5 Facets to Covert Operating

Secrets of a Secret Agent

If you want to see psychology in action, look no further than spies.
They’re essentially mind readers in the fact that they can fully get inside the minds of the people around them, and then blend in without a trace. These skills aren’t simply useful if you’re behind enemy lines; these techniques work in everyday life & business, too.
Here are 5 facets to the mindset of a secret agent (or “operator”) to maintain personal safety & control.

Passive Mental Sonar

Sonar is a type of echo location.

  • Active sonar is the process of emitting a sound, and then listening for the echos that bounce of objects. This is how bats finds bugs to eat at night.
  • Passive sonar is simply listening for whats already there.

I came up with the term “passive mental sonar” as a way of explaining a general situational awareness that isn’t active enough to pique the interest of those around you.
Our minds pre-consciously filter out most information that’s available to your mind so as to not be overwhelmed. The trick is to develop a keener awareness of relevant information about your surroundings through constant practice.
If you integrate the practice of passive mental sonar into your daily commute instead of keeping your mind in your phone, you’ll be amazed at what kind of information you’re completely ignoring that a spy would notice in an instant.
Knowing more about your surroundings is always advantageous should you need to respond quickly to a threat (real or imagined).

Subversive Influence

Influence isn’t the active of passive aggressive bickering, threats, or coercion. Instead it can be a subtle game of mental cat & mouse. With just a different word you can plant a suggestion in someone’s mind, and they’ll think it was their idea.
People tend to believe what they tell themselves, so if you can get your suggestion in under their awareness, it’s as good as done.
Effectively summed up as a subtle form of, “Don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

Reading Integrity

Integrity is the measure of someone’s internal, emotional, and physical structure.
Being able to read someone’s personality, character, and intentions at a glance can save your life. On the flip side, understanding how someone would read you (and how to influence their conclusions) can be just as powerful.
Spies are masters of disguise & leading others to underestimate their abilities.


Most people look at dynamic situations as something where there is absolute zero control.
If, however, you viewed every situation as a game to play, suddenly it doesn’t seem so daunting.
People who allow themselves to be controlled by circumstances are operating at an animal/instinctual level. Cause & reaction.
If you choose “cause & respond,” you will maintain more control over how the situation plays out.

Social Plasticity

Every society has its own customs, clothing, traditions, and so on. Your ability to blend in and “do as the Romans do” will significantly reduce the likelihood that you will be chosen as a target.
Note: Going too far in your cultural assimilation is just as bad as not going far enough. Aim for becoming a part of the mental background noise of your surroundings.

Geometric Multiplication

If you implement one facet in your daily life, you will immediately see the difference. The more facets you integrate into your daily practice, the more you compound their positive impact on your decision making and presence.
In a business context, you want to be able to keep your ears open to what’s going on without broadcasting too much of your own information, plant seeds of influence before you need the payoff, read the character of your coworkers (who you can depend on and who is going to climb over you), don’t take any of it personally (think of it like a game), and find a company with a culture you can easily mesh with. I’ve seen plenty of people fired for lack of culture fit, even if they were good at their job.
Put all these to use and you’ll be a mind reading spy at work & play!

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