The habits of control must not take our focus off of external reality by Gary Gagliardi of the Science of Strategy Institute

Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busy work. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!”  Og Mandino

"When a warrior learns to stop the internal dialogue, everything becomes possible; the most far-fetched schemes become attainable." Carlos Castaneda

In choosing how to pursue opportunities, we cannot afford to get distracted by the constraints of our existing internal systems. Strategy demands an external focus on the aspects of our world that we cannot control. When it comes to acting, however, too much of our thought and actions are rooted in the aspects of the world that we can control.

One of the most basic principles of strategy is that we must adapt to external conditions because we cannot control them (S-BOK 1.4 ).  The problem in maintaining this strategic perspective is that we live our lives largely within our bubble of our control. Many if not most of our actions take place within this bubble of control.  From working within this bubble, we develop rules and methods that work within our area of control. Unfortunatly, when we try to apply these rules outside to the competitive environment outside of our control, they always fail dismally.

Sun Tzu described this dichotomy as the split between the productive methods of the nation and the competitive methods of the army (more about that split in this series of public articles). He saw both sets of stills as requiring each other but that our productive efforts must always support our competitive efforts:

"Supporting the military makes the nation powerful.
Not supporting the military makes the nation weak.
" Art of War 3:4:3-4

But in the very next line, he warns us that there is always a temptation to apply the rules to production to the realm of competition.

"The army's position is made more difficult by politicians in three different ways." Art of War 3:4:3-4

A common version of this mistake that today's politicians make is thinking that the rules of law enforcement, which work with controlled society, can be applied to the uncontrolled world of military conflict.   Those trying to bring terrorists to trial must soon discover that those captured on the battlefield are in a very different position than those arrested in society. The access to witnesses and evidence that we enjoy in society simply doesn't exist on the battlefield.

This illusion of control (S-BOK 8.1.1) must be discarded before we choose any external action. We break this illusion using the nature of our mission (S-BOK 1.6) focusing our efforts in on goals external enviornment (S-BOK 1.7.2).

In the end, nefore taking inappropriate actions, we must consciouslly challenge our internal assumptions and habits of action. We must ask ourselves if our choice of actions is more suited to areas in which we have control or in areas in which we must continually adapt to others reactions.