Is it wise to imagine that we can always wrestle control from others to serve our objectives, or should we discern who we should be close to?
I have had some deep discussions with loved ones, on whether one should imagine that he can wrestle control from powerful entities in order to reach one’s own objectives, or should we discern and then distance ourselves from such powerful entities knowing that we are mere mortals and that we are only capable of wrestling with our own actions?
Powerful entities are often admired or feared, and there will always be different social behavior around them.
The paradigm of David and Goliath comes to mind. The story was that the humble David took on the big and powerful Goliath, and won. Yet, the paradigm of David and Goliath can also be translated to real life, in different approaches and outcomes.
Some people would gravitate to these entities to feel affiliated with, and by perception, part of these powerful entities. Not surprisingly, some people prefer to associate with the big, rich and powerful, while despising those in need. Imagine the story of David and Goliath, and imagine what would have happened if David were to submit to the will and might of Goliath.
Some other people may become competitive and attempt to fight for a place of their own against such powerful entities. The fight is not necessarily predestined in any manner in real life. For example, the humble one may win the fight against the powerful entity, at least for a period of time. After all, no win is permanent, and no winner remains so forever. The humble one may also fail miserably and face dire consequences, even death (physical or metaphysical). In the story of David and Goliath, David took on Goliath and won. The real world is not so straightforward.
There is yet another road less traveled. Should one be near a powerful entity, especially if such an entity is a serpent capable of great evil and great damage, or worse, have exhibited such behavior already? If we imagine ourselves to be a mere David with nothing in us to win a fight with (taking the real world and the competitive marketplace rather than a supernatural scenario), would we, or should we, enter the ring?
A wise man can discern, and then decide if the wise move is to enter the ring with a great statistical chance of winning a fight against a giant, through wit and skill, and absolute knowledge of certain weaknesses of the giant. A wise man can also discern and decide that there is lousy odds and he has no better skill or wit to disarm the giant, and the wisest decision is to distance himself from the ring, the farther the better. This is survival above pride.
Sometimes the best option is to allow humility to the fore and take a step or many step backwards. As the Chinese saying goes, “三十六計，走為上計.” The meaning behind this battle strategy is that in some situations, retreating or even admitting defeat, may be the wisest move, as long as one can survive, there will be another opportunity to regroup and advance again.
So, in life, as with marketing campaigns or running a business, there are always many options and decisions. Mere bravado without wit, or pride before expertise, can all land one in very difficult situations. One need not be merely cowed by sheer tainted might, nor confront such might with needless damage and ill will. Retreats are not always cowardly, but with discernment, they may be the wisest battle strategy.