Blueprint >> Strategic Thinking

Disclaimer: This document is in raw form as I process and distill 4 years-worth of my personal development notes. Expect some typos and cryptic language for now. I will be updating frequently and polishing up.

Prescription: Live life strategically.
Related Concepts: Be Proactive

What is Strategic Thinking?

A methodical way of running your life by looking at the ultimate, big picture, and devising a plan of action that will make it come about. Good strategy involves collecting information, analysis, planning, execution, and feedback.

Why is it Important?

A happy, successful life must be methodically designed. It's silly to expect this to happen spontaneously. Don't be afraid to get strategic. You have to study, plan, and analyze for years into the future.

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Coach Leo Gura
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Strategic Thinking: Key Points

"Most people do not engage in: a methodical process of questioning, evaluation of assumptions, investigation, information gathering, analysis, planning, and finally, action. Most people function in routines they don't question. Living life day to day. Facing the same problems every day:"

  • Always losing their keys
  • Always getting caught in traffic
  • Always dealing with the same bottlenecks at work
  • Unable to communicate or cooperate

"Strategic thinking is about setting goals and developing flexible, long-range plans to reach those goals based on the careful analysis of internal and external environments."

"Strategic thinking involving thinking logically and deeply about the future. It means that where you want to be 5 years from now, 5 months from now, should inform what you do today."

  • "Strategy has to inspire. An uninspiring strategy is really no strategy at all." — Mintzberg

You need to start taking the unfolding of your life seriously. Stop letting things just unfold. Decide to take full control and responsibility for the process. If you were a general leading an army to defend your country, and failure meant death and rape of all citizens, you would be very strategic. You would have an ultimate objective in mind, carefully weigh every single factor at hand, and plan for how to best marshal your resources.

Personal develop is military campaigning applied to ones life. Most people don't to personal development at all. And those few that do, do it haphazardly, on a lark, without a serious, deliberate, long-term plan. Why do most peoples lives suck? Because they do not thinking strategically about how their lives will unfold. Strategic thinking takes energy and effort. Living a routine takes no effort and is the default position.

Must have strategic intent! It informs everything. Strategic intent — "A compelling vision of the future that motivates action. This is what elevates a technique to a strategy. Essential to any effective strategy."

"Strategy — a way of dealing with a constantly changing environment, both responding to that environment to achieve your goals and attempting where possible to change the environment to your benefit."

"Strategic thinking is about laying out a solid plan, but also being flexible when the unexpected inevitably occurs."

"A static plan or thoughtless check-list is a bad strategy. Strategy is not a formula or a manual. Many people look for a secret strategy when the real secret is thinking strategically."

Are you the General of your own life? What kind of general are you? Would people say you're a solid, effective general or a lame, incompetent general?

Every action you take must advance your strategic intent. That means you must have a clearly articulated strategic intent and you must keep it at the top of your mind constantly.

  • "Strategic intent is the articulation of a powerful, achievable, and motivating stretch goal."
  • "It means reaching for something beyond your current capabilities and developing resources to accomplish that goal."
  • "A good strategic intent alone is not enough. Strategic intent must also align with certain realities."

"Build up strategic reserves through preparation. Your maneuvers will be limited if you have no reserves. Therefore you must prepare. Strategic preparation:"

  • Thorough training
  • Hard work
  • Strong discipline
  • Sound planning

"Since you can't predict what fortune will hand you, you must develop yourself internally to handle the external circumstances."

"Concentration of force at the decisive point is the key to all strategy. It's all about directing as much force to one point as possible given your resources. This applies to war as much as it applies to career development and business."

"Regardless of how chaotic a situation may be, there are principles that can give shape to your thinking about the situation. Immersion in such principles allows for genius flashes of insight."

"Strategic thinking:

  • Preparation of unique capabilities
  • Understanding of general principles
  • Detailed tactical follow-through"

A good strategy looks 10 years ahead.

A key to understand about strategic thinking is that strategy is right or wrong regardless of outcome. The goal is not to guarantee the best outcome. The goal is to do everything in your power to increase the odds of the best outcome coming about. You can never guarantee the result. And getting the best outcome by luck is no virtue. It is better to have used the right strategy and gotten an unfortunate outcome than to use the wrong strategy and happen to be lucky.


  1. The Teaching Company: Strategic Thinking Skills
Coach Leo Gura
Hire me as your coach. Super-charge your life. Email me now!
  • Redesign your life to align with your purpose
  • Mindsets and tools for exceptional success