An Insight a Day

The Faraway View

Imagine you're a soldier on a battlefield, and there's chaos everywhere. You constantly see gunfire, grenades, and troops ducking for cover. You're hiding behind a wall and afraid of moving to your next position. For all you know, you might get killed if you're unlucky. The whole place is a mess, and the uncertainty is killing you.

Imagine you're a commander, safely tucked away in HQ and miles from the battlefield. You see everything happening, your troops on the north are losing ground while the ones on the northwest are steadily advancing, so you change tactics and prepare a flank from the west side.

Imagine you're a prime minister, safe in the capital and nowhere near the battlefield. You see the big picture and the impact of the war, so you ask allying nations for help or find ways to alleviate the supply chain issues. You could also negotiate and try to stop the war peacefully, maybe with a strategic trade of some territories and a peace treaty.

Now imagine you're a historian, you've read about countless wars, and this is just another war to you. One side wins, the other side loses, life goes on. Perhaps you can imagine a different world where the loser won, and history is forever changed. Maybe it's worse, and you're glad it didn't happen. Or perhaps you lament over the missed opportunities.

Now imagine you're an intergalactic alien studying lifeforms in general. You see conflict as the bread and butter of life. Every species fight for its survival. There's the classic predator-prey relationship, usually among different species. And then, there's the my-tribe-vs-your-tribe relationship among the same or similar species. Ultimately, it's the same story everywhere you go. Some live while others die.

Here's the analogy. Is your life messy like a soldier on the battlefield? If so, take a step back and look at things through the eyes of a commander, and make tactical plans for yourself. Sometimes, you can step back further and think like a prime minister. What strategic plans can you make to achieve the outcome you want?

Occasionally, be a historian, look back at all the things that have happened, and study them. And realize, like the alien, that everything is but a part of life, and the story is almost always the same in the grand scheme of things.