The Path to Resilience Leads Through OODA Loops

Imagine students who can handle failure and persist until they are successful. If you’re interested in learning how, click here to sign up for my online course: Mindshifting: Growth Mindset and Critical Thinking for Impactful Educators.

What are OODA Loops? Resilience-2

John Boyd’s OODA Loops is probably the most effective way to learn resourcefulness, perseverance, and flexibility. Tens of thousands of individuals use OODA Loops, especially when faced with unexpected events or competition. But if you are not in the military or law enforcement, you probably have not heard of it.

That’s a shame, because we can all benefit from being able to adapt to almost any situation faster and more effectively - especially if you’re a teacher who wants to better equip your students.

How OODA Loops Work

In its simplest terms, the OODA Loop is common sense. When you go into a situation, you Observe, then you use all the information at your disposal to Orient or come up with alternatives, you Decide, and then you Act. As you act, you observe and start the process all over again. Which is why they are called loops, OODA Loops are an iterative process of experimentation until the objective is achieved.

Boyd reasoned that there were two key factors that led to success: speed and proficiency. The faster you could cycle through the steps, the more likely you are to prevail. The more areas of proficiency you have mastered, the more likely you are to prevail. When you combine speed of reaction with proficiency, you could outmaneuver any opponent and overcome practically any obstacle. If you can build up your unconscious skills, the actions you could make without having to stop and consciously think, you will overwhelm anyone or anything that gets in your way.

Boyd proved this in his career as an Air Force Colonel training fighter pilots. Fighter pilots taking his course felt OODA loops was too academic and not particularly practical. To overcome their reservations, Boyd offered a wager. He would engage in a dogfight, and the other pilot would have the initial advantage. But within 2 minutes he would use his OODA training to shoot down the other pilot. Then the two would trade places and he would prevail again.

In all the years he taught, he never once lost that bet.

Learning OODA Loops sounds simple, but there are dozens of problem solving and information gathering skills and common mistakes to avoid, and so it takes hours to fully understand how to implement or teach OODA Loops. Why is it worth it?

Why expend the effort to learn OODA Loops

OODA Loop techniques prepare you to

  • Overcome obstacles
  • Handle complex situations
  • Overwhelm opposition and competition
  • Effortlessly persevere
  • Know how and where to put preparatory time and effort before important challenges
  • Create and lead highly effective teams

Why teach OODA Loops to students? Resilience-1

If you teach OODA loops to students, they become prepared to 

  • Overcome adversity
  • Persist
  • Practice until they are fluent
  • Use failure or success primarily as feedback
  • Work well in small groups

Isn’t this what you want for your students? Do you think that will reduce your load of classroom management and free up time for more important learning?

How can you become proficient in OODA Loops?

While John Boyd left no materials other than Foil slides, I’ve studied OODA Loops for over four years, read books, watched hours and hours of recordings, and organized all this information specifically for educators. OODA Loops are extensively covered in the Mindshifting: Growth Mindset and Critical Thinking for Impactful Educators online course that starts July 12.

Take a look and register.


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