Think Like A Sniper

The world is chaotic. There is a fluidity to it that comes from the modular elements that make up all its moving parts. They rub up against each other and change how they all fit together on the fly. To the naked eye and the untrained mind it appears unstructured. Crazy.

Yet, there is an underlying logic to it. Patterns guide everything. Patterns have rhythm. Edges that make everything fit well together. They have repetition and within that repetition, they offer predictability. A person zig-zagging away from you is still governed by Physics. His body mass and the morphology of the ground he is running on determine the specificities of his movements. A sniper scope tracking all this becomes a conduit for information. The moment the decision is made and the trigger is pressed, all variables, past, present and future are frozen in time. The calculations, projections and trajectories are all embedded in an element of time. The sniper’s mind momentarily parts the veils of the future and places the shot where they all meet.

How is it done?

The world truly is information. Data. There are two channels through which everything, physical, mental and psychological, flows through: the visual plane and the temporal one. We “see” everything even when we imagine things. Congenitally blind people still “see” things in their mind’s eye and those who are blind can see without realizing it thanks to the brain’s subcortical processing centers that allow a crucial aspect of vision to occur.

Time is what everything is embedded in. From blinking (0.3 seconds) to reflectively reacting to sound (0.17 seconds) to the beat of our heart (0.8 – 1.5 seconds) and the time it takes to complete a thought time adds up. Every process then becomes seemingly immutable at the dimension of time, you can no more speed it up than you can slow it down.

But that isn’t any more true than the fact that we see using only our eyes or the even more misleading statement that vision is our eyes.

Because the brain sees things we don’t, we have the ability to increase our awareness to process information faster and in greater detail. We can also speed up or slow down time. In essence that gives us greater control over the flow of information and the amount of data we have actually captured and processed. That changes the quality of our decision making. The quality of our decision making is what determines the outcomes we achieve.

So snipers’ brains have been trained to:

  • See more information
  • Perceive more detail
  • Recognize patterns
  • Change time

Bearing in mind that snipers are ordinary individuals that have been trained to an extraordinary edge the question becomes how can we emulate that thought process?

Nothing happens instantaneously. Getting to that level of mental performance requires focus and practice. Above all it requires intentionality. There is no autopilot. Everything is done for a reason and the reason is crystal clear when we are engaged in doing it.
Here’s your daily practice:

  • Spend five minutes focusing on your breathing. Sit still, breathe in through the nose slowly and then exhale through the mouth. Feel yourself doing it. It sounds simple but there is a host of neurophysiological processes that are activated and link the body with the mind via this seemingly simple activity.
  • Go over business or life scenarios you have already lived through. Play them in your mind examining the sequence of events, your actions and the outcome. Change some of the elements, use the “what-if” option to consider what would have happened had you done something differently at some point in time.
  • Think about basic motivations. Consider what moves you. What moves those around you? How can you tell? How could you tell if you encountered the information at some point in the future? How do the motivations you perceive break down into smaller components? How could you tell if you encountered them?

That’s it. Practice daily.

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