What's Your World View? - Understanding Purpose as a Resilience Tool

By Phil Riley May 13, 2019

An understanding of your 'world view' is not some silver bullet solution that will guarantee success, but it is a tool which will enable the thinking combatant to better equip themselves for the chaos and uncertainty of conflict and indeed life itself.

Whether it is getting through ab-initio training, an operational deployment, SF (Special Forces) selection, or a survival situation, having an understanding of your purpose is a key motivator to success. There is much that can be done in any of the above mentioned scenarios to prepare physically and mentally but often little attention is given to preparing the psyche or soul. This is in error because whilst it is important to prepare and maintain oneself physically and intellectually, preparing and exercising the soul can provide the all-important will to continue the fight when all else is spent.

Foundational to understanding our purpose in any given situation is understanding the underlying beliefs we hold or have inherited as these drive our values and, ultimately, our behaviour and decisions. A commonly accepted term which encapsulates this idea of beliefs is ‘World View”. Dan Cassidy has previously provided a helpful summary of this notion in this article and defines a world view “as a framework or set of foundational beliefs through which you view the world and find your place in it.”

The thought of analysing your own world view may be daunting to some, however a simple place to start is by looking at a flow chart like the one below. This is a simplified way to begin an exploration of world views and in particular work out which ball park you fit into.

In doing so it is important to remember that this will only bring you to a very general and simplistic understanding so don’t stop there. Continuing to explore your world view is crucial (always remembering that this is just a starting point). It is important to determine if your beliefs are consistent and make sense. This can be done by considering the following:

  1. Coherence or consistency: Is your world view logically consistent? Does it hang together as a coherent whole or does it have holes, gaps, inconsistencies and logical fallacies?
  2. Comprehensive and existential: Does it address the big existential questions? Can you live “internally” with the answers offered? Four key things your world view should consider are:
    1. Origin – where do we come from?
    2. Meaning – why are we here?
    3. Morality – what’s right and what’s wrong?
    4. Destiny – where are we going?
  3. Reality check and explanatory power: Does it correspond to reality? Does it line up with empirical, observable facts and then does it have sufficient power to explain those facts? How complete is the evidence that supports the view?
  4. Verification and predictive endurance: Can the central truth claim(s) be verified (or falsified)? Does it anticipate, accommodate and successfully incorporate emerging information?
  5. Livability: Can it be lived? Is it practical, workable, sensible, doable, livable?
  6. Competition: Can it compete in the marketplace of ideas and respond to reasonable challenges, critiques and competing world views?

Here are a couple of resources to get you started:

Get a hold of this book: What’s Your World View by James N Anderson




Phil Riley

Phil Riley is currently a Chaplain in the Australian Army at 1st Recruit Training Battalion. He has over 15 years of experience in various roles within Army

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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