Am I the only one that thinks 71.5% is a low success rate for someone 10x more powerful? – Matt Langdon
A 70% chance of winning was a low return for such an overwhelming power
imbalance. Don’t ever take your situational advantage for granted! – EHD
A number of reader comments on Our Inner Goliath, excerpted above and below, lead in to a discussion of the archetypal David.
Armies with 1/10 of the fight power won almost 30% of the time! Actually good odds
for the underdog. Pure strength is not sufficient. Chrysula Winegar
Doesn’t every individual have a David side — and a Goliath side? Science Teacher Mommy
Source: Zohar Lazar, The New Yorker
Just as we sometimes have a Goliath-like advantage, there are times when we have the firepower of David. And yet we prevail, as did the girls’ basketball team referred to in Gladwell’s article How David Beats Goliath, 28.5% of the time.
Political scientist Ivan Arreguin-Toth, cited by Gladwell, further states, “when the underdogs recognized they were outmatched, and adopted an unconventional strategy, their winning percentage went from 28.5% to 63.6%. They win“, Arreguín-Toft concluded, “even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.”
Gladwell wondered, as do I — why? Why such an unpredictable outcome?
In David’s case, he was sent by God to defend his people. For Eunice Shriver, she was motivated by love. In both instances, there was a wellspring of some intangible. While it would be nearly impossible to quantify, as most really important things are, it would seem we succeed against lopsided odds when we believe or care about something larger than ourselves.
We play big, when we believe big.
What if when we have the advantage of Goliath, we played like David?
Or when we have David-like resources, we tap into our inner Goliath?
We’re never all David, or all Goliath.
Better said, we don’t have to be.
Wouldn’t we rather always be a bit of both?