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The First Step Of Strategy

December 29, 2016

If you're a strategist, you start at the end.  

You think about where you want to be. What will be there. Who will be there. 

You start at the end.

Then, you think backward.

Which is hard. It's the opposite of how most people think. 

Most people think forward. Most people start where they are now. They think about what they have now.  

Then, they think about what's possible. They think about what they can do with what they have now. 

They think forward.

Which is wrong.

But not completely wrong. 

It's wrong only if it's the first step. 

If your first step is thinking forward, the world looks like this: 

 

If your first step is thinking forward, there are many possible futures. There are a million things that could determine which future you get.

If you're a strategist, you ignore all that at first. You ignore the million things that could determine which future you get. 

You choose just one future. You choose the one future you want.

You call it the end. 

And you think backward from there.

If you're a strategist, you think like this:

If you're a strategist, the first step is choosing the end. You make the end certain. Which makes the now flexible. 

If you're a strategist, you think about the end first.

Then, you think about the rest.

If you're a strategist, you think like this:  

1. You think about the end.

2. You think about the thing that comes just before the end. Then, you think about the thing that comes just before that. And you keep thinking backward, until: 

3. You think about now. 

4. Then, you think forward.

It's a different way to think. 

There are a lot of interesting things that come from thinking this way.  

We'll talk about them in A Spy's Guide To Strategy.

Here's one thing about thinking like a strategist: You're never hopeless.

Never. 

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Thank you to everyone who read A Spy's Guide to Thinking, making it a bestseller. If you haven't read it yet, it's available here.

 

 

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