In 1757, in the middle of the French and Indian War, Maj. Robert Rogers composed a list of 28 rules intended to serve as operational guidelines for his legendary and groundbreaking light infantry force, the original special operations unit known as “Rogers’ Rangers.”
These “Rules of Ranging” were a hybrid combination of Native American combat techniques and his own blend of guerrilla warfare, revolutionary in their own time and still a foundational element in special operations units such as the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment.
This list of combat-proven knowledge isn’t just applicable to the battlefield. In Part 6 of this series, we’ll continue to explore how you can adapt these strategies in your professional daily life.
Rule 16: ‘Upon discovering a superior enemy in the morning, you should wait until dark to attack, thus hiding your lack of numbers and using the night to aid your retreat.’
Or ‘Be patient and take your time before you take your shot.’
This rule is closely related to Rule #3, as it involves operation security, if just in a more active rather than passive manner. You don’t want to telegraph your next move to your opposition by anxious energy and movement. If you’re getting ready to make big moves, nobody should know that something is coming down the pipeline until it’s coming out of the pipeline.
This also applies to reacting to your opponent’s situation. A sure sign of inexperience is getting “trigger happy,” being so excited that there’s an opening that you rush your actions and end up missing your target entirely. Remember “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Make it your mantra.
Rule 17: ‘Before leaving a camp, send out small parties to see if you have been observed during the night.’
Or ‘Never forget, you are being watched by someone who doesn’t wish you the best.’
I like to believe the best of individuals, until I see clear evidence that a specific person has embraced the worst impulses of humanity. However, I’m not so naive as to then assume that all of humanity only wants the very best for me.
When I was still a young infantryman and our military was fighting wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, we were constantly told that “complacency kills.” Even though both of these warzones were very different from each other, these two words held true in both. In fact, they were just as true when my father was serving his tour in Vietnam and my grandfather was fighting in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Don’t get comfortable just because things are going smoothly and according to plan. This is the time to be most vigilant, as these are the periods of time are when you are most vulnerable to disruption. Keep your team alert; this is the time to come up with crisis plans and to rehearse them. When an emergency hits, it’s too late to develop those skills.
Rule 18: ‘When stopping for water, place proper guards around the spot making sure the pathway you used is covered to avoid surprise from a following party.’
Or ‘There are no timeouts in the real world.’
“Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn’t worry about what workout to do—his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about ‘how hard it is;’ he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn’t go home at 17:00, he is home. He knows only The Cause. Still want to quit?”
This quote, originating with a Special Forces veteran and now fodder for bland “motivational” Pinterest posts, speaks a truth to the unrelenting nature of competitors that are driven purely by the desire to defeat you and your organization.
It doesn’t matter to them what it will cost them or how long it will take, so pure is their belief that can beat you. They don’t care about your “out of office” messages or your work–life balance. All that exists to them is the task at hand; they’re their mission statement incarnate.
Now, I have written about my opposition to the modernist idea of total work before, and I don’t intend to contradict myself here. One of the most important things you can do is center your life around leisure, as it allows you purity of focus when it’s time to go forth and do the work. What I’m imploring you to consider is that just because you embrace this mindset, doesn’t mean that your opposition has the same ideas.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an army of one. If you build your task organization correctly, your team can be an unrelenting force that doesn’t require every individual to be always on mission. This is how you beat your fanatical opposition; you let them burn themselves out.
Chris Erickson is a combat veteran and former Green Beret, with extensive experience deployed to various locations across the world. He now works in the communications industry. You can follow him on Twitter @EricksonPrime.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.