“Decisions without actions are pointless, actions without decisions are reckless.” COL John Boyd
Fred Leland Jr. has a set of postings on mental-toughness. At the end of both articles he says, “Stay Oriented!” This may be how he ends all his articles, but in an article about mental toughness, he should perhaps use, “stay focused!” as wisdom to an end.
Orientation is a position in the environment that one observes from, that leverages an advantage. Mental toughness, in the context of orientation, means to keep your advantage in a changing environment, while trying to maintain your orientation.
It doesn’t take mental-toughness to keep yourself oriented. If you never listen to one’s past bias (old ways and means) and ignore the implicit image of one’s position in the future (possible end), you will easily remain in the same orientation. It takes mental-toughness to keep your old position in focus, as you re-orient and re-harmonize your position, to take advantage of a changing environment.
To maintain an advantage in the environment one observes, as the environment changes, may mean to position yourself differently, or in other words re-leverage your advantage. While trying to maintain an advantage, through decision making, in a changing environment is where mental-toughness needs to kick-in.
As colonel Boyd’s wisdom dictates, decisions need to be made if action is to be taken, and action needs to be taken if the environment changes. If decisive action is not taken (the decision to re-positioning the leaver of advantage in your orientation) as the environment changes, then your leverage is weakened, as the moment of inertia changes in the gap between decision and action. In other words, Action develops outside the gap (in a new environment) between your decision and action making. Again, as Boyd’s wisdom dictates, Action without Decisions are reckless.
A moment of inertia (or tipping point) arises, in a changing environment, outside your Decision and your Action time-steps. This tipping point develops as the advantage changes from one advantage to another. As the tipping-point changes, it is important to keep your orientation in focus, in the action of your decision, to gain an advantage in a new environment.
The enemy gets to vote in this re-positioning for advantage, because it may be “he” that is changing the environment (with or without your help).Without focus, your orientation, along with the advantage of your past and future, may disappear, as the environment changes and a new tipping point forms. If your orientation disappears, all advantage goes to your enemy, because he has a position.
Without focus, the connection between the explicit and implicit data (bias and feed-back) that forms your orientation may disappear. Data out of focus, between where you have been and where you are going is a loss of the environment of your orientation, because the environment is the gap between these two positions (past and future), of your Decisions and Actions.
Therefore, to maintain your orientation (self) in a changing environment takes mental-toughness, as you must maintain focus on the explicit biases of your past and the implicit vision of your future, while re-positioning your advantage. No small mental exercise.
You have the choice of maintaining your focus, joining your enemy’s orientation (position), or loosing all advantage. When that advantage is global, as Atlas showed, the consequences of losing that advantage may be earth-moving.