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When the Odds Are Stacked Against You…

Vivek Ranadivé , a father of a 13-year-old found himself coaching his daughter’s basketball team.  He never played basketball – grew up playing cricket and soccer and felt the game didn’t make good sense.  He observed that through out most of the game each team would concede a good deal of the court and only defend a relatively small area.  The girl’s on his daughters team additionally were not career athletes.  They were girls who were smart but not seasoned basketball players – like their coach.  He recognized that by playing a full-court press—that is, they would  contest their opponent’s attempt to advance the ball up the court would even up the odds. But to use this strategy would be unconventional to say the least.  Nonetheless, that is what he did.  Every game they shrugged off the norm and his team played a real full-court press, every game, all the time. The team  ended up at the national championships.  They played by their own rules.

Ivan Arreguín-Toft recently looked at every war fought in the past two hundred  years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths, he found, won in 71.5  per cent of the cases.  Analyizing conflicts where one side was 10 times as powerful.  In these conflicts, the underdog only won 1/3 of the time.  With that said, David‘s victory over Goliath was an anomaly.  David puts on his coat of armor, picks up his sword, etc.  began walking around and then realized he can’t fight Goliath this way because he was not used to the armor or the choice of weapon.  Even though all the others who faced Goliath utilized such and that was how most conflicts were fought back then.  Nonetheless, he shrugged off the norm, picked up his 5 smooth stones and his slingshot and knocked out Goliath.  What happened, Arreguín-Toft wondered, when the underdogs likewise acknowledged  their weakness and chose an unconventional strategy? He went back and  re-analyzed his data. In those cases, David’s winning percentage went from 28.5  to 63.6. When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win,  Arreguín-Toft concluded, “even when everything we think we know about power  says they shouldn’t.
This was taken from an article I read in The New Yorker Magazine May 2009.

Whether it’s your five smooth stones, a full court press, or your own strategy, face your Goliath on your own terms that your familiar and comfortable with, ask God for his help, then go get em!



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