The legendary methodology of MacGyverisms is fictional but his methods of adapting to any situational scenario with craft is factual.

“MacGyver is a former Special Forces agent that is deeply principled with an astounding mind. He’s able to make use of any mundane materials around him to create unorthodox solutions to any problem he faces.”     -Phoenix Foundation

Operating like MacGyver in your daily life, work and travels can make you a sharper observer, situationally tactical and a more advanced version of yourself.

The final episode of MacGyver aired more than 20 years ago so not all of you may know exactly who he is, other than by the countless pop culture references and internet memes you’ve probably come across.

MacGyver is similar to 24’s Jack Bauer when it comes to tactical ingenuity but without the extreme violence or like the Mentalist’s Patrick Jane when it comes to strategically seeing things in plain sight nobody else notices. However, he’s most comparable to Burn Notice’s Michael Westen but without the baggage.

MacGyver AKA Richard Dean Anderson ///
MacGyver AKA Richard Dean Anderson ///

What they all had in common was that they had an incredible knack for getting out of the most impossible of situations, but MacGyver also used his seemingly mystical powers in everyday life tasks – not just danger.

That’s why operating like him can make anyone… better.

“Mostly I like to see how the world works.“

What made MacGyver special was his highly developed spatial visualization ability and active situational awareness. Both of which you can also hone.

Don’t try to think like MacGyver, SEE like him.

So let’s talk about Albert Einstein for a moment. He was one of the greatest intellects in history and probably the greatest in modern history, but his IQ of 165, while technically “genius” level, is actually relatively low.

There are many officially recorded instances of IQ’s far surpassing of Einstein, even a few well over 200.

It was how he SAW the universe and his VISUAL thinking process that made him a greater intellect than peers with far higher IQ’s. So in essence, he was better at thinking than people smarter than him.

“If you don’t have the right equipment for the job, you just have to make it yourself.“

That’s how MacGyverisms operate, by seeing the world around him as if each element of it was a piece of a yet to be realized puzzle or a dynamic tool box that can be used to remedy any potential and sudden problem.

- The MacGyver Multi-Tool -
The MacGyver Multi-Tool

See everything, I mean everything around you as a potential tool, therefore the entire world as a giant box of tools.

Scattered pieces of potential devices that can be put together despite how innocuous or irrelevant they may seem to each other.

Such as a paperclip. Most people see it only as a way to organize paper, but with the MacGyvering logic, the possibilities are endless.

And that’s the most important process of operating like MacGyver:



“Well, when it comes down to me against a situation, I don’t like the situation to win.”

Anything that has mass can be utilized, therefore literally everything there is can be a tool and anything can be used as something else or with something else.

“MacGyverisms” isn’t just about manipulating physical objects, however. It’s also about maneuvering the energy around you – using words and the actions of people. It just so happens even energy has mass.

You can’t change the world but you do control your own body and mind, use it to change the world around you.

This way of thinking is not just about situational action and escaping from danger. MacGyverisms are just as useful fixing everyday things in not so everyday ways but with everyday things – that’s not a typo.

“Another day, a whole ‘nother set of fresh possibilities … I’m a sucker for mornings.”

Spatial reasoning is a part of our living function as well as a subconscious level of situational awareness, so we all have it in us to operate like MacGyver.

Just like Einstein, it’s how well we can (literally) see a problem or a puzzle then (literally) visualize the solution.

Less mathematical equation, more jigsaw puzzle.

While we can only do so much to raise our realized intelligence, we can train to become a better gamer.

How to be Like MacGyver:   Part 2   ///

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  1. Excellent post!!! You make it sound so easy to be like Macgyver but I really like how you broke it down to how it is. I’d love a series of this…

  2. Your best post yet, very inspiring to change the way I think and see the world. Also, I agree with the 2 other commentors, a series on this would be clutch.

  3. Specialist Zero Reply

    I vote for a series as well… Also, great featured photo, perfect modernized Macgyver shot.

  4. George Flow Reply

    Fantastic post! Also, big fan of Richard Dean Anderson as Jack Oneil from Stargate SG1. In the pilot episode, The Samantha Carter turns to Jack and says something like “We have to MacGyver this thing…” and Jack looks at her confused. HILARIOUS. hahahaha

  5. Hi guys, I’m a commissioning engeneer, and belive me all my life is Macgyvering oriented, I was evrywhere and every day for me is a new heat to fix.

  6. Good article. I think you’re right that -seeing- is the first part. One of my instructors once said, “It is what it does.” He was referring to the use of improvised tools and it really struck me. At its simplest, a screwdriver is a screwdriver until it’s a pry bar, a pick, a lever, a weapon or anything else you need it to do at that moment. As you mentioned, being able to see the world as full of tools and solutions is huge and can be learned if someone is willing to try.

    Very cool post.

  7. Great! Really nice and helpful how to think and see a Macgyver of ones inner self….Limitless opportunities, wild imaginations and suspended judgement thinking things out laterally…Bottomline ,it’s a process one must need to know how to explore the skills …God bless us all!

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