You surely know the term Pyrrhic Victory. It means a victory achieved at a too-high cost, which is only an apparent victory because the losses exceed the gains. Historically, it concerns a victory achieved in very difficult conditions of a war fought on foreign territory.
The Greek king Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, lived in the 3rd century BC. This opponent of Rome and a ruler with powerful imperial aspirations was considered a military genius. He also had a very wise advisor - Kineas.
Let's see what we can learn from Kineasa - especially in the field of realizing our professional aspirations. It may turn out that in the modern world, the Pyrrhic Victory still repeats itself very often in our work. And it does not only apply to war waged on foreign territory.
A conversation between Pyrrhus and Kineas before the start of the war with Italy
The Greek king Pyrrhus, a ruler with powerful imperial aspirations, was considered a military genius. He also had a wise adviser, Kineas, who, seeing that Pyrrhus dreams of winning the war with Italy, had such a conversation with him.
"They say the Romans are brave warriors, Pyrrhus." Even if we defeat them, what will be the use of it?
- You're asking about a simple thing. The whole of Italy will then be in our hands, and the benefits will be enormous, replied the king.
- And what will we do after the conquest of Italy?
- There is an island not far from Italy, Sicily. I think it will be easy to get, 'replied Pyrrhus.
- It's very likely. And will the conquest of Sicily be the end of our trip? Kineas asked further.
- May we win! It will be an invitation for us to take part in the next great ventures. Who could refrain from taking Africa when it would be so simple?
-And when we do it, what are we going to do next? " Kineas continued.
- Later? We will enjoy resting! Day after day, we will play with wine, talk, and be happy, 'explained the king."
Then Kineas remarked:
- So what bothers us now, to play and rest? We have had enough of everything. Are we sure we want bloodshed in order to achieve what we already have while exposing ourselves to so many dangers? "
Plutarch, Lives of Famous Men
What can we learn from the history of Pyrrhus' battles?
Unfortunately, the king did not listen to his wise counselor. In 279 BCE, in the historic battle of Ausculum, Pyrrhus defeated the Romans, but suffered enormous losses and later entered history with this term.
Pyrrhus himself was to say these words to the congratulating commanders:
"One more victory like this and we are doomed"
The Battle of Ausculum in 279 did not bring a resolution to the entire war. Pyrrhus failed to destroy the Romans, and the shrinking army he commanded had less and less chance of final victory. Pyrrhus therefore abandoned the conquest of Rome and headed for Sicily, which seemed to be easy prey.
On this occasion, it is impossible not to mention the Battle of Heraclea, which took place a year earlier (280 BC). It was the first major battle in the war between Italy and Hellas. The two best infantry formations of that time clashed there. But what determined the victory was not the infantry.
They were elephants. In his martial genius, King Pyrrhus used war elephants in this battle.
At that time, these animals were not known to the Romans at all, they saw them for the first time in their lives. The elephants caused panic among their soldiers and terrified their horses. Thanks to this, Pyrrhus achieved the first significant victory in the war with Italy. Approximately 7,000 Romans died, with losses of Pyrrhus' army estimated at 4,000.
And although the troops of Epirus won, Pyrrhus did not destroy the Romans. And although he reached a place from which Rome itself was visible, he did not decide to continue the conquest. He ordered a retreat home and returned to Italy after the end of winter. But in this battle, Pyrrhus recorded many killed and a large number of wounded. And most importantly, he lost most of his best-trained troops. If he had drawn the appropriate conclusions, the even more costly victory at the Battle of Ausculum in 279 BC would not have been achieved - once again achieved in very difficult conditions of war fought on foreign territory.
What does the Pyrrhic Victory teach us about career aspirations?
We often confuse fulfilling aspirations with fulfilling dreams. This can be best seen in the example of a work situation when the so-called "leader" has ambitions greater than possibilities.
This is a very dangerous case because such a person very quickly reaches the level of his INCOMPETENCY and with hidden terror begins to focus on defending what he has already achieved externally (i.e. status, prestige, power, sense of influence).
So he will fight and at all costs fight people and situations which, in his VIEW, threaten her position and what he has already gained. The paradox is that such a person does not have healthy inner self-esteem and that is why all outward signs of "success" are so important to him.
How many battles do you fight? And for what reason? This question of being aware and clear of your "why" is very important.
What do you focus your attention on? We have already written many times that your energy follows your attention ...
Can you appreciate what you have and, more importantly, who you are?
Or are you in constant pursuit of "more"? If you are part of this quest for "more" then maybe you can at least tell when "more" for you will be "enough".
Do you realize how stretched you are: by work, TV commercials, by social media? Are you aware that you very often succumb to the voices that whisper: you must, must, must ... or you will lose, lose, lose ...
Do you realize that this stretching will finally break your clock spring and then you will really lose? You will lose what is truly precious: your health, your loved ones, and worst of all, you can lose yourself ...
See also other coaching parables and stories: