The OODA Loop

Humans are emotional creatures. In stressful situations our emotions can distract us from being able to focus and make effective decisions. Thankfully smart people who have lived in stressful environments have figured out ways to overcome the stress by simplifying the process of dealing with that stress. One way to do that is the OODA loop.

Not only does this sound cool when you say it, but it’s highly practical as well.

As you can guess, it’s a acronymn and each letter stands for a different step of the process.

  • O-Observe
  • O-Orient
  • D-Decide
  • A-Act

As it turns out following these steps turns out to be a natural process–if we don’t let our emotions distract us.

OODA isn’t just something for Vietnam era fighter pilots. It’s something that we naturally do.

When starting a new phase of work/job/relationship or just taking the time to appreciate the reality of your current work/job/relationship the OODA loop can be a great way to help bring insights from your experiences.

Double Up

There was a hill that we used to run in Germany. It was a 7% grade and could kick your butt pretty quick.

One day someone else was in charge of having us run it. The weather was rainy and miserable. I thought it was a good day to cancel PT. That didn’t happen.

I needed to do something to own the morning. I needed to do something to feel like I was choosing to do this.

We started running. I made it to the top. Lots of people were behind me.

I figured I could go down and up again in the time it would take them to finish their up.

So I did.

It was breaking the rules.

The rules were run up once and wait for the slow people while you stood in the rain. That didn’t seem to make sense. Running up twice did.

Every time after that I ran that hill twice. I didn’t think much of it though. It was my new normal.

Today I find a post on FB of one of the people who I used to run with. He was doing a weekend run. He made it to the top, then went back down to run with someone slower on their way up.

The examples you set it life outlive the time you have together.