Fog of war is a very important term in both military and in real-time strategy based computer games. Understanding its importance and effects on everyday life, will give you an upper hand in many day-to-day situations.

In the military, Fog of War describes the level of ambiguity in situational awareness that participants in military operations face. Not knowing the level of your opponents’ ability, their intent, or the geography in which the battle is taking place, are all attributes of Fog of War. The uncertainty of any aspect of war presents a difficulty, which can affect the ultimate outcome, victory or defeat.

Video games such as Starcraft, Command and Conquer, and Warcraft depict Fog of War as the area in which you cannot see on the playing field until it has been scouted. Leaving important areas uncovered creates a significant disadvantage to you. The Fog of War hides all strategic attack routes, positions of higher ground, and resourceful locations. Reluctance in uncovering these areas will likely lead to your defeat by your opponent.

From day to day, you will encounter many situations where the Fog of War metaphor applies, determining how assertive you are or may appear to be. Fortunately, we aren’t dealing with life and death situations, but we are discussing the difference between victory and defeat. For example, this can apply to an important 1 on 1 business meeting, a romantic evening with a beautiful date, or simply a game of golf with colleagues from work.

In the case of the business meeting, you choose a nice fine dining restaurant to discuss business with your client. You will boost your assertiveness as well as your chances of success if you choose an establishment that you frequent and know very well. Being familiar with the menu, the atmosphere and the staff, are all elements that put you in a position of control. This will show that you are confident with your surroundings, and are able to take a leadership role, in turn, showing your client that you mean business.

The same applies to a romantic dinner. If you take your date to a fancy restaurant that you frequent, you will be able to suggest the best table and dishes on the menu. This will impress your date, and earn you valuable assertiveness points.

If you and your colleagues are planning a game of golf, and you suggest a great golf course, your colleagues will be impressed. In the future, they may come and seek out your advice and opinions on other matters. Make sure that you do your research and make suggestions that will leave a positive impression on your colleagues. Making a bad suggestion, because you were too lazy to do your homework, will hurt your image and reputation.

The more experienced and informed you are, the more control you will have over your opponent.  The more assertive you look, the more likely you are to win people over. Like Fog of War, if you are unprepared and do not have a situational advantage over your opponent at all times, your chances of failure are high.

So how do you reduce your own personal Fog of War? It’s simple and a lot of fun. Travel! When you visit new places, whether it be a new restaurant or country, ask questions, get informed. Information is power! The more information you have, the more power you will possess.