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The Art of Battling Giants


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Advantages and Disadvantages Are Determined by Perception

Playing by different rules:

Political scientist, Ivan Arreguin-Toft has analyzed every war in the past 200 years fought by strong and weak opponents

The “Goliaths” were at least 10x as powerful as their counterparts

Goliaths won 71.5% of the time

Against armies that were much larger and better equipped: Underdogs won nearly ⅓ of the time

What happens when smaller armies change the rules and fight unconventionally?

Re-analyzation reveals those armies went from winning 28.5% to 63.6%

Changing the rules changes the outcome

Our logic is crazy:

In unbalanced fights we have the powerhouse and the underdog

Conventional logic says the powerhouse has all the advantages

Is this true or is it our perception of what advantages are?

Are we all crazy? (Examples of bizarre logic)


Athletes do everything they can get away with to create an advantage

Alex Rodriguez used testosterone, a naturally occurring hormone,

was blacklisted for life

completely destroyed his career and credibility

Lance Armstrong, seemingly superhuman cyclist, re-injected his own blood

was stripped of 7 Tour de France titles


One third of current pro baseball pitchers have had “Tommy John Surgery”

1974: Dr. Frank Jobe pioneered this surgery on pitcher, Tommy Jones

The now popular surgery involves taking a ligament from another part of the body, or from a cadaver, and transplanting it into the pitching arm

The transplant can repair a damaged pitching arm or can potentially improve pitching skills

And THIS is perfectly legal and applauded.

Dr. Jobe is now honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame
Are underdogs really disadvantaged?

The classic story of “underdog” vs. “powerhouse” is the story of David and Goliath

Most people tell the story that David, a small boy, faced a giant

Many estimate Goliath to have been over 9ft tall

Goliath had superior armor

David wore none because it was too heavy

Goliath was a seasoned warrior

David was a young shepherd

Goliath had a sword and shield

David had a slingshot and 5 stones

What we don’t take into account:

The  Weapon:

Slings and stones were commonly used in battle during this period of history

Skilled slingers were a vital part of an army’s makeup

Good slingers could hit a target as accurately and as far as a good archer

Sometimes up to 440 yards (quarter of a mile)

Archers practice at 200 yards

Depending on the size of the stone, David’s stone could have hit Goliath with as much force as a 45 caliber handgun

The Giant:

Goliath’s size may have been his weakness; not his strength

Many historians and neurologists believe Goliath suffered from acromegaly (“Giantism”)

This disease causes overproduction of growth hormones in the pituitary gland

Sufferers also have issues with circulation, respiration, and vision

It is likely that Goliath, while big and strong, did not match David’s ability
The Game Changer:

Goliath was waiting for a conventional fight

his mere mass would have been overwhelming

Instead, he was rushed by a quick young man with a slingshot

Changing the rules gave David an easy advantage.


When advantages could be our downfall

Many argue that too much money could affect quality of life


There are many kinds of things that are best learned through adversity



Value of perseverance


Sense of accomplishment


What is an advantage or a disadvantage? Change outcome by changing the perception.