Fighting the Wrong Battles and Pyrrhic Victories

I’ll start this off with a question.

Have you ever won a Pyrrhic Victory?

This topic is obviously stimulated by recent events. The whole war on terror was a thinly veiled act of revenge dealt out by a superpower to those who dared and had the temerity to transgress. It stemmed from the sixth ray personality ray of the USA. It was a so called “Christian” country which resorted to Abrahamic Old Testament vengeance albeit served with ultra-high technology.

I did not see one turning of the other cheek, did you?

There were a lot of more cost-effective ways of preventing a second mass terror event.

It is not uncommon for people to engage in petty acts of “warfare” where one tries to get one over on another. In my own experience I can recollect a half a dozen times, at least, when someone has engaged in a petty battle with me and had a victory, but that “victory” has cost them more than they had bargained for. The cost has not been immediately obvious and has taken a while to achieve fruition.

To give an illustrative example.

Once in a series C funding round for the company I was engaged in, one of the venture capitalists was arguing for a bigger slice of the cake. He even said that they deserved the lion’s share. I asked him if I had heard right that he felt they deserved the lion’s share. He said, yes.  In this company I was driving one part of the endeavour, the part which might have been the most profitable. As a direct result of his attitude, I gave back my shares and asked only for my initial £500 investment back.  Prior to the funding round these shares had a paper value of ~£800,000. In the terms of the round, they would have been diluted to £80,000. He got his lion’s share but of a cake which had way less potential. The endeavour I was engaged in fizzled out and died. In the end he lost the bulk of his investment a few years later.

The VCs and the CEO had alienated the founders.

He had fought entirely the wrong battle.

As a rule of thumb most people want to win a battle against some others. Few are wise enough to know that more often than not the imagined battle is with some aspect of themselves.

I’ll finish with a question.

Have you ever devoted vast amount of time and resources to fight entirely the wrong battle?