How to use military strategy to create a better social life (Strategy Series #1)
I was recently reviewing a military strategy book since I'm a military nerd and love war history. And when I mean love, I mean I was that kid in junior high who was more interested in World War 2 than girls. And to this day, I have no regrets.
Anyways, after reviewing the core concepts of this military strategy book, I realized that this can apply to all aspects of our life. And since I like to share the wisdom I learn, I'm going to start a Strategy Series, where once a month, I will show you how to apply these strategy concepts to your day-to-day life.
And in this email, we'll see how we can apply these strategies to our social life.
Alright, before we begin, let's take a look at the core concepts of strategy:
Adjust your end to your means.
Keep your objective always in mind
Choose the line (or course) of least expectation.
Exploit the line of least resistance
Take a line of operation which offers alternative objectives.
Ensure that both plan and dispositions are flexible - adaptable to a circumstances
Do not throw your weight into a stroke whilst your opponent is on guard
Do not renew an attack along the same line (or in the same form) after it has once failed.
And what I am going to do is break down each point and see how you can apply it to your social life. And since there are 8 concepts to cover, I am going to write about 4 this week and another 4 next week. Anyways, I hope you're sipping your cup of coffee or tea. Because we're about to dive in!
1. Adjust your end to your means
It's natural to have ambitious goals.
You want to make a change and it's better to dream big. However, this is what usually causes people to fail at reaching their goals or objective in life. Because when things get messy, it will seem like their ambitious goals are a pipe dream. And this causes a lot of people to give up, but that's the wrong response. What needs to be done instead is to adjust your end /goal/objective to your current means.
Understand this, you can eventually reach your big goal, but it might be at a later time. So instead, focus on what you can achieve, and then over time, with the adjustments of your goal/objective, you will reach that ambitious goal you thought up.
Alright, so how can this apply to our social lives?
Say you want to have a fun social life, where you have a couple of close friends, a social circle for a couple of hobbies, etc.
Now obviously, that's an ambitious goal so let's adjust the goal to our current means. And to do this, let's take a look at the means we may have:
Current social circle
Social hobby - done weekly with an organized group
Okay, so with this, we can adjust our goals to each of these means.
Means: Current social circle
Adjusted goal/objective: build stronger ties with at least one person within this social circle.
Means: Social hobby
Adjusted goal/objective: make at least one new friend from that group.
Means: Social skills
Adjusted goal/objective: build up my social skills so that I can be comfortable making eye contact and engaging in small talk with strangers.
Here is one thing to note, as you reach these adjusted goals/objectives, you naturally progress to more slightly more challenging (and rewarding) ones. Then over time, that ambitious goal of having a fun social life with close friends and a wide social circle to include various people will come true.
So if you find your current goal being too much, take a step back and adjust it. That's a million times better than quitting.
2. Keep your objective always in mind
This one is very simple.
We have to keep our goals in mind all the time. Otherwise, it is easy to get off-track and waste time. Then years later, we're wondering why we haven't made any progress.
Focusing on your goals is similar to driving. Whenever you are driving, you have to keep your eye on the road. If you are not looking at the road, then you will get into a car crash.
Anyways, when building your social life, you have to remember that you want a better social life.
This always has to be in your mind so that you can make decisions that will support this goal. For example, if you get an invitation to an event, it will be easier to say yes with your goal in mind. Which will make it simpler to not choose the easy option of staying home and binging on Netflix.
Or when you go out for a walk, the goal of wanting a better social life will help remind you to practice social habits like eye contact or smiling at strangers.
It's easier to direct your actions when your goals are always in mind.
And considering there are many ways to achieve a goal, being conscious of your goals will help you see the variety of ways to reach that goal.
3. Choose the line (or course) of least expectation
So with this concept, you want to be in the shoes of the people you interact with. Whether it's your enemy in war, a potential lover, potential contacts, a rival company. You want to view things from their perspective and see how things would come off. Once you have done this, you can then choose the most appropriate approach to reaching your goal.
The way this can be applied to developing your social life is by seeing the ways that will not help you in building your social life. For example, being needy, being a pushover, not having our own opinions, or being too eager, etc. These are all ways that are easy to fall for but will sabotage your social interactions as most people don't respect these ways.
The line of least expectation is having strong social skills and being able to hold an interesting conversation. Since most people don't know how to be comfortably social with strangers, people don't expect strangers to engage with them, least of all socially sound strangers. So when you choose this approach, it will lead to a simpler path to meeting new people, strengthening current relationships, and cultivating new ones.
