This Is War (1)

`This is not a gentlemanly century;
this is a century whose primary business is war.
Albert Einstein

This scary quote from nineteenth century German theoretical physicist Einstein unfortunately captures the essence of life as it is today.  Life is war, and the sooner we realise it, the earlier we will begin to make progress. In every sector of society, you discover that combative terms are used to describe activities its participants are engaged in. Doctors want to arrest a belligerent disease, lawyers want to treat someone as a hostile witness, business executives want aggressive marketing, and students are in an unending feud on who tops the class. In life, you have to get use to fighting, because success is the final outcome of a life of war.

Unfortunately, once we mention war, we unconsciously think of violence. People begin to attach aggression to the condiments necessary to make a pot of success. The die-hard CEO wears a permanent scowl on his face, proof that he has battled the corporate world and come out on top; he drinks his competitor’s blood and does not sleep at night.  We consciously develop an antagonistic demeanour because we feel it is necessary for success. Dog eat dog mentality begins to rule our homes, offices, and even schools, everything is a competition and everyone is an enemy.

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”
Mahatma Ghandi.

In my opinion, wars are not won by violence. Every war has an aim; to take over territory, to deliver an oppressed people from a bad government, to defend the integrity of a sovereign nation, etc. In some cases men had to sacrifice their lives, in others, people didn’t have to die. Only psychopathic lunatics have ‘killing people’ as their aim.  The achievement of the set out goal has always been the aim of any battle and is the same with our everyday lives, whether it is the taking over of a geographical territory, or achieving the quarterly target of your company.

War is not about violence, it’s about strategy.
Many wars have been won without taking a single life.
Kanayo Aniegboka (kani)

There are three things most necessary for the success of every war in my estimation.

1.      Target: Most people fight battles, whether office, home or school, without being clear on what the target is.  Target is the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of whatever you are doing. I think this is my biggest challenge with religious extremists; I fail to get their ‘why’ and ‘what’. If you cannot explain the mission or be able to break it into its component parts, you have already failed. Quite often, we mix up the target. A man in a battle with his wife sees her as the target, even though the real target (reason for conflict) is for instance, a difference in opinion on how the family income should be distributed. If you wish to succeed, you should be able to say what success means to you. You should be able to define it, and know why you believe it is success.

2.      Strategy: Once you’re able to define the target (aim), next is to know how to achieve it. This is where battles are won or lost. Strategy is more than just knowing ‘how’; it’s about knowing ‘how best’. You should be looking for a means that gets you maximum returns with the least casualties. Confronting the boss in the morning executive meeting might be a good way to get your project approved but may also earn you a formidable enemy in him. Writing a passionate email with strong arguments and an extensive work plan might be a better way.  There are always better, non-violent, smarter ways of winning.

3.      Action: Nothing happens until you do something. It is said that strategy is worthless if action is not taken. Once you know the mission and get an idea of your strategy, then you must act if you would win. You have written the proposal, go ahead and submit it; You have practiced the speech in front of the mirror but it’s all puff if you won’t walk up to her and say it, so just say it. US Marine Corps Colonel Michael O’Neal says “Hope is not a course of action”. You got to do something. The popular saying goes “life favours the bold”. If you will win battles, you must take action.    

I am an advocate of non-violence and minimum confrontation, but it doesn't mean that confrontations do not have its place in winning wars. For me, confrontation should be a last resort, when all other avenues and strategies have failed. The wisdom I think is in the fact that the person who resorts to confrontation as a last resort knows there are no other options available, so is willing to go all the way, while the person that resorts to violence first gets to eat the humble pie and calm down to talk when resistance is strong.

Life is war alright, so make up your mind to win it. 

Have a great life Y'all!

Read (This is War 2) here! 

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Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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