Personal Principles

Note: Originally posted on my personal blog.

  1. Simple and light.
  2. Have a PACE for everything.
  3. Make it asymmetrical, stack advantages.
  4. Act, don't react.
  5. Target dictates the weapon and the weapon dictates the movement.

These are principles that have helped me across a variety of activities: war, alpine climbing, work, red teaming, hard times...
I tried to simplify the concepts as much as I could, focusing on things that can be applied together.

1. Simple and light

Keep everything simple. Simple things are easy to change when you need to. Simple plans will adapt better to the ever-changing conditions in the field. Simple things are easy to understand and explain, especially under stress.
I also believe in being nimble. Being light allows you to move faster, more fluently. Being light allows you to be more efficient.

2. Have a PACE for everything

PACE: Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency. A military way of building a communication plan. However it can be applied to all planning and things.
It's about having a Plan B, but also understanding that everything will eventually fail. Have contingencies and an escape plan. Be ready for the worst. When it happens, you'll know what to do.

3. Make it asymmetrical, stack advantages

It's not what you do, it's when and how you do it. It's making sure the odds are in your favor. If you want to be successful you have to make it happen. Fight with small team tactics, a guerrilla. Make things stack in your favor. Then execute.

4. Act, don't react

Don't wait for things to happen, be proactive. Go for it and be ready. It's too late if you have to react after something happened. Red team it. Plan 2-3 steps ahead, and make it asymmetrical!

5. Target dictates the weapon and the weapon dictates the movement

Don't get caught on a technique, or a method, or a tool, or on planning. Things are dynamic and they depend on your target. Once you know your target (whar you want to achieve), you can then decide what weapon (technique, tools, etc) you need to use to hit that target (or to work with, defuse, assess, build, etc). Once you know the weapon, then you'll be able to understand how you will need to move and reach that target. In other words, don't be stuck on a technique or tool, adapt it to the target, focus on understanding what is the best tool or technique to achive that target, and then you'll be able to plan (move) to make it happen.

(Note: this principle was taught to me by Richard "Mack" Machowicz, one of the most interesting people I've met. Unfortunatelly, he is no longer with us. Thank you for all Mack!)