Chance and the Fog of War @ The Doctor’s Den

Chance as the catalyst for hope

Chance is an integral part of any human interaction. We take chances from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep. Even going to sleep has some level of chance associated with it…who guarantees you will wake up in the morning???

When we examine chance within a strategic framework we are trying to limit its influence while recognizing it’s importance. Chance is the basis for opportunity on the tactical level. It is the acknowledgment that there are things we cannot control but would like to. So we hope.

Hope enables us to face the risks associated with chance.


If doctrine is based on our fears, then chance is based on our hopes. For hope allows us to contemplate, or even take, action with the foreknowledge that we may fail. Hope, or looking to forces beyond our control, enables humans to overcome the fears associated with risk and chance.

So chance, by its nature, includes the contemplation of results not to our liking. The possibility that things might not go our way. That our assumptions – about resources, doctrine, objectives, the resulting operations, control, chance itself, our goals, the tactics we intend to undertake and the others in the relation – are wrong and that we may fail.


So plan for failure?

No. Recognize the potential for failure and in acknowledging it be willing to take chances in order to see the world turn out the way you want. Set goals that include levels of risk that push to bolster the core ideas and objectives, and work hard to see the world change – hopefully in a positive manner.

In doing so, it is important to deny chance a dominant position in the strategic framework – that can cause a deer in the headlights effect. This is why chance resides in the tactical level and is part of creating goals, not objectives, in this framework. The waystation of chance, and the probability of risk in relations and actions, is inherent to the human experience. How we use chance to our benefit, and continue on despite its influence, points to the foundation of human potential.

Chance: possibility, prospect, probability, likelihood, likeliness, expectation, anticipation, accident, coincidence, serendipity, fate, destiny, fortuity, providence, happenstance…

The Fog of War

So, chance is inherent to the nature of war. It is the fog that we cannot control and which makes clear decisions difficult. It limits our capacity to know the outcome or consequences of our actions. This fog may shift or thicken as the winds of chance play their role in strategic outcomes. But it is those things we control and the energy we give that mitigates the chances we take, the fears we have, and the fog of war we experience in life.


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