#1533 Mattis’s Instinct Cycle

“You Must Decide, Act, and Move On”

Not too long ago, we took a brief tour through some of my favorite Big Ideas from Jim Mattis’s GREAT book on leadership, Call Sign Chaos.

We also recently explored some wisdom on the power of “attacking and adapting” from Darrin Donnelly’s Victory Favors the Fearless in which we revisited Phil Stutz’s “Instinct Cycle” and connected it to what’s known as the OODA loop.

Today I want to combine Mattis’s and Stutz’s wisdom as we talk about the power of making a decision, taking action THEN making your NEXT decision.

Here’s how Mattis puts it: “When you are in command, there is always the next decision waiting to be made. You don’t have time to pace back and forth like Hamlet, zigzagging one way and the other. You do your best and live with the consequences. A commander has to compartmentalize his emotions and remain focused on the mission. You must decide, act, and move on.

That’s pretty much what Phil calls “The Instinct Cycle.”

I repeat…

He tells us that when we need to make a decision, we need to trust our INSTINCTS on what the right next step is. Then we need to DECIDE what we’re going to do. Then we need to take ACTION. Then we need to be prepared to accept the CONSEQUENCES of that decision.

Then we need to MAKE THE NEXT DECISION as we go through the process over and over and over again.

That’s Today’s +1.

You are the commander of your life.

What is the next decision you need to make?

Get clear on what you think is the next best step and…


Do your best.

Live with the consequences.


All day, every day.



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