OODA Loop stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act, and the concept was formalized during the Vietnam War for fighter pilots. Between WWII and Vietnam, our Air Force became sloppy, relying more on the superiority of our jets than the skills of our pilots, and it cost us lives.
With the increasing speed of the jets in combat, the victor in air to air engagements was usually the pilot who could observe what was going on, filter it through their “orientation” or preconceived thoughts, decide on a course of action, and act the quickest.
Everyone in every confrontation goes through these four steps before taking action, whether it is a conscious process or not. The trick is to try to do it enough quicker than your opponent that by the time they have decided what to do, you have already acted and are no longer where they expect you to be.
By doing mental rehearsal, you can train your brain to identify threats and opportunities quickly. You can also train your brain to know that the situation is survivable and that you will be victorious. By running through several options in mental rehearsal and pre deciding on the best course of action ahead of time, when the real situation comes, you won’t have to waste time making decisions under stress…you’ll just replay a script that you’ve already run in your mind.
The end result is that with proper mental rehearsal, you’ll quickly go through your OODA loop and be taking action while other people are still standing flat footed with their mouths agape.