Improvise, Adapt & Overcome

It seems in today's overly compartmentalized world it's easy to fall into the "analysis paralysis" trap. It seems that more people are excited to pontificate, research, philosophize, attending meeting after meeting, consult the "experts," and compare ALL of the endless options, rather than get as much info as appropriate, make the best decision to implement a plan, move forward and adapt as needed on the fly. Too much talking, not enough doing.

"A good plan executed now is better than the perfect plan executed next week." 
~Gen. George S. Patton 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting a "Ready, Shoot, Aim" strategy.  Don't make rash, impatient or emotional decisions. However, if you are dealing with something urgent or something that needs to have forward movement, then make your assessment, consult who or what you must, make your decision, implement and adapt as needed to overcome the challenge.

In a critical situation where fractions of seconds count, hesitation and uncertainty can kill.

"Fear causes hesitation and hesitation will cause your worse fear to come true." 
~Bodhi (played by Patrick Swayze) from Point Break

There are many professions where this mantra is frequently exercised: Entrepreneurs, Soldiers, Police, Body Guards, High End Stock Brokers, Day Traders, Sports Athletes, EMT's, ER Doc's, Nurses and Orderlies, Hostage Negotiators, Rescue Teams, etc, etc. 

The ability to quickly assess, connect the dots, create, implement and adapt a plan is essential. That said, don't assume that these people don't spend an enormous amount of time learning, training, planning and preparing beforehand. They do this so when they do find themselves in a tight spot that they can make those quick decisions effectively. 

We were practicing the Improvise, Adapt & Overcome strategy during a recent Krav Maga Defensive Tactics training exercise that addressed physical threats in challenging situations like being stuck in a hostage situation in your car or on a bus, train or airplane. The exercise really brought to light the need to Improvise, Adapt & Overcome during very dangerous situations like these. There were typically no clean solutions to these scenarios. It was very easy to get hurt or killed if the situation became physical. And due to the cramped space, awkward disadvantageous body positions, and an armed threat, the seminar participants had to learn how to improvise and adapt the basic concepts they were taught earlier in the session. Every time an element of the interaction changed, the "technique" would change as well. 

They quickly learned that prevention was best. But, if you couldn't avoid it and still found yourself in such a vulnerable position, the next best thing might be to talk your way out of it. Taking it to a physical level was a last resort. However, if you thought your fate was sealed anyway and you decided that a physical engagement would be your best chance of any type of survival, then understanding the dynamics of distraction and situational timing as well as other strategic tricks that would give you the maximum advantage in the situation was clutch. Knowing the limitations of a strategy, tactic or technique is as important as knowing how to use the method. 

If in a situation you are at such a disadvantage to where you only have a very small chance of success, you want to make sure you know how to squeeze every ounce of effectiveness out of what you CAN do, rather than being paralyzed by what you can't!   

Effective decision making is a skill that needs to be practiced. 

Here is a quick little exercise to try today:
  1. This week set the pace, take the lead - When someone asks you where do you want to go for lunch, dinner, breakfast or coffee, don't say, "I don't know, where would you like to go." Rather, immediately name a place. If they don't like it, suggest another. If they make a suggestion, then either say, OK, or tell them that you'd rather try "restaurant X."   
I know this sounds like a silly pittance of an exercise after talking about hostage situations and such, but it is a simple drill that can help you to begin your journey of being a decisive decision maker. Don't worry, if you need more exercises come out to one of my PeaceWalker Workshops or one of my Krav Maga seminars, I have more advanced drills for you!

Remember, like any other skill, it takes practice to learn to Improvise and Adapt on the fly. The trick is being decisive, but not impulsive; flexible to suggestions and changing situations; seeing the tactical space and being able to quickly connect the dots in every situation.

Good luck and...
Keep going!


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