RIDE OR DIE
Thousands of years ago, bridge burning was a military strategy used to sever the route between your troops and an advancing enemy. It also meant there was no returning to where you’d just been: You were committed to marching onward, no matter what happened.
Burning the ships was a very similar tactic. Legend has it that the practice originated in 1519, when Hernán Cortés set sail to Veracruz, Mexico with his crew. Cortés had defied the orders of his superiors and left Cuba on a mission to see the magical city of Tenochtitlán, which is present day Mexico City. He faced imprisonment or death for defying the governor if he returned to Cuba. So his only alternative was to advance. Those of his men still loyal to the Governor of Cuba conspired to seize a ship and return there, but Cortés moved swiftly and decided to sink his ships. With no possibility of leaving Mexico, Cortés marched into the interior, to confront the Aztecs. Burning our ships - like burning bridges - means there is no turning back to old habits and ways.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
There was once a small bird who loved the woodsy northern climates so much he stayed until fall, instead of flying south for the winter. When he finally did leave, it was far too late in the season to be flying and he got caught in a fierce storm somewhere over a farm. The storm coated his wings in ice and he fell to the ground where he thought he would die. As he laid on the ground a cow wandered by and shit on him. At first he was angry and mortified. Then he realized the warm mess was melting the ice on his wings and heating up his frozen body. As he came back to life and struggled to get out a coyote who was passing by saw him and came over to dig him out. “A friend!” the little bird thought. “Let me help you,” the coyote said. “Stop struggling and leave it all to me.” “How fortunate I am to have found a friend,” the bird thought…until the coyote finished digging him out popped him into his mouth and ate him.
THE MORAL: Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy and not everyone who helps you is your friend.
THE PRISONERS' DILEMMA
The prisoner's dilemma is a standard example of game theory that shows why two completely rational individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so. Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge, but they have enough to convict both on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The offer is:
THE THIRD OPTION
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey describes six paradigms of human interaction. All but one is based upon polarized, dualistic thinking; somebody either wins or loses. Unfortunately, because the overwhelming majority of our people are employees and renters, we never actually win anything. So we end up like street gangs and prison kingpins who are willing to die on every hill without ever gaining the leverage necessary to actually OWN it. In this regard, maintaining any kind of win/lose mentality is painfully self-destructive. Every time you win, you actually lose. It's either we both win or there is no deal.
Recently, I saw an exemplary post on a friend's Facebook page. He's from Ghana. According to this post, every family in the church congregation is earning over 100K. Not only that, every high school graduate had been accepted to college. The only way you can get those kinds of outcomes is when the culture is organized around win/win thinking.
 Milovsky, Nicholas. "The Basics of Game Theory and Associated Games".
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Live the Medicine
Obafemi Origunwa, MA
Thought leader, Ifa priest and author of four definitive books, Obafemi Origunwa inspires metamorphosis through living the medicine that will heal your life and heal the lives of the people you're destined to serve.