Hello, everyone! I’m Arda Cigin, founder of Stoic-Leaders.com and in this article, I’m about to change your whole mindset towards all “disadvantages” and “less than stellar situations”.
I’ll be telling you about the battle between David and Goliath as an instructive case study to understand how advantages can actually be the source of our greatest weakness, and vice versa.
And then, I’ll give you many practical solutions and mindset shifts that you can apply to your life today to turn disadvantages circumstances into your greatest strengths.
But before we get into the insights, for those who may not know, let’s analyze David and Goliath’s timeless story.
– Why even tell a story?
I want to tell a story because the human brain relates through stories, not facts and theories. If you truly want to take away an action plan at the end of this article, pay attention to this timeless story.
The Instructive Story of David and Goliath
Goliath is this giant who is six-foot nine, wearing a bronze helmet and full body armor. He is carrying a javelin, a spear, and a sword.
Why? Because he is about to go into a fierce battle.
The giant, Goliath was about to fight with a fledgling shepherd boy named, David.
David, as a fragile young man, inherently knew he was incomparably weak to his opponent, yet he wanted to take the stand and confront the wrath of Goliath nonetheless.
Is David’s confidence misplaced? Maybe there is more to David than meets the eye…
Only time will tell.
Naturally, everyone judged David to have no chance against Goliath. Most people who looked at this combat duo would bet their money on Goliath.
And trust me. You would too.
If we were to observe Goliath, he was prepared for close combat since he was wearing heavy armor and was armed with various spears and swords.
What many didn’t know was that the great and almighty Goliath, who was regarded as the supreme winner of this fight, had one fatal, characteristic flaw:
He had awful eye-sight.
That being said, the fight started.
At the beginning of the battle, Goliath shouted the words “Come to me!”.
Yet do not mistake this as an arrogant battle cry. Goliath needed David to be in arm’s-length so that he could see David and defeat him. It was more of a desperate cry than anything else, a definite side effect of his weak eyesight.
If you think about it, Goliath didn’t excel in close combat just because he chose to do so. He had no other option but to excel in close combat.
Remember his awful eye-sight? If he were to be a strong warrior, he can not be a long-ranged one like an archer. Combined with his bulky physical nature, a simple fault in eye-sight turned Goliath into a wrathful close-ranged warrior with almost-blind eyes.
Goliath was on, what Robert Greene calls, the “death ground”.
He was trapped and had no other option. Either he was going to master close combat or he’d lead his life as a blind giant. With the help of outside pressures and internal obstacles, he became the best in his niche—ruthless close combat.
David, the fragile young man, may be a shepherd but he was a smart boy. He was not going to fight with Goliath in close combat. That would be foolish.
Therefore, he’d prepared himself for a long-ranged combat—a kind of fight Goliath was not prepared for.
As Goliath started to get agitated, David took out his trusty slingshot, swiftly positioned a rock, pulled the end of the sling and shot right at the forehead of the giant.
Goliath couldn’t even see the rock because of his faulty eyesight.
The speed at which the rock traveled was more than enough to put Goliath into a deep slumber he’d never wake up from.
And so the shepherd boy won the fight he was predestined to lose. All the cards were stacked against him, or so it appeared.
A supremely disadvantageous fragile man came to be victorious against a supremely advantageous killing machine.
Naturally, everyone was shocked. They told themselves how lucky David was.
But this has nothing to do with luck.
All the spectators were wrong. There was one thing David was far superior to Goliath in.
It was neither his size nor his strength, but his ability to think strategically.
And this exact strategy that David had used to kill Goliath will be the topic of our discussion today.
Most often in life, strategic thinking is the secret ingredient to turning unfavorable situations into favorable ones
Understand: Strategic minds will always rise victorious—whatever the circumstance, whoever the enemy.
What Can We Learn From The Grand Strategist, David?
1) Adaptation: make it your greatest asset
While we are making decisions, if it proved successful before, we tend to repeat the same tactics and maneuvers we’ve familiarized ourselves with.
Humans are innately lazy creatures and naturally, we cling to what succeeded before and expect it to continue to do so in the future.
This move will prove ineffective in the long term.
Realize: by doing so, you only create rigid pathways, neural-connections, and habits you are better off not adopting.
