War and conflict. It’s unavoidable. Different people want different things. Sometimes there is scarcity – real or perceived. Often, the solution people resort to is threatening someone, conflicting, battling or warring. Today we’re discussing the principles of warring in the modern world.
Some people say “violence doesn’t solve anything.”
I am clearly not one of those people. Violence does solve pretty much every problem. It may not be ideal, it certainly shouldn’t be the first method applied right off the bat. But it is the ultimate culmination of the pent-up tension caused by conflicting motives and mismatches in points of view and/or ethical treatment of issues.
And yet, violence is not the only method of warring in the modern world. Today, a legal battle can be just as fierce and has the potential to yield just as dire consequences as an actual war wherein blood is drawn. Its potency can be experienced by simply observing how quickly the mere threat of a lawsuit brings so many people to their heels, or at least to a negotiation table regardless of how immutable they might have pretended to be up until that moment.
Withholding payments, severing business or personal ties, boycotting, rallying can all be forms of modern warfare.
To me an act of war is simply someone being unwilling to sit down on for a negotiation and being adamant that you lose something while they gain. That’s an act of war. They don’t have to chase you around town with a shiv concealed under their sleeve. Just insisting on your loss while they gain is an act of war.
Now, to be sure, this is not the same is drawing a boundary. Say I want to do business with someone, and they’re not interested. That’s obviously not an act of war. Because I lose nothing, and they’re not trying to gain anything at my expense.
But if I am owed a payment, and they refuse to clear it, that’s an act of war – no matter how small and seemingly inconspicuous. No matter how seemingly inconsequent in the grander scheme.
Let’s get started…
Wars are largely bad things. They consume more than they produce. Wars can almost never have a win-win outcome. At best, one party wins at the expense of the other.
Which is why warring should be the very last option.
It’s always best to try and resolve your issues quickly and move on, without having to resort to warring.
The first principle of warring in the modern world, or in any era for that matter, is to try to avoid war altogether as much as possible.
Do not be anxious for a battle. Do not be hasty in jumping into a war.
For me, war is almost never an alternative. I try to pick up the phone, or meet the counter-party face-to-face with a win-win solution… and for the most part, I let them have their minor victory over me so that they have something to gloat about.
I’d rather save the time, the money, the energy, the attention and the opportunity cost that a war would inevitably consume. I’m happy losing a little bit of money if that is what it takes. I’m perfectly fine with the idea of letting someone else win a minor conflict if I can focus on the big picture in my life – often elsewhere.
No matter who you are. Doesn’t matter how powerful or influential you are. No matter how much money or strength you have.
Life is stronger.
It can, and will beat you down. It will throw so much at you at once that you’d end up fantasizing about a peaceful night of sleep.
The very first of the principles of warring in the modern world is to try and avoid battling and warring as much as possible not because you can’t win those wars, or you shouldn’t war on account of being peaceful or something flaccid like that… but because unbeknownst to others and even you…
If you’re trying to move up in the world, if you’re trying to change your station in life, you’re waging a war. Even if that amounts to trying to save a little bit of money each month for your retirement.
Whatever your overarching purpose is right now is the greatest battle you’ve got going on right now, already. You need to devote as much of your time, energy, attention and resources to it as you can.
You’ve got micro-tensions going on with colleagues, bosses and your team at work. You have got micr-conflicts with your spouse, kids and siblings. You’ve also got micro-rivalries with friends and neighbors. Doesn’t mean you should start battling each and every one of those people for every little issue.
Then again, that’s the only war that can have a win-win outcome, because you’re battling mother nature herself. Despite her insurmountable chaotic energy and the inevitability of her victory on a long enough timeline… humans have battled her for millennia and at least for the time being, held our own.
Every single skyscraper you see is a battle won against mother nature. Sure, she’ll bring it down sooner or later. But by that time, we’ll have built ten more for her to bring down. And sure she’ll level even the greatest of cities in due time. But today, we sit in penthouses so high up in the sky that clouds sit beneath our feet.
So battle against mother nature, no matter how futile, is the only one that can be win-win for everyone. Every other battle can be win-lose at best.
You have a limited amount of resources. Limited willpower, limited time, limited strength, limited stamina, limited capital and so on. And with your limited resources, you’re already waging a war against mother nature.
Why would you want your limited resources to be drained elsewhere?
Now, of course, sometimes battle does become unavoidable.
I recently held conflicting objectives with someone who owed me money from my point of view, and whom I owed money from his. I explained the situation to some people who objectively agreed with my point of view. We tried to reason with the counter-party. Actually I let someone else try to deal with him.
But he absolutely stone-walled her. Right to the point of misbehaving with her. And then he had the gall to call me up with the intention of demeaning her and me, even though I’d already authorized her to let him have a minor victory at my expense. But he refused that offer and insisted on delivering a humiliating defeat to me.
I immediately hit him with everything I had. I immediately diverted all my resources to this battle, which I’d have considered rather meaningless and petty, and so would any reasonable person. We dropped everything we had, assembled our forces and unleashed those onto him.
He had no idea what hit him. In less than twenty-four hours, he folded like the house of cards he had been all along, and suffered a humiliating defeat.
Now, I still regret I had to go to war. Even though it did become worth those twenty four hours of strife in the end. And even though I won.
The opponent was too inconsequential and powerless.
It doesn’t suit a seasoned warrior to deliver a kill-stroke to an ailing opponent. But in this case, the opponent was too thick-headed to realize what he was up against, and to take his winnings and walk while he could have.
