The OODA Loop is a four-step method to swiftly make effective decisions in tough and high-stakes situations. It is created by military leaders and war strategists who work in extreme situations and routinely face drastic scenarios.
The OODA Loop stands for:
It is called a loop as it is intended to be repeated until the conflict is taken care of.
The first step is to observe the situation in a comprehensive and accurate manner, taking into account the visible information. A fighter pilot, for instance, can observe the following:
Similarly, a doctor meeting a patient for the first time has to observe and gather information, which apart from the visible symptoms, also means verbal cues, body language and diagnostic tests.
Orientation is a basic step but is overlooked by many. We have to orient ourselves and recognize any barriers that might be an interference in the OODA loop.
Orientation takes an objective, unbiased look at the world, free from shortcuts and mental models that interfere with our thinking. Paying attention to our own assumptions and biases like old habits, ignoring new information, and even our own cultural traditions is recommended to orient ourselves towards reality.
Deductive Destruction is a way to orient yourself by paying attention to your own biases and assumptions, and replace them with objective, fundamental thought processes.
One has to pull things apart (dissection and analysis) and then put them back together (synthesis) in new ways so that new ideas and actions are revealed.
After the groundwork has been laid by the previous steps of observing and orienting, one has to decide, creating a decision field to spot any flaws and decoys.
The first conclusion isn’t always right, and we cannot make the same decision frequently.
Enacting decisions is different from the deciding part. One puts the decisions to test by taking action.
The results indicate the quality of the decision and the OODA loop cycles back into a feedback loop, where successful decisions are repeated and bad ones are improvised.
In a comprehensive study, many people were asked about the time taken for them to make decisions regarding their life partner, their choice of beverage, and evaluation of various kinds of data. In all of the cases, there was a false belief in the individuals that they would utilize more information than what they eventually did.
Humans falsely believe that we process information in an incremental, linear way.
Some on-the-spot gut instinct judgements are often remarkably accurate, and can also save time.
On the flip side, many judgements based on a simple observation snowball into a series of missteps due to the problem of self-fulfilling prophecy, where confirmation bias makes the person see the very thing that is already believed as true.
The Pareto principle states that 20% of your activities (even lesser) deliver 80% results (even more) in almost every area of your life.
You don't need to become an expert before you start to learn any sub-set of the major skill. You just need to learn enough, so you can self-correct when you make mistakes.
Remove any obstacles that may distract you from practicing your sub-skill. Television is the biggest culprit, followed by smartphones.
Learning something new will come with some frustration. That will be a time to safeguard yourself from any distractions so you remain focused on learning the skill.
It is not humanly possible to practice all in a twenty-hour stretch.
A distributed practice learning method is achievable. It would roughly mean 45 minutes of practice for a period of thirty days in a row.
For instance, writing every evening for 30 minutes can give you a reward of a 25 000-word book in a 5 - 6 week period.
The fear of sounding stupid stops us. In reality, you can learn anything if you wish to with a little daily practise over a repeated period of time.
If you have a concrete objective (speaking a language, passing an exam), how you practice should match the intended use.
An extension of this idea is that learning broadly is a bad idea - that you won't remember "useless" knowledge. But this is false. Having an extensive knowledge base makes learning easier.
We tend to think of skills reasonably broadly, but our skills are very specific.
Direct learning minimizes the chance that we will focus on learning information unrelated to our actual goal.
The magical "intuition" for hard subjects we notice in people like Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman is owed to their extensive knowledge base they could draw from.
The broader and more varied the situations you need to perform in, the broader your knowledge base should be to help you think better.
Direct practice is not the opposite of deep understanding.
A naive approach to mastering, for example, physics problems, is to continue practising exam questions. But practising limited exam questions is not the same as the range of problems you will find in the real world. To solve real problems, you need a deep structure for understanding the problems, not just memorised solution patterns that you cannot apply.
In improving your knowledge base, you're not optimising for a specific goal, but all future learning goals.
Humans have incredible creative potential. Our ability for creating remarkable inventions like megacities or symphonies shows our capacity to imagine possibilities and make them happen.
Looking at history shows us that collaborative creativity was instrumental to our success in the past and the future.
Human creativity is our ability to move to and fro between the realms of "what is" and "what could be."
Creativity is a two-stage process:
Creativity is not only about genius or limited to the work of original thinkers. Creativity appears from the interconnections of ideas, experiences, and imagination.
When we participate in an activity that involves our distinct human ability to imagine, create, or enjoy imagery, sound and sensations like poetry, music or carpentry, it stimulates cognitive and physiological processes that strengthen our creative abilities.
