Earlier this week, I came across an article about the upcoming movie, Top Gun 2. The original Top Gun is one of my all-time favorites, so that article launched me on a reading spree.
That reading spree took me from Top Gun, to fighter pilots, to the US Air Force. That’s when I came across the US Air Force Principles of War and Air & Space Power. It was an enlightening, motivating read.
Later on, I realized that the same principles that allowed the US Air Force to be the most powerful, dominant military force in the world… can also help the average man to become more powerful, more dominant, and more effective.
I’m writing this article to share those principles with you, so that you can benefit from them as well.
Principle #1: Centralized Control.
In the US Air Force, centralized leadership sits with one man: The US Air Force Central Commander. The commander oversees the broad overview of the US Air Force’s strategy, operations, and tactics.
Likewise, centralized control of your life and your mission rests on YOU. You need to know the status of all areas of your life, and have clear objectives for each of them.
Principle #2: Decentralized Execution.
While the Commander identifies the Air Force’s many objectives, he’s not in charge of accomplishing each of them. Instead, those tasks are delegated to the right departments and leaders under him.
Likewise, becoming a better man doesn’t mean you’ll need to do everything yourself. Learn to delegate to the right people – you’ll achieve your goals more quickly, easily, and effectively that way.
Principle #3: Flexibility and Versatility.
The US Air Force focuses on moving from one objective to the next, quickly and decisively.
Try this: Instead of just relying on a to-do list for your daily grind, try to devise a flow chart – one that puts the most important and urgent tasks front and center. That way, you don’t need to “decide” what to do next – your flow chart has decided it for you, and you can just focus on getting things done, one objective at a time.
Principle #4: Synergistic Effects.
The US Air Force uses coordinated efforts from multiple sources to achieve objectives.
Take a look at your life right now. Are there any habits, relationships, or objects that are slowing you down and holding you back from achieving your goals? If so, take steps to remove them – and the sooner, the better.
Principle #5: Persistence.
The US Air Force knows that any downtime or leeway it gives will give the enemy a chance recover. As a result, it does not spare any effort until the objective has been achieved.
Likewise, when you’re working on an objective in life, don’t let up. Be persistent. Don’t lose momentum, and don’t give distractions the time and traction to slow you down and get in the way.
Principle #6: Concentration.
The US Air Force is so good at what it does that it gets more mission requests than it can handle. And so it concentrates on the missions that matter most, and avoid spreading itself too thinly.
Likewise, don’t spread yourself too thinly. Focus only on the objectives that matter most in your life, and always know your “carrying capacity.” Ignore, shelf, or delegate the rest.
Principle #7: Priority.
The US Air Force insists that it should receive top priority among all the branches of the US military for one reason: Air and space superiority is the ultimate advantage.
Likewise, you got to prioritize yourself, too. Take care of your health, your mind, your emotions, your finances, your relationships, and your spiritual life. A healthy, wealthy, happy YOU is the ultimate advantage when it comes to reaching your goals.
Principle #8: Balance.
The US Air Force needs to strike a balance between achieving as many of its objectives as it can… while minimizing the risk to its resources and the country’s national interests.
Likewise, so should you. On one side, you have your objectives, your resources, and the opportunities that come your way. On the other side, you have the risks to your progress and reputation. You need to strike a balance between the two sides to find “win-win” solutions for yourself.
So how many of the eight principles are alive and well in your life right now? Which ones do you need to work on? Write them down, make a plan, and get to work after all, if it works for the most dominant military force in the world, it’s got to work for you, too.
Photo: Getty Images