This brings me to the next two principles of warring in the modern world…
If war does become unavoidable, do not wait for the opponent to strike first.
Gather your resources and unleash hell immediately. The opponent will have no idea what struck him.
Your boldness will strike such immense fear within his heart that his fight-or-flight emotions will kick in, and unless he’s a seasoned warrior, he’ll wish for any possibility of a retreat.
The element of surprise will sow dissent into the hearts of his people, who’ll subconsciously disdain him for dragging them into an unwarranted mess. They’ll blame him for the extra troubles they’ll now be forced to encounter due to their association with him.
United, even a small group of people can be very powerful against a large but fragmented opposition.
Then there’s this element of boldness. The stronger warrior draws first blood.
It demonstrates leadership. It accumulates respect, even from your opponent’s team. Our world is shaped by men who attacked their opponents including mother nature more boldly than rationality would suggest.
Once you decide a war has to be waged, do not wait. Strike with all your strength and all your fury.
Just get your resources and forces lined up, and strike.
Once you’ve begun striking, do not relent.
Perseverance is another law of nature that has bestowed upon us our ability to beat her at her own game.
A man wakes up every day, makes up his bed, shaves his face and spends fifteen minutes each and every day consistently lifting weights. Just fifteen minutes.
No one would be surprised if he’s one of the strongest men around that anyone in any of his social circles knows.
Being the first to strike is important for psychological reasons. But just striking once may or may not have a deep enough impact.
You need to continue striking as hard as you can until the battle is over – one way or another. Until then, do not relent.
In my most recent battle that I was discussing a few minutes ago, not only did I strike first with all my fury and power, but I continued striking. This was important, because perseverance turned outsiders into supporters.
The vast majority wait for the other to strike. The small minority that does strike first is largely comprised of those who strike once and stop. Sure, they manage to get people’s attention, but for the most part, it’s still anybody’s battle.
A very small minority.
As you can imagine, it’s unbelievably hard to defeat those who strike first, strike hard, and strike consistently and persistently.
Almost all your opponents will fold by the time they realize that not only have you struck first, but that you’ve continued to strike relentlessly.
Most of the bravado in this world is based on the highly accurate notion that people are inconsistent and have neither courage to be bold nor the willpower to continue on a course of action without demotivation or depression in the face of adverse results.
That’s how almost everyone is. If you can be the exception, you can win almost all your battles by default.
Very rarely will you find an person who won’t either negotiate and walk away with a minor win, or give up when you strike hard first and persevere relentlessly.
Such an opponent is tough, and worthy of your respect.
Because by this time, he hasn’t folded, so he’s confident about his ability to brace against your persistent striking.
This may be false bravado whereby he hopes to lure you away from a weakening line of defense. But this might also be his comfort in the notion that his defense is much stronger than your ability to attack.
Of course, fear of defeat will raise its ugly head here.
You might want to start re-evaluating if the whole thing was even worth it.
Regardless of whether or not the war was worth it, you’ve already started. And once you’ve started, you can not receded. This is the fourth of my principles of warring in the modern world. And it’s applicable to pretty much any era, any scenario.
Once you’ve started warring, do not worry about whether you’ll win or lose. About whether it’s worth it or not. About the many ways in which you could have avoided the whole mess altogether.
Do not think about any of that.
Sure, you’ll eventually lose one. But you’ll win way more than you lose with these principles of warring in the modern world.
He has weak spots. Whether you know them or not, he has them.
He has blind spots. Whether you take advantage of those or not, he’s got’em.
Your job now is to figure out his weaknesses and his blind spots, and to intensify your attack on those spots.
Remember – intensity beats extensiveness everytime. So concentrate your forces onto their weak spots. And keep hammering away.
Never let them see you bleed.
In the very rare instance where you face a seasoned and tough opponent, you’ll suffer wounds. You’ll bleed during your war. They’ll draw your blood just like you’ll draw theirs.
The key here is to never let them see you bleed. Because that’d be your weak spot.
Don’t give away the game by revealing how much you’re hurting, and where.
If you must express pain, express it in a deceptive way, so as to lure them to attack your strong points, not your weak ones.
This goes hand in hand with the fourth principle of modern warfare – do not relent. Continue attacking. If you relent, and try to rest, you clearly indicate to your enemy that you’ve bled. That you have a weak spot.
This goes in line with the zeroth principle of warfare – always be prepared for a war.
Have your escape plan right from the beginning. Protect yourself, your life, your family, your people, your valuables and have a plan to secure them in case things go awry.
You’ll never be able to hammer away strongly and consistently while facing adversity if you don’t have an escape plan for people and things you care about.
So have your hideaway, your stowaway, your bug-in and big-out bags at the ready. Keep your emergency funds stashed away safely in a global currency in a remote location known only to you and your family.
Do not concede. Do not let them conquer you. Don’t surrender. Simply disappear.
Your disappearance will keep your opponent in perpetual fear of being attacked again. And it gives you the opportunity to bide your time, regain strength, re-amass resources and attack again, should you choose to, at your convenience, and your opponents inconvenience when they’re most vulnerable.
To conclude, never back away from a battle in case if becomes necessary. Most people will fold when they realize they might have a real battle on their hands. And few that don’t have their weak points.
And finally, always be ready to not only engage in war, but also with an escape plan.
Wishing you victory all your life