Marines Adapt, Overcome! Culture Phrase Motto

Guest Article by Bogan

The Marine Corps phrase ” Improvise, Adapt, Overcome ” can readily be applied to preparedness. When things don’t go as planned you can either shut down, or….


Improvise: It has been said by many commentators on military strategy ranging from Sun Tzu to Colin Powell, that the best laid plans last only until initial contact with the enemy.

(Or “…the first shot is fired”, the quotes vary, but the idea is the same.)

By analogy to the contingencies you may be planning for, things can quickly go bad fast: EMP, pandemic, weather, exploding caldera, political situations. Even bad luck can quickly destroy your carefully thought out strategy.

Have a plan (or a series of contingency plans) but leave room for flexibility.

Shift your plans to take advantage of situations as they arise!

• Items can be repurposed or put to dual use. Many of us already do this without giving it a second thought.


Adapt: Lots of MSB postings underscore the lesson that things are going to be different from what you plan for. Expect this! Be creative, you might just find a new way of doing old things and see things with a new eye.

• For example a couple years ago I had shoulder surgery, which wiped out an ability to hold a hunting rifle with both hands. Solution: hunt with a handgun, weak side no less. It was amazing how my weak side was able to improve itself in practice sessions prior to the season.


Overcome: Murphy’s law states anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Be prepared by knowing what other options are available.

Hit an obstacle. Go through it, around it or over it. Come up with creative solutions.

Stuff is great, but the most important thing is your brain, use it!

• Encounter a life obstacle? There are many ways to skin a cat!

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

It is an approach to readiness, and how to act in the face of adversity.

It is a state of mind!