Who asks whether the enemy was defeated by strategy or valor? – Virgil
What does that mean?
I have seen this quote translated a number of different ways, but basic thrust is the same. They all ask the same question “who cares?” about how the enemy was defeated. Were they defeated by a clever strategy? Was it the bravery and valor of those fighting? Why should it matter?
The implication is the defeat of the enemy is all that matters. Whether by stratagem or valorous conduct, it matters only that they are no longer a threat. While this may well have been written about a military engagement, I believe this applies to all our lives, and many different situations.
Whether it’s at work or at home, often times the method is less important than the end result. Note that we’re presuming everything is above board, and that no ethical or legal rules have been broken. This isn’t “the ends justify the means” but a simple statement of fact. It’s over, and the good guys (by our definition) won.
Why are the results important?
Well, if you don’t get the results you wanted, you’re not done yet, are you? There is still work to be done, and an enemy to defeat, a dragon to slay, a fair maiden to rescue. But I wax nostalgic, and show my age. The point is, until the desired result is attained, the work’s not done.
The result you are trying to achieve, that is the goal post of your plan. It’s the way you know you’re done, and that you can check it off your list of things to do. It is how you know that the time to celebrate has arrived. The question then becomes “what’s next?” right?
You measure the response you get against the desired result. You figure out what went right, what didn’t, and how to get closer next time. The result helps guide you to the end of your project. It helps pull you to the finish line with hints and clues.
With a clear goal in mind, the path begins to show itself to you. Without a desired result firmly in mind, how do you know if your actions were better or worse than last time? How would you know if you needed a better strategy or more valor?
Where can I apply this in my life?
For those with children, or who are still young enough to remember theirs, does it matter how they were convinced to eat their broccoli? Threats, coercion, bribes, cheese topping? Who cares, they’re eating it! Similarly, does it matter that you threatened to withhold privileges or to impose sanctions if their room wasn’t cleaned to your standards?
In each case, the results are what matter. And the method that was used to accomplish the cleaning of the room or the eating of the broccoli will change with time. Sometimes it will change each time you try. Will you use strategy or valor next time? Does it matter, so long as you obtain the result?
Again, I want to emphasize that this isn’t “the ends justify the means” kind of methods. Laws and ethical behavior rule at all times. But within these guard rails of behavior, it’s up to your experience and judgement on how to achieve your desired result.
Are you trying to get a date? Will you use strategy or valor? So long as you keep it ethical and legal, does it really matter? Do you have to get it in one and only one manner? Is that the only legitimate path to victory, to attaining the desired result? I would hope that there was more flexibility of action available to you, and that you would consider alternatives.
If you were trying for a promotion at work (again, within ethical and legal bounds), would it matter that you had a strategy that got it for you, or your valor that got it for you? To me, both paths are valid, and often both are used at the same time, to maximize the chance to obtain the desired result.
Whether it’s vanquishing an enemy on the field of battle, or beating someone else to the sale, strategy and valor are two possible paths to get the desired result. So long as you stay within ethical and legal bounds, does it really matter which path you take?
I would say not, and would also say that you will probably plan a path that is a mixture of both, and that your plan will not work exactly as you had hoped. Life tends to work out that way.
From: Twitter, @PhilosophyQuotz
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/v/virgil145505.html
Photo by lindaaslund
Happy Birthday to the late, great ancient poet, Virgil. Born 15 October, 70 BC.