Stress and success

Stress and SuccessI met Jonathan Brown at the last Boyd Conference in Quantico, back in October, and we spent quite a lot of time discussing the role of stress in Boyd’s framework.

Boyd thought of stress as an offensive weapon. On chart 132 of Patterns of Conflict, for example, he lists one of the intentions of operating inside opponents’ OODA loops as:

Generate uncertainty, confusion, disorder, panic, chaos … to shatter cohesion, produce paralysis and bring about collapse.

Which seems like a reasonably good definition of “stress” to me. He also used to say that it was OK to be confused, so long as your opponent is more confused. Probably the same thing is true of stress.

In this new book, now available on Amazon, Brown takes Boyd’s famous definition of the goal of human activity — to survive on our own terms — and melds it with the latest research on the causes of stress.

I think you’ll find it most interesting, not to mention practical, and it might even provide new insights into Boyd’s work.

By the way, the publisher is listed as “A.L.P. Limited (Publishing), The Old Bakery, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.” The Brits still have a way about these things, don’t they?

3 thoughts on “Stress and success

  1. Stress
    From Patterns, Chet distilled that “Boyd thought of stress as an offensive weapon.”

    From the author’s site at, I learned of the study of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Growth.

    In addition to ‘survive on our own terms,’ Jonathan Brown’s treatment of success seems consistent with Boyd’s insights on ‘vitality and growth’ where he cited “insight, initiative, adaptability, and harmony.” In later versions, he listed “insight, orientation, harmony, agility, and initiative.” (Boyd, Patterns of Conflict, 1986, #144)

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