Our creative and collaborative actions have many beneficial outcomes, and we can try to use those to change or offset the negative.
We are not very good at guessing how we'll feel in the future. In predicting how we will feel in the future, we commonly use the past experience as a guide.
But our brain favours the extreme and most recent events. We tend to focus on the main features of an event and less on the journey to get there. This means that we won't always make the best decisions about our lives.
We overestimate the strength of our emotions in the future.
Studies show that people overestimated their happiness at winning and their disappointment at losing because they forgot all the other things that would happen in a day that would influence their mood.
A lottery winner, for instance, won't spend every day celebrating their win. Nor will someone with a disabling accident spend all their time in shock.
When imagining either situation, we like to think that the feelings will be long-lasting. We forget that we will adapt and that the feeling will eventually wear off.
Bridging differences means finding ways to create positive dialogue and understanding across race, religion, political ideology, etc.
Bridge-building does not mean that you always agree with the other person or find common ground with them.
Bridging differences is not to convert people to your ideological position.
Bridging is trying to understand someone else's perspective. It requires asking them questions and seeing the world through their eyes.
Bridging doesn’t mean abandoning your beliefs or values.
Bridging involves the cooperation of people, even when people have opposing views.
When we think about bridging differences, we usually think about big gestures or breakthrough conversations. However, much of the work happens beforehand.
To ensure inner work, we often need to cultivate the right mindsets and develop better intrapersonal skills that can build the capacity for more positive interactions with other people and groups.
To bridge differences, you need to accept that you don't have all the answers nor that your view is the absolute right one.
Humble people show greater openness to other people's views and experiences.
Bridging might involve trying to overcome a history of conflicts or creating an alliance between once-opposing groups to work toward a common goal.
The psychological and emotional distance someone needs to travel determines the time it will take to build trust to cross the bridge. Dealing with the smaller concerns first is good practice toward the more complicated issues.
Bridging often requires taking risks and exposing vulnerability. When you really hear someone else's views, you may even risk being influenced by what you hear.
The willingness to be transformed is necessary to do authentic bridging work.
It's is questionable and counterproductive to ask people to bridge differences when they're being discriminated against or denied social power.
It could be harmful to forge a connection with someone who fundamentally denies your right to exist or threatens you with violence.
Our world has a dizzying amount of propaganda and disinformation: political misinformation, ignorance, social media, scientific ignorance, etc.
Disinformation will always exist. However, we should know how to fight it. For that, we should consider Sophism.
Initially, Sophists taught education and rhetoric as well as music and other arts. Philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle believed Sophistry to be a lowly endeavor designed to sound profound.
But Sophists strove for Phronesis, or practical truth, above Truth (Sophia). Sophistry presents an argument that builds into a practical truth, not the Ultimate Truth.
Debates are essential for democracy. Sadly, social media platforms are not designed for introspection and dialogue. Social media allows for a rapid spread of disinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theories.
Propaganda and disinformation create a realm where disbelief is disloyalty. Propaganda is compliance and the preferred vehicle for authoritarians. A healthy democracy should promote curiosity and debate.
... or the 80/20 principle was coined in the early 1900s by Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist. He observed that the pea pods in his garden were producing peas at this rate. 20 percent of the pea pods produced 80 percent of the peas. This output was then observed by him on a larger scale, across industries, societies and companies.
This principle states that 80 percent of the output or results comes from 20 percent of the input or effort.
The Pareto principle has been seen working in various fields, and domains:
We have never considered this before but the same principle applies to our lives.
The 80/20 law, like gravity, is everywhere in your life.
Check your money flow, relationships, possessions, and the things you spend your time on, and find if there is any improvement that can be made in your life.
Metaphors use familiar objects and phenomena to help think through and talk about abstract ideas.
Although metaphors can illustrate ideas and provide insight, they can also limit them. There comes a point when the limits they impose will outweigh the understanding they provide.
Some studies suggest that one in every 25 words we use is a metaphor. The choice of metaphor can form the way we see the world and act upon it.
In a series of experiments, participants were given two identical reports about crime, except that one report described the crime as "a wild beast preying on the city" and the other "a virus infecting the city." When asked for solutions, those who read the first report suggested stricter law enforcement, while those who read the second proposed social reforms.
Metaphors, like “trickle-down economics” and “red wall,” help frame the issues and also our responses to social and political discussions.
When politicians compare the national economy to a household budget, they want us to think in specific ways about national debt or policies of austerity.
Metaphors also play a role in science. Science accepts that metaphors can be limiting, but admit that they are an essential tool for thinking.