I want you to see life as a chess game. As long as you repeat the same moves, you are bound to lose.
Always have the flexibility to adapt to your ever-changing circumstances. If something doesn’t work (e.g., self-actualization efforts or business and career success), then change your actions and thoughts. Start thinking strategically to find options that you haven’t thought of before.
Make adaptability your greatest asset.
As Darwin pointed out,
It is neither the survival of the strongest nor smartest, but the most adaptable.
2) Shift the Battlefield
Close combat? That’s what Goliath wants.
Use your wits: In this circumstance, always use the slingshot, never the sword.
Understand: Never play in a field you are oblivious to. The knowledge of the terrain will give you unimaginable and untold power.
Realize: no one can force you to play a game you suck at. If they attempt such a thing, just politely decline, as David did, lead them into playing in your arena—a field where no one but you holds the cards. A field where you become the god and they become the puppet.
The lure of such power is undeniable, don’t you think?
3) The Phenomenon of the Masked Opposite
Most often in life, people tend to mistake appearance for reality. In your interactions with people, always remember the facade of appearances. No one is as they appear to be.
Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are – Nicollo Machiavelli
When you confront your enemies, never be intimidated by their appearances. Instead look at the parts that make up the whole. Once you identified the weakness, attack with all your might. They’ll surely fall swiftly just like Goliath.
Remember: The hypocrital nature of appearances always deceives the naive
If you see an extreme behavior pattern in someone (e.g., superiority, arrogance, extreme shyness, avoidance) you are most often confronted with the phenomenon of the masked opposite—what you see is actually the exact opposite.
If someone acts particularly arrogant, realize that they are actually trying to mask their insecurity and lack of confidence. Someone who is already confident wouldn’t need to act superior in the first place.
If someone smiles incessantly and laughs at every little thing you say, would you assume they are being natural?
No, of course not. They are only using what I’d like to call “the supreme joker mask”. No one can be extremely happy and euphoric all the time. Therefore, they are only happy when you are around.
Maybe they like you and want you to like them back, maybe they want to get close to you and hurt you or maybe they just want to break the ice, whatever the reason might be, they are wearing a mask that most definitely does not express their actual feelings.
You need to train yourself to see what is underneath the mask. Everyone you meet will wear some sort of mask. And there is a reason for that.
If we openly judged people around us, naturally we’d generate unnecessary offense and malice. Therefore, from an early age, most of us have learned to hide our real thoughts and emotions.
Otherwise, we’d be vulnerable and open to attacks. We’d be left alone and isolated. To prevent such unfavorable situations, we choose to cooperate and hide our less than favorable qualities.
This is really nothing more than our ancestor survival instincts.
Therefore, if one is actually insecure but masking it with arrogance, you need to get them to drop their guards.
They need to lose the control. Do something that will make them panic. Anger them on purpose if necessary.
Anger them on purpose if necessary.
As final words, I want you to remember David and Goliath’s story every time you find yourself in a less than ideal situation.
– You financially struggle but want to start your own coaching business?
Well, that’s good, because. it is possible to bootstrap an online business by being creative and resourceful.
While wealthy business owners spend billions of dollars on advertisements—mistaking ad-generated customers for long term customers—you’ll find your unique selling proposition and create loyal customers much faster thanks to your creative product, resourceful marketing, and sheer hustle.
Starting a business without capital, especially nowadays, is actually a blessing in disguise.
– You want to write a book but you are not native?
Well, that’s good. As a language learner, your humble determination towards studying grammar, vocabulary, and phrases will enable you to get a better grasp of the nuances where most native writers will get over confident and skip the many important stages of becoming a writer—understanding how narratives work, how readers are captivated, how great writers structure stories.
Your humble and hardworking attitude towards writing will enable you to progress at a faster rate than most native writers.
Can you see the power of this strategy?
Nothing can be a disadvantage for you if you are equipped with the right mindset.
Before we wrap this up, don’t forget to share this article and comment below if you’ve experienced a similar “David and Goliath” situation.
Were you in David’s or Goliath’s position? Do you have any specific stories you would like to ask me about?
I’d love to hear your story. (I reply to almost all comments)
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