You are your own worst adversary!
Do not waste precious time dreaming of the future instead of engaging in the present. The only way to change is through action and outside pressure. Put yourself in situations where you have too much at stake to waste time or resources. If you cannot afford to lose, you will not. Cut your ties to the past. Enter unknown territories where you must depend on your wits and energy to see you through. Place yourself on "death-ground," where your back is against the wall, and you must fight like hell to survive.
THE "NO-RETURN" STRATEGY
A sense of urgency comes from a powerful connection to the present. Instead of fantasizing of rescue or hoping for a better future, face the issue at hand. Involve yourself completely in the immediate problem. Focus intensely on the moment; your sense of urgency will multiply your strength and give you the momentum you need to face reality and your adversaries. Fail and you perish. People who focus intensely are intimidating; they seem more powerful than they are.
Locate the root of your problem
More than often, it is not the people around you that are the problem; it is yourself, and the spirit with which you face the world. In the back of your mind, you keep an escape route, a crutch, something to turn to if things go bad. You may see this fallback as a blessing, but in fact it is a curse. It only divides you: because you think you have options; you never involve yourself deeply enough in one thing to do it thoroughly; you never quite get what you want. In difficult times, in conflictual times, run your ships aground, burn them, burn down the bridges behind you and leave yourself just one option: succeed or go down.
THE "DEATH-AT-YOUR-HEELS" STRATEGY
Death is impossible for us to fathom. Society is systematized to make death invisible, to keep it several steps removed. That distance may seem necessary for our comfort, but it comes with a terrible price: the illusion of limitless time, and a consequent lack of seriousness about daily life.
As a Systemic Strategic Warrior, you must turn this dynamic around. Make the thought of death something not to escape but to embrace. Keep in mind that your days are numbered. Do not pass them half awake and halfhearted. Live you live with a sense of urgency. Feeling death at your heels will make all your actions more certain, more forceful. Whatever you are doing could be your last throw of the dice: make it count.
KEYS TO CONFLICT
Quite often we feel somewhat lost in our actions: we could do this or that, we have many options, but none of them seem quite necessary. For most of us, our freedom is a problem: what do we do today, where do we go? Our daily patterns and routines help us to avoid feeling directionless, but there is always the niggling thought that we could accomplish so much more: we waste so much time. Upon occasions, all of us have felt a sense of urgency. most often imposed from outside. We fall behind in our work, we inadvertently take on more than we can handle, responsibility for something is abruptly thrust into our hands. Now everything changes. There is no more freedom: we must do this; we must fix that. Now everything we do seems necessary. The surprise is always how much more spirited and more alive this makes us feel. But eventually we go back to our normal patterns. And when that sense of urgency goes, we really do not know how to get it back.
Strategists, philosophers, and politicians of all times have thought about this subject for centuries: how can people be motivated, be made more forceful, more desperate? Some have relied on fiery oratory, and those particularly good at it have had some success. As far as I am concerned, listening to speeches, no matter how rousing, is too passive an experience to have an enduring effect. Instead talk and think of “death-ground”, a place where you are backed up against the wall and have no escape route. Without a way to retreat, one fight with double or triple the spirit he or her would have in similar circumstances. Deliberately station yourself on “death-ground” to give yourself the desperate edge. The world is ruled by necessity: people will change their behavior only if they have no other option, only if they feel the urgency to do it, if they feel their lives and future depend on it.
Death-ground is a psychological phenomenon, a set of circumstances in which you feel enclosed and without options, a set of circumstances where there is very real pressure at your back and you cannot retreat, a set of circumstances where time is running out, a set of circumstances where failure is staring you in the face and telling you that you must act or suffer the consequences. Understand this: We, as humans, are creatures who are intimately tied to our environment, creatures who respond viscerally to our circumstances and to the people around us. If our situation is easy and relaxed, if people are friendly and warm, our natural tension unwinds, we may even grow bored and tired: our environment is failing to challenge us. Put yourself in a high-stakes situation and the dynamic changes: your body responds to danger with a surge of energy and your mind focuses. Urgency is forced on you; you are compelled to waste no more time. Use this effect deliberately. Practice it on yourself as a kind of wake-up call.
Stake Everything on a Single Throw
Why try something that seemed doomed to failure? Not only would the race be a waste of money, but the humiliation. Unlimited possibilities are not suited to man; if they were to exist, his life would only dissolve in the boundless. To grotto w, become strong, a man's life needs the voluntarily accepted the limitations ordained by duty. It is only by surrounding himself with these limitations and by determining for himself what his duty is that an individual attains significance.
By staking your future on one throw, you put yourself in a “death-ground” situation. your body and spirit respond with the energy you need. Often, we try too many things at one time, thinking that one of them will bring us success, but in these situations our minds are diffused, our efforts halfhearted. It is better to take on one daunting challenge, even one that others think foolish: our future is at stake; we cannot afford to lose. So, we do not.
Act Before You Are Ready
For many of us, we often wait too long to act, to respond to a given situation, particularly when we face no outside pressure. In difficult situations, in conflictual times, it is sometimes better to act before you think you are ready, to force the issue. Not only will you take your adversaries by surprise, but you will also make the most of your resources. Commit yourself and never turn back: under pressure your creativity will flourish. Do this often and you will develop your ability to think and act fast.
Do not be afraid to enter new waters: sometimes, you must force yourself onto “death-ground”, leaving stale relationships and comfortable situations behind, cutting your ties to the past. If you give yourself no way out, you will have to make your new endeavor work. Leaving the past for unknown terrain is like a death and feeling this finality will snap you back to life.
Make It "You Against the World"
A fighting spirit needs a little edge, some anger and hatred to fuel it. Do not sit back and wait for people to get aggressive: irritate and infuriate them deliberately. Feeling cornered by a multitude of people who dislike you, you will fight like hell. Hatred is a powerful emotion. In conflictual times, in any battle, put your name and reputation on the line. Use that pressure to make yourself fight harder.
Keep Yourself Restless and Unsatisfied
Never let yourself rest; never be satisfied. When we are tired, it is often because we are bored. When no real challenge faces us, a mental and physical lethargy sets in. Sometimes, death only comes from a lack of energy, and lack of energy comes from a lack of challenges or when we have taken on less than we are capable of. Take a risk and your body and mind will respond with a rush of energy. Make risk a constant practice. Never let yourself settle down. Soon, living on “death-ground” will become a kind of addiction; you will not be able to do without it. It will sharpen your appreciation of life.
If the feeling of having nothing to lose can propel you forward, it can do the same for others: avoid any conflict with people in this position. Maybe they are living in terrible conditions or, for whatever reason, are suicidal; whatever the case, they are desperate, and desperate people will risk everything in a fight. Already defeated by circumstances, they have nothing to lose. You do. Leave them alone.
Conversely, attacking adversaries when their morale is low gives you the advantage. Maybe they are fighting for a cause they know is unjust or for a leader they do not respect. Find a way to lower their spirits even further. Troops with low morale are discouraged by the slightest setback. A show of force will crush their fighting spirit. Make your adversaries think they have all the time in the world. When you suddenly appear at their border, they are in a slumbering state, and you will easily overrun them. While you are sharpening your fighting spirit, always do what you can to blunt theirs.
J. Michael Dennis, ll.l. ll.m.
Corporate Systemic Strategist