A challenge to think about HOW you think about the future

Bottom Line Up Front: I’m going to share four of my SHTF Intelligence gathering methods on Thursday, 07 February 2019 @ 7pm Central. The link to register is below.


I was watching a video over the weekend of a psychiatrist who was talking about ‘thinking’.

He’d conducted over 100,000 brain scans to look for patterns of brain health and how to improve cognition, so naturally I was interested in what he had to say.

One of his more profound points is that he doesn’t like “positive thinking”.

It’s not something he prescribes to his patients. Positive thinking, he says, can harm the people who ignore reality.

It’s like Ayn Rand said, ‘You can ignore reality but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality’.

Instead he’s a fan of accurate thinking. And I just thought, What a great way to frame intelligence analysis.

I want to challenge you to think about the way you the think about a future man-made disaster, natural disaster, civil war or domestic conflict, or any other emergency you’re preparing for.

Think about how you think about the future, and ask yourself why you believe the things you believe.

What specific evidence informs those beliefs? Think about the assumptions that you have, and explain on paper why you assume those things, because incredible things start to happen when we structure our thinking. We begin reducing our uncertainty about the future and understanding what’s more likely to happen and what’s less likely to happen.

We’re not in the business of fortune telling, reading tea leaves, or plainly assuming what will happen in the future.

If you can’t make a logical case for why you believe the things you do about a future SHTF scenario, then you may have faulty assumptions.

If you base your analysis on faulty assumptions, then you’re going to produce bad intelligence. And if your decision-making relies on bad intelligence, then you’re going to make bad decisions.

Good intelligence analysts think about how they think, first, and then they think about the problem. Get the process right, and the results will follow.

I’m reminded of a quote by Gen. Creighton Abrams, the commander of Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), who wrote in 1970:

“Everything good that happens seems to come from good intelligence.”

We can extrapolate that quote to any SHTF scenario: the more we know about what’s happening now, the better we can anticipate what might happen in the future.

That’s the utility of intelligence and it’s why everyone in your preparedness group, from the lowest level to the highest, should be involved in the intelligence gathering process.

Every member of your team is a sensor. We get all these sensors working to feed our intelligence analysis, and then we start reducing uncertainty about the future. It really is as simple as that.


If you agree, then I hope you’ll sign up below to attend my next SHTF Intelligence webinar. You can register here.


Always Out Front
Samuel Culper



Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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