John Boyd was an Air Force Pilot and Military Strategist. He developed a theory called the OODA Loop. In it, we practice the art of Observation, Orientation, Deciding, and Acting. In a combat situation, the one who can do this faster will make more observations, orientation, decisions, and take more actions than his or her opponent. It is a formula for success and can be applied to any moment of our day. Apply it in the rest of your life and you will make more observations, orient more often, make more decisions, and take more actions than you would have. Try it, and make it a part of you.
Here are the short notes that I took from reading his theory:
-Ambiguity and uncertainty surround us.
-Our inability to properly make sense of our changing reality is the bigger hindrance.
-When our circumstances change, we often fail to shift our perspective and instead continue to try to see the world as we feel it should be. We need to shift our mental concepts.
-Mental concepts (Mental Models) can be rooted in tradition, heritage, or genetics, or be as specific as rules, laws and social etiquette.
– Sometimes our Mental Models don’t match up with reality.
– Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems. Any logical model of reality is incomplete and must be continuously refined/adapted in the face of new observations.
– Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. We cannot simultaneously fix or determine the velocity and position of a particle or body. As we get a more and more precise measure of one value (velocity or positions), our measurement of the other value becomes more and more uncertain. The uncertainty of one variable is created simply by the act of observation. Even as we get more precise observations about a particular domain, we’re likely to experience more uncertainty about another. Hence, there is a limitation in our ability to observe reality with precision.
– 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Without new information, we are closed systems.
– Looking inward you only access old mental models, you are the man with a hammer and everything is a nail.
– Develop mental agility. Observe (unfolding circumstances, outside information, implicit guidance and control) Orient ( cultural traditions, genetic heritage, new information, analysis and synthesis, previous experience) Decide, Act. Everything is new all the time.
– “If we don’t communicate with the outside world–to gain information for knowledge and understanding–we die out to become a non-discerning and uninteresting part of that world.” –John Boyd
– Observe, be an open system. Condition Yellow is a relaxed alert.
– Destructive Deduction * You constantly have to break apart your old paradigms and * Creative Induction put the resulting pieces back together to create a new perspective that better matches your current reality. It’s a continual process. A loser is someone who cannot build snowmobiles and employ them when facing uncertainty and unpredictable change.
– Familiarize yourself with as many theories and field of knowledge as possible and challenge your beliefs. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
– “Orientation isn’t just a state you’re in; it’s a process. You’re always orienting.” –John Boyd
– Decide * when we decide which mental model(s) to use, we’re forced to settle for ones that aren’t perfect, but good enough.
– Act * Test * “We gotta get an image or picture in our head, which we call orientation. Then we have to make a decision as to what we’re going to do, and then implement the decision….Then we look at the [resulting] action, plus our observation, and we drag in new data, new orientation, a new decision, new action, ad infinitum…” –John Boyd
Speed up and slow down your OODA Loop to create moments in time.