One of the most important benefits of training (or really education of any kind) is the strengthening of your mental filter. This filter is the mental decision making matrix that you pass every idea through to test whether or not it is worth incorporating into your skill set. In essence, this filter helps you separate the good ideas from the bad ones.
How Wide Open is Your Filter?
Someone without much in the way of training (education, experience, etc.) will generally have a wide open mental filter. It allows many ideas, techniques, and pieces of gear to pass through without much thought. This can be a good thing if they are being fed good ideas or it can be a terrible thing if they are standing at a typical gun shop counter listening to Goober McKnowitall opine about shotguns. “I don’t even have to aim? Even just the sound is enough to scare a robber away? Sounds great! I’ll take a shotgun and throw in some of those birdshot home defense rounds too!”
Training and education tend to create a more selective mental filter. People with more experience can more successfully separate the good information from the bad. Their filter allows less through because they can tell from experience what will and won’t work for them. In some cases, people with a well-built filter don’t even have to try a technique or piece of gear to determine that it is a dud. That won’t sit well with the guys online who defend their ideas by saying things like, “I bet you have never even tried the bayonet mount tomahawk!” Let’s just face it, some ideas are just bad and really don’t need to be tried in order to determine that.
Certainly, as a gear focused blog, JTT is likely guilty of clogging up some people’s filter. I have said it before and I will say it again, you really don’t need most of what we talk about on this blog. Training will go a lot further than gear in preparing you for any number of scenarios.
Building Your Filter
There is no shortcut to a high functioning mental filter. It can only be built with intention and focus through quality training, experience, and education. Choose the information sources that you allow to build your filter carefully because the quality of the information used to build your filter will largely determine the quality of your mental filter.
Professional firearm training is a great way to build and test your filter at the same time. Each new idea presented in a training course that passes through your filter and is incorporated into your life helps filter the next set of new ideas. During your time training you will find that techniques will be added to your “toolbox” or they will be thrown out. Some pieces of gear will pass the test while others will fail when confronted with your ever growing standards for performance.
This is part of why seeking training from people who teach ideas and techniques differently than what you are used to can be valuable. People with solid mental filters need not fear new techniques or ideas. New ideas will either be rejected by your mental filter or be used to reconstruct it – both of which make it stronger.
Strong Filters Make Strong Shooters
Be intentional about strengthening your mental filter. It will save you time spent on worthless techniques and money spent on worthless gear. Sooner or later, everyone needs to learn how to separate the peppercorns from the rabbit turds.