Thinking: Saturate, Incubate and Illuminate


delta force

I am working my way through The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander

Here’s one of the many great takeaways from the book:


Saturate, incubate and illuminate.

Planning a new mission involves saturating your mind with acts, assumptions, insights.

The next phase is incubation, which is when the mind subconsciously sorts through inputs and begins to recognize patterns, and then sorts the patterns together to come up with insights.

This incubation paves the way for the illumination stage, commonly known as the “eureka” moments, where you get flashes of insight and actionable ideas.


Saturate, incubate and illuminate.

That’s how the mind works.

One way to know that you’re going through this is if you’re suffering from incubation-induced sleep loss.

The solution?

Writing down your thoughts to temporarily get them off your mind.


How’s this relevant to my investment process?

When an idea first comes to me, the next step is to get as much information as possible about it. There’s a lot of noise in the financial media, and its crucial to sift out the important facts from the noise.

Secondly, don’t make snap decisions to buy or sell. I would caution against mistaking inactivity for inaction. Making an informed decision on the basis of a particular set of facts, especially one with countless variables, requires patience and thoughtful thinking.

These decisions do become easier with time, as reliable patterns start to emerge.

Humans are by default, pattern seeking and habit forming creatures. It helps us to navigate the world without taking hours to make a decision. These same traits allow me to make reliable judgments when the same market conditions appear.


The key is to become conscious of the types of patterns and habits that one forms.

Becoming conscious of the process helps distinguish good habits from bad ones.

Are you constantly checking the market screen for the latest price action?
Are you always looking out for that “hot-tip”?
Or is your first instinct to run through the financial statements of a business?

These seemingly small decisions add up to form your overall investment framework.

Becoming conscious of the process will help you to take control of your results.


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All views and opinions articulated in the article were expressed in Jun Hao’s personal capacity and do not in any way represent those of his employer and other related entities. Jun Hao does not own any shares in the companies mentioned above.

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