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  • Writer's pictureGarth

To win, we must understand the problem.

Updated: Mar 20, 2019


Video Length: 4:15 minutes


Contained in this post are actually two seemingly unrelated pieces of media. One is a scene from one of my favorite movies, Moneyball. The other is an article describing the steps the US government is taking to increase combat lethality. What do these two things have in common? Here’s the point: To win, we must first understand the problem.


To win, we must understand the problem. Let’s be honest for a moment, it’s often easier said than done. Take a look at this scene from Moneyball:

Billy Bean is abrasive. He’s uncouth. He lacks tact, but he’s right. In order for the A’s to win, they need to address an entirely different set of problems than say the Yankees or the Red Sox. 

Now take a look at this article from Warrior Maven:

The article describes the findings of a focus group used to determine how we can improve combat lethality by addressing both physical preparedness and cognitive performance. Essentially this is the Military saying Billy Bean’s equivalent of “good, so what's the problem” to the US Government. 

Spoiler alert… Running more and recruiting troops with higher SAT scores didn’t make the list. So, what made the list? What can the US government do for its troops to exponentially and scientifically enhance combat lethality? Nutrition. That’s right…. The single most important thing we can improve on in terms of physical readiness to improve combat lethality, is to allow units to purchase additional nutritional supplements. That’s it. Plain and simple.

The interesting part about this, is that it was a surprise to a lot of people and groups. Operators have known this for years, but this is a perfect example of the brass taking a step back and really, honestly trying to understand the problem. They nailed it. 

Decision, Design, Discipline:

Black and white… Decide use different reasoning or perspectives to understand the problem. Check out my review of Untethered Soul and try to use some of those skills as a medium.

Example: “Traffic is going to make me late. Is traffic really the problem? The fact that I will not get to work on time is the problem. How do I fix that? I can leave earlier or take a different route. The traffic is not the problem.” This thought process and honest assessment allow us to be more efficient with our time and energy. You can’t fix traffic, just like you can’t replace Giambi.

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