Webster’s Definition of TACTIC:

1. a device for accomplishing an end

2. a method of employing forces in combat

Two or more of these devices or methods would constitute “Tactics”.

“Tactics mean doing what you can with what you have.”  Saul Alinsky

There is a move afoot to ridicule the ubiquitous use of the word “Tactics”.  I mean to take the word back.  “Combat” is also a much abused word as is “Operator” but that is someone elses problem.

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When I wrote an article about “Tactical Breathing” and there was some good-natured kidding on the interwebs.  Posts like “In and out, what is so hard?”  Well, life is hard, but it is harder when you are stupid.  This is another chapter in my ongoing struggle against stupidity and ignorance.

“Strategy is buying a bottle of fine wine when you take a lady out for dinner. Tactics is getting her to drink it.”  Frank Muir

“Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation.”   Max Euwe

Tactics are not strategy.  Tactics are doing an action or series of actions in a way that gives you an advantage.  Strategy is a plan, which may involve many tactics, to obtain a goal or objective.  Today we talk about tactics.

Back in the 60’s it was realized that we needed police officers who were trained and equipped to deal dangerous suspects.  Special Weapons and Tactics Teams were formed and given a non-threatening name.  This is where tactical marketing started.

Many lazy advertising wanna bees use the word tactical to describe any device which can be sold to the military or law enforcement.  The word conveyed use in combat and implied adventure.  The users said things like, “The company painted it black and put Velcro on it.  Now it is tactical.”

“Players lose you games, not tactics. There’s so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes.”  Brian Clough

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu

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In chess, a  tactic is a series of moves which limits the opponent’s options and may result in tangible gain. The fundamental building blocks of tactics are sequences in which the opponent is unable to respond to all threats, so the first player gains an advantage.

In life, like chess, we can gain an advantage by acting first and correctly anticipating the actions of others.  Have you ever looked around and picked the short line at the grocery store or the fastest lane during a traffic jam?  Ta Da, that my friend is tactics.  Once you are in front of your competition, you have positional advantage.

What I want to convey is the concept that with situational awareness and conscious action, you entire life can be better, safer and longer.  The problems you avoid make this practice worthwhile.

Tactical can be any action or device which give you an advantage.  Retake the word.

Plan ahead, get good gear and training.  See the bad guy or the problem first and anticipate threat strategy and tactics. Come up with some rapid strategery (this is not a word but it should be) of your own and use good tactics to gain and maintain a position of advantage.

Winner at life.