4. Exploit the line of least resistance
This builds off of the previous concept.
So when you choose the line of least expectation, you use it.
And in the case of being social, you utilize your strong social skills and initiate great conversations. This will help put people's guard down. And from there, you can see how you are vibing with the person, and then if the timing calls for it, you can make plans to hang out with the person again.
A lot of people don't get to experience a person who is charismatic or has strong social skills. And as crazy as this sounds, most people will naturally welcome such a person because they are so rare.
5. Take a line of operation which offers alternative objectives.
One of the mistakes people make in any endeavor is to have a single objective.
The reason why this is a mistake is that it allows other people to guess correctly (with their intuition) what you are after. Human intuition is severely underrated. This is why when people are desperate for one thing (or objective), they get rejected. People, in general, can sense desperation and they don't like it. However, when you have alternative objectives (aka more than one objective), then it will be hard for people to read you. Plus, you will come off as more confident, which will make people more comfortable around you and bring their guard down. And it makes sense to be confident since you know that you will get at least one of the possible objectives.
Anyways, the way we apply this to our social life is by being open to creating different types of connections with people.
When you meet someone, you have the following objectives:
Friend for a hobby (fitness, sports, board
I'm sure there are more alternative objectives I can think of, but you get my drift. By having all these possibilities, it's hard to come off as desperate. You have options when you are engaging with people in your social life. Some will become friends, some will become friends for a hobby, etc. And when you think about this, this can also be applied to dating, networking. Really, any social connection you make.
6. Ensure that both plan and dispositions are flexible - adaptable to a circumstances
In life, it's key to be flexible. And even more so when it comes to your plans. Because if there is one thing we all know: Life likes to throw curveballs at us.
So it's imperative that our plans are flexible and are willing to change based on the circumstances.
That's enough theory, so how can this apply to our social lives?
Well, you ensure that your social skills are developed and that you have a variety of methods to meet new people. Sometimes people will stick to one method to meet new people, such as meeting new people through their friends. Which is nice, but it leaves you restricted and your plans rigid.
Being flexible socially means that you are using all the ways in your back pocket to meet new people. Whether that be through your social hobbies, having small talk with strangers, hosting parties where people can bring a plus one, etc.
When you are flexible in how you approach your social life, you will quickly see how enriching it is. Which leads to a lot of other side effects such as romantic and professional opportunities.
7. Do not throw your weight into a stroke whilst your opponent is on guard
This one is a very simple principle.
When people are on guard, they will naturally say no.
It's just human nature. Just think of the times when you were in a bad mood, you were naturally on your guard and ready to shoot down anybody. However, people don't have to be in a bad mood to be on their guard. They can be on their guard when they are out and just being careful since the world can be a crazy place.
So when you are trying to expand your social circle, you don't want to waste time with people who are on their guard. And how do you know when someone is on their guard?
Well, by seeing how they react to your simple and nonverbal social contacts, such as eye contact and smiling. If a person holds eye contact and/or smiles back, then there is a good chance you can engage with them. If they don't reciprocate at all, then it's better off you don't waste your time, since the person is on their guard and will likely not want to engage.
This simple strategy will save you time and lead you to more social opportunities.
8. Do not renew an attack along the same line (or in the same form) after it has once failed.
Okay, this is also straightforward.
Whenever you get rejected, you do not want to make the same type of attempt.
The reason for this is that people will put up their guards more and more each time you use the same type of attempt.
And in our social lives, if an attempt fails, we should use another type of attempt. For example, say you are at the bus station and you want to chat up the stranger beside you. If the stranger shoots down the small talk, you do not keep attempting. You just back off. If you see the stranger again next day or next week, then you can try complimenting their look or style, and see if that works. If not, all Gucci. You can just move on or wait for them to initiate.
You see, such a simple strategy.
I know some people will be thinking that they don't want to experience any form of rejection. But just remember that the Hero and the Coward both experience failure. One just seems to keep moving forward in spite of failure and the other gets paralyzed by it.
I know this strategy talk might take some time to wrap your head around. So take some time to think about it.
In The Secret Lair (my membership site), I am working with one member to build a strategy (using these principles) in developing a networking plan and dating plan. These military strategies are timeless and can be applied in many areas of life, but it helps to get some clarification in building a plan when using them.
Anyways, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.