Last week’s focus was on the patrol base. Our sanctuary in enemy territory. But a patrol base can only be occupied for a short period of time to rest and take care of our priorities of work.
We need to get back on the offense. As Mr. Tzu says, we defend while we plan our next attack.
Anyone who has been in the military for more than a day is familiar with the acronym BAMCIS. Also referred to as the troop-leading steps, but they work just fine when you only have yourself to lead.
Begin the planning
Arrange for reconnaissance
Complete the planning
Issue the orders
Supervise the activity
BAM! We can use this acronym to help us determine our next objective in the continuous patrol toward our sky anchor.
According to Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 5, Planning:
Planning is the art and science of envisioning a desired future and laying out effective ways of bringing it about.
The first half of the advice from MCDP 5 is easy, everyone envisions a desired future. We do it all the time. It’s called wishing, daydreaming, fantasizing, imagining, woolgathering.
It would be great to have a pony or a swimming pool or a visible set of abs or a schedule that allows for sitting down to eat.
But if you haven’t done the work of laying out effective ways of bringing it about, your dream will remain a dream. Wishes aren’t ponies and beggars don’t ride.
This brings us back to BAMCIS
Begin the planning: Once you determine what objective you would like to attack next it is important to gather information. Identify an objective (goal) that will move you further along your route. When you have settled on an objective it’s time to get smart.
Arrange for reconnaissance: If your objective is learning a new skill, do a little research. As the Desert Fox said, “Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.” What do you know about the new skill? What do you know that you don’t know? Remember that there will always be “unknown unknowns”.
Make the reconnaissance: Steven Kolter has a five-book policy that I like. Get five books on the topic you’re interested in. Start with something easy to learn the lingo and build your interest, then work up to progressively harder texts. If possible (if your books are not borrowed) mark pages, highlight, dogear, and take notes.
Complete the planning: Once you have gathered the requisite information, track down some experts. Engage them, ask questions. The background you’ve developed by reading will show them you are serious and ensure that you aren’t wasting their time.
Issue the orders: This is where you lay out how you are going to achieve your goal. We’ve talked about how to set SMART goals. Make them:
Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic, and Timed.
Supervise the activity: Generally speaking, we do well at things when we have a clear task, condition, and standard, and when we are regularly inspected. Maybe you can hold yourself accountable, or maybe you need to find a friend or family member to join you or engage a coach to hold you accountable.
Now that your planning is complete, start. There is no better time than now.
A good plan executed now is far better than a perfect plan at some future date.
Read. SPQR by Mary Beard
Mary Beard is a professor of classics at Cambridge University. She has a way of explaining history that makes it massively informative, and wildly exciting. You really should know more about ancient Rome. It’s kind of important.
Another Carpe Diem poem.
The Betterment of Men
In early hours, quiet and small
A candle flame dances on the wall
And lights the pages and the pen
I study and try to comprehend
Words and worlds on stack and shelf
I read for the betterment of myself.
Read and studied and understood
I find the work has done me good
That I may pass on what I know
Lessons learned which helped me grow
Now bless this hand which holds the pen
I write for the betterment of men.
It begins, a single stone
Cleaned and carved and set alone
Till joined by others of like weight and size
A citadel begins to rise
Buttressed each, on each depends
We work for the betterment of men.
Words of wisdom from those who said it best.
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” — Abraham Lincoln
“It is more important to out-think your enemy than to out-fight him.” -Sun Tzu
“One must work and dare if one really wants to live.” — Vincent Van Gogh
“Someday is not a day of the week.” — Janet Dailey
Thanks for reading. See you next Thursday!
I read all of your posts, at least twice, but this one is one of my favorites. I'll definitely add BAMCIS to my toolkit along with SMEAC.
I've been thinking alot about the ideas in that poem. I have to say that writing has made me better, regardless of it it ever gets read. It helps with my thinking. However, I am eternally grateful for the men that have taken the time to write so that way I don't have to learn their lessons the hard way.