SHTF Is Inside Your OODA Loop: What Do You Do?

by Tommy Grant

I recently had a great conversation with Grump from Grumpy Acres Farm’s YouTube channel about the OODA Loop and how it relates to stress and decision-making. The OODA Loop, which stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act, is a decision-making process often used in the military, law enforcement, etc. However, it also applies to everyday life, especially when we face stressful situations.

The Broken OODA Loop and Stress

In Grumpy’s case, he experienced a significant disruption in life when he had to sell the homestead he had worked on for eight years. This event broke his OODA Loop, leading to a cascade of negative emotions and a sense of bitterness. He found himself making decisions from a negative headspace, which only compounded the stress he was feeling.

As we all know, stress can cloud our judgment and make us feel like we’re always running behind, unable to get ahead. It can be challenging to see the forest for the trees when the trees are our bitterness and the overwhelm that such a situation brings with it. After relocating his homestead, Grumpy barely left his property for the next three months due to a perspective that was clouded by a ton of negativity.

And that makes sense. After all, being uprooted from your home and forced to relocate and start all over is something none of us want to face. It’s understandably frustrating and justifiably infuriating. However, as justified and infuriating it is, as preppers, we have to get back at it. We have to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. Why? Because that is what we do.

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Changing Perspectives

The turning point for Grumpy was when he realized that he had bugged out. This shift in perspective allowed him to see the situation in a new light. He began to appreciate the property for what it was, despite its flaws. This change wasn’t something he consciously pursued; it happened accidentally. But it made him wonder, how can someone intentionally shift their perspective when their OODA Loop is broken?

Regaining Control

I believe that the first step is to acknowledge the negative experience and understand that it’s okay to feel upset or scared. It’s essential to recognize that you’re going through a process, and it’s okay to have reactions to what’s happening. When you understand why you’re feeling a certain way, it can help lower the anxiety or anger associated with it. Once you know the why and where it places you in a process, you’ll be more like to know what’s coming. Therefore, your mood doesn’t seem as bad, and you’re more likely to give yourself the grace you deserve for feeling upset, shocked, etc.

Don't get stuck inside the OODA loop

Neutralizing Negativity

When we feel forced into making decisions we don’t want to make, it can feel like an attack. Because it’s an attack, it can trigger a sympathetic nervous system response, leading to fight, flight or freeze reactions. These central nervous system reactions and their influence on our decision-making process can cause us to make decisions we might later regret. However, by taking a deep breath or using other coping mechanisms to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, we can help shut down or minimize the sympathetic nervous system response.

Always remember, it’s okay to have these reactions. It’s part of being human. The key is not to beat yourself up over it but to acknowledge your feelings and then ask yourself, “What do I need to do to make this better?” By shifting your focus and using coping tools, you can lessen the impact of the stress and start to move forward—even during the most difficult of situations.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, life can throw us curveballs that disrupt our OODA Loop and cause us stress. However, by acknowledging our feelings, changing our perspective, and using coping tools, we can regain control and neutralize negativity. Remember, we can’t control the world or what other people do, but we can control how we respond to it.

Additional Resources


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SHTF Is Inside Your OODA Loop: What Do You Do?

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