‘…DEAL WITH UNCERTAINTY, AND MAKE BETTER DECISIONS’ part five
by Dave Amerland
Published by St. Martin’s Press
eBook ISBN: 9781250113689
Copyright (c) 2017 by Dave Amerland
“As I am writing all this I am introducing each element sequentially, building up the picture of that day one careful sentence at a time. This is not how it happened however. The day Harrison made sniper history everything was happening at once. He was mentally and physically fatigued, anxious, pressured by time and constrained by distance and the limitations of his equipment. Because of the extreme range he was shooting at, his scope was of little use to him. The target was beyond its settings so he had to fire test shots, see how they flew there and where they hit, gauge what adjustments he should make manually using guesswork and his own knowledge and experience, and fire again, hoping his guesswork had made an improvement possible.
Yet, within less time than it’s taken you to read and digest all this, he’d fired off nine shots to gauge firing conditions and find the range.
One of those shots found its mark. The bullet flew across the 8,120 feet (2,475 meters) separating Harrison from the enemy machine gun position, its flight path changed by the day’s heat, the updrafts it was encountering, the temperature of the gun barrel and the Coriolis effect, and curved all the way to the man lying in the prone position behind the machine gun. It had been unerringly guided by a mind that in that moment of extreme stress calculated everything and fired off a shot into the future so that the bullet would intersect with where the target was going to be.
And then, as if this seemingly superhuman feat was not enough, Harrison repeated it a few seconds later, neutralizing the second of the two-man team who’d taken up the machine gun and cementing his name in military history with an identical shot.
When it comes to snipers there is a virtually universal air of quiet confidence that goes hand in hand with the seemingly superhuman way with which they deal with problems, stress, and human limitations. Understand this: the problems we face challenge who we are. Sometimes they are technical and we are worried that we don’t have the skill set, qualities, and tenacity to see them through, and at other times they are circumstantial and we are afraid they will make us fail by first showing to ourselves and then to anyone who happens to be watching just how weak and powerless we are.
This is the internal monologue of self-destruction. Problems are not problems faced outside ourselves. They are problems that cast deep shadows inside us first. If we cannot find a way to deal with those shadows, the problems appear overwhelming. They raise up fears we all secretly have that can tear us apart.
IMPOSSIBLE IS AN OPINION
One man who faced perhaps more than his share of self-doubting fears and had to struggle to master them was the late Muhammad Ali. Distilling the kind of attitude that allowed him to overcome severe practical limitations in his life and become the heavyweight boxing champion of the world three times, he had this to say on the subject of impossibility: “Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
If impossible is an opinion it can be overcome through self-conviction. Snipers seem to be masters at this, capable of changing the negative narrative which comes with the fear of failure and delivering positive outcomes against the odds. To do so they focus on what they can do and work out the details of how to do it, rather than worry about why it cannot be done.
That is an awesome superpower to have, right there. But there’s more to it than just that. If success against overwhelming odds was just a mind-set, things would be simple and this book would be short. But there is a lot more going on when snipers can, with such great regularity, raise the performance bar to what are superhuman heights compared to the rest of us.
To find out how they do it, I had to go directly to the source. In the writing of this book I interviewed over one hundred snipers. Some had retired and were more than willing to talk. Some still served and they were reluctant to open up. It would take several attempts and dozens of e-mails to get through to them. And others had used their sniper skills in different ways. They are successful in modern life. They run companies and lead people. They straddle the divide separating military life, deadly training, and hostile battlefields from civilian life and regular careers. These were the most interesting folks to talk to of all.
“When you expect things to be different your body betrays you,” was the cryptic remark made by Ghost Dog, a serving marine who insisted on using the moniker to hide his identity. He was answering my question about how to do the physically impossible. How can you keep calm under tremendous mental and physical pressure? How can you take fatigue and thirst and pain and edit them out so that all that matters is the task at hand?
What is the secret recipe that allows a person to actually become so incredibly efficient?”
This excerpt is from the hardcover edition.
Snipers are exceptional. The trained sniper is a complex fusion of hard skills such as weapons knowledge, situational awareness, knowledge of ballistics and physics, and soft skills such as emotional stability, empathy, and a stoic acceptance of the hardships associated with a particular set of circumstances. There are countless instances where a single sniper, embarking on a secret mission, would have to improvise, operate beyond any hope of support, and yet still manage to carry out the mission and get back home unharmed even though the enemy was actively hunting him.
For the first time ever, The Sniper Mind reveals the practical steps that allow a sniper’s brain to work in this superhuman precise, calculated way. It teaches readers how to understand and apply these steps, whether they are stuck in a cubicle facing mounting piles of work or sitting in a corner office making industry-defining decisions.
Through the explanation of advanced military training techniques and cutting-edge neuroscience, David Amerland’s book provides concrete strategies and real-world skills that can help us be better:
-At our jobs
-In our relationships
-In our executive decision making
-In the paths we choose to take through life
By learning how snipers teach their minds to eliminate fears and deal with uncertainty we can also develop the mental toughness we need to achieve the goals that seem to elude us in business as well as in life.
David Amerland helps multi-national clients and start-ups to organize their SEO and Social Media strategies. He is a business journalist, author and international speaker. He blogs about social media and search engine optimization, writes for a number of prominent websites including Forbes, and advises corporations on their social media crisis management techniques. His books on SEO, Social Media and web trends demystify the complexity of the subjects they cover for readers around the world.
This week’s selection ‘SNIPER MIND: ELIMINATE FEAR, DEAL WITH UNCERTAINTY, AND MAKE BETTER DECISIONS’ by Dave Amerland appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.