Picture it: The Champ. This courageous contender has just achieved the pinnacle station. Maybe it is boxing. Maybe it is business. Maybe it is war.
He is The Champ! But The Champ has a true challenge ahead. He may have temporarily vanquished the opposition. But it is temporary. His adversaries are not annihilated, they are merely dormant. One year. Ten years. Ten decades. His dominance will be contended.
Why is this a challenge for The Champ? He has clearly achieved his goals – even in the face of determined adversaries. He now has more resources. More funding. More time. More people. He is no longer on the brink of losing everything. He can breathe.
He can finally attend to the things he has been neglecting. Family. Friends. He can repay his debts. He can loan resources – time, money, favors to those he chooses. He can shore up his gains, doubling down on the things that made him successful. He can engage in activities to suppress clear and present threats, blinding them, influencing them, restricting their movement.
And as he does these things he becomes ever more The Champ. Not merely the proven champion, but one that has made assurances that he will remain The Champ. And more doors open. The Champ has more resources. He has more influence. More funding. More time. More people. It is easier for him to get things done. He has built a cadre of loyalists that work to keep him on top.
He can finally attend to the things he never knew he wanted. Comfort. Luxury. Pet projects. If he wants to make a statement, he might burn money just because he can. The stakes are lower. He is not in danger. He can now make decisions casually – decisions that threatened to break him before he was The Champ. He doesn’t have to rush. Or live in fear. Or stick his neck out. He knows how to stay on top; it comes easily to him. Courage was once required, but now it only gets in the way of his well-oiled machine.
He can finally afford to be charitable. He can afford efforts with no clear return on investment. He can afford to provide for those among his tribe. He can make bold promises – and keep them. He can afford to not THINK so hard all of the time. He can run on autopilot. He knows how to stay on top; it comes easy to him.
His goals don’t change. He is still The Champ and he still knows how to stay on top. And he is still ready to keep any challenger at bay. Plenty of time. Plenty of money. Plenty of decision space. Plenty of room to spare. Plenty. And how can he say “no” when there is plenty? “You are The Champ! You have so much!” There is no need to say “no.” So he doesn’t. And he is happy. And those with him are happy. Initiatives unrelated to his goals take root and grow. The new growths gain primacy, influence, and become unkillable. There is no reason to kill something when there is plenty. The barrel is large and the barrel is full.
He is The Champ! He is the best at what he does. And he knows what he wants, just ask him. “I want to be The Champ! I want to be the best!” He doesn’t make his goals complicated; there is no need. “I want to be The Champ! I want to be the best!” He knows how to stay on top. He has focus: everything is in focus; his focus is on everything.
And although he believes he knows what he wants, he does does not. And because his focus is on everything, his focus is on nothing. And although he has many resources, those resources have been promised to roots which took hold long ago. And the roots are thick; they are blinding; they suppress the seeds of innovation – seeds that will not receive a share because the roots are thick. He cannot uproot without killing; and there is no need to kill the roots, because it appears there is plenty. He doesn’t have to be courageous, so he doesn’t.
And it is now when his time as The Champ will end.
Sensing the peril before him, he awakens. But his eyes are blurry. His arms are heavy. His enterprise is vast and powerful and yet the roots do not budge. He knows what must happen. He realizes that his goals were misaligned with a new world, one that he has misread, misunderstood, and mismanaged. But he achieves focus. He sets the target truly. He is The Champ and he is capable of much, and there is plenty.
But his resources do not respond. His troops do not move. His vast network does not budge. “There is no need to kill the roots when there is plenty.” And so the roots are not killed, nor transplanted, nor redirected. “There is no need when there is plenty.”
And as his enterprise collapses around him, he is fully aware in the moment of his demise. Powerless to affect, but unable to look away as the tide turns and the erosion accelerates.
And he recognizes in his challengers a tireless focus; one that he can no longer muster. He recognizes an efficiency of action; one he cannot duplicate. He recognizes the growth of new seeds; seeds that he can’t seem to cultivate. He recognizes a clarity of perception; one that he has only just regained.
And so the underdog prevails, and becomes The Champ. Picture it: The Champ. This courageous contender has just achieved the pinnacle station. Maybe it is boxing. Maybe it is business. Maybe it is war.
Jacob Foster Davis is the founder of CyberDominance.com. He is a systems integrator and jack-of-all-trades. He specializes in leading teams of rivals to solve “impossible” challenges. He’s a former Adjunct Professor of Cyber Security at the U.S. Naval Academy and has a background in complex adaptive systems, space operations, performance arts, military operations, and iOS development.