectives and nouns.
For example, “A freshly paved tar road enveloped the night sky” is far more vivid to read than “the night sky was...
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