15 May 2015

Visualize, strategize and innovate

This is the twenty ninth in a series of articles on rebels and rebellion written for the FREE section of 'The Nation'. Scroll to the end for other articles in this series.  'FREE' is dedicated to youth and youthfulness.

Just three words but each is a subject that the rebel would do well do study.  Easy to say, as always, hard to do.  However, they frame engagement that can yield results. Moreover such things tend to get neglected in the daily grind of ‘rebelling’.  Such neglect comes with cost.

Now people do visualize.  They have a sense of what kind of ‘place’ they want to get to.  They do think of ways to get there.  And they innovate.  Everyone does it, rebels and non-rebels.  Almost unconsciously, one might add.  However, like all things, when there’s more consciousness involved the outcomes are generally more pleasing. 

There are many kinds of targets.  A rebel will think about recruitment – such a number by such a date.  The rebel will think of territory that needs to be captured, literally or metaphorically.  Not all things are quantifiable of course but a sense of progress can be obtained with respect to intangibles too. 

There are sub-plots within the larger plot.  So, even as one visualizes the stated objective, the micro-objectives also demand gaze, planning and creativity. 

We see this in cricket all the time, especially in limited over games.  It is not easy to chase stiff targets.  They make for what is now called ‘scoreboard pressure’.  If the asking rate is over 7 runs an over, there’s a natural tendency to try to maintain it.  Naturally, if you fall behind, there’s extra pressure.  A wicket falls and it becomes worse. 

However, every inning has phases.  Some are natural, for example periods when there are specific field restrictions.  Then you get the ‘power plays’.  You must have a sense of when you take the batting power plays, what kind of asking rate you wouldn’t mind having at the time, how many wickets you’d like to have in hand etc.  This is why the batting team and the relevant batsmen at the crease (so we are told) set themselves manageable targets. 

Then they strategize.  If the opposition has a wicket-taking bowler and a couple of ‘containers’, this is something you have to factor in as you set out to score X runs in Y overs.  You target particular bowlers for extra pickings. 

Then there are ‘spot targets’ with relevant visualization.  Decisions have to be made before each delivery and sometimes during the delivery.  So they play ‘percentages’.   Batsmen ask themselves ‘a single or more?’  If you are protecting a weak or new batsman and don’t to expose him to a good bowler the following over, then you might consider decline a run that’s there for the asking towards the end of the particular over. 

[In case you are wondering, bowlers and the fielding side also plan.  They have targets, they have strategies and they too can and do innovate.]

The one thing that’s doomed to cost is ‘reaction’.  Once you get to react-mode you stop seeing ends, you stop planning and you wreck innovation.  Sure there are times you are taken by surprise when you have no choice but to react.  However, a rebel who has trained him/herself to be conscious of these V, S and I factors (if you will) will unconsciously react in ways that have the least negative impact on the ‘overall’. 

The easier thing is to visualize.  Strategizing is tough.  There are always imponderables.  There can always be surprise.  Strategies therefore are often adjusted.  Innovation is the toughest of the three, but don’t worry about it.  Once you get a hang of the fundamentals by the constant association of the V and S factors, you will find that your I-ability improves. 

The important thing however is to know about the V, the S and the I. 

Other articles in this series