How I learned to be strategic

Today I learned I need to be deliberately strategic

I’m proud of the times I’ve been strategic in life. But I also feel it doesn’t happen often enough. Yesterday I learned the reason why.

I read an article by Anna Salomon over on LessWrong where she explains that humans are not naturally strategic.

What that means is that strategy is not a “mechanical skill” we learn and then use at will. It’s more like memorising a group of rules of thumb and remembering to apply them.

If you do this often enough realising that you are in a situation that calls for Tool 1A might become second nature, but applying the strategy is only ever done deliberately. Otherwise habits take over.

I recently had an example of this when I caught myself wishing my meditation app had a guided mode. Then I realised, I could just guide myself. It worked.

In the same way, I need to remember which situations that call for what strategies, and apply them.

Learning the strategies is a skill. Identifying situations in which to use them is a skill. Applying them is a skill. But “being strategic” is not a skill.