The Battle Field Terrain

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During the weekend as I was watching my favourite channel “Nat Geo”, I stumbled upon a hair rising clip that made me be constantly at the edge of my couch for about 30 minutes. This clip was showing an epic battle between a male lion and a crocodile at the “Tana” river. The crocodile was struggling to get the lion into the water, while the lion was struggling to get the crocodile on the land. Finally the king of the jungle won the battle after getting the crocodile on the land.

After the battle, I asked myself if the crocodile would have prevailed over the lion if the lion would have slipped into the river.  The answer unequivocally latched onto the affirmative. The determining factor of the winner of any battle is the terrain of the battle field. In 2008, the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) managed to crush the guerilla militia Sabaot Land Defense Forces (SLDF) after being averse with the terrain of the forest in which the militia was operating from.

KapedoIn 2014, 21 police officers were killed by bandits in Kapedo because the police were aliens to the terrain of the area. On the flip side, the bandits had an iron fist grasp of the terrain. They knew how to navigate the deep trenches of the place and how to survive in the harsh climate. If the police would have used sufficient intelligence to survey the area, am sure they would have out maneuvered the bandits.

In our life’s sojourn, we also encounter battles on a daily basis. These battles are always embodied by the frequent struggles and challenges we always face. Poverty, financial dependence, ignorance, addiction, obesity, targets and deadlines are some of the battles we can identify with. Most of the time, we lose in these battles because just as the police did, we get into the battle field without analyzing the terrain. By doing this, we inadvertently walk into the hands of the opponent.

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Most of us want to be financially independent yet we don’t have any investment plan. We want to be fit without enlisting any physical activity in our daily schedule, let alone registering for gym membership.  We want to pass exams without reading. We want to reduce weight without throwing our favourite junk food through the window. We want to be the best parents without spending more time with our children. We want to be promoted without adding value to our organizations. If these descriptions fit you, then you’re guaranteed of failure in your battles.

Those who study the battle field terrain are inherent planners. They are not victims of the environment but shape the environment. They do not use other people’s maps to navigate the terrain but draw their own maps for navigation. They are not actors in other people’s scripts but they produce their own scripts. After studying the battle field, they’ll know the action to take when the opponent throws the first salvo at them. In the long run, they end up emerging victorious in their battles. That’s exactly what KDF did in Mt. Elgon.

As Abraham Lincoln said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  When we spend more time planning and studying a task ahead of us, we’ll definitely spend less time executing it. But since most of us have a proclivity towards instant success, we rush into executing a task which will defeat us hands down.

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