How To Win In A Super-Competitive World: Theory Of Asymmetric Conflict

Hey friend!
Steve Courage here and I want to ask you a simple question.
Close your eyes and imagine a war between the United State of America and Italy, which country do you think will win?
Yeah, I know that is a silly question.
I mean, the US military is the most financed and most powerful in the world.
It got a $778 billion (voice with emphasis) budget in the year 2020 while the Italian military only got about 3.7% of that, $28.9 billion.
Now, I want to ask you again, if the United State of America should go to war with Italy, which country do you think will win?
After studying all the wars that have happened in the last 200 years, Ivan Arreguın-Toft, a former military intelligence analyst found that 63.6% of the time, a weak country would defeat a superpower, if only the weak country uses unconventional war tactics.
In other words, if the United State of America goes to war with Italy and Italy result to unconventional war tactics, according to Ivan Arreguın-Toft’s study, there’s a 63.6% chance that Italy will defeat the US.

This article obviously isn’t about warfare and I don’t like to see comments about how I hate the Italians to have asked them to fight the US.
This article is about your life, your career, and your success.
You see, when you’re getting started in life, except you’re a child of Bill Gates or Rockefeller, you’ll start from the bottom, as a weak, almost invisible person.
When you’re starting out in a career, you’re like Italy in my above analogy.
It doesn’t matter what career path you choose, if you play according to the conventional rules, you’ll lose.
The reason why you’ll lose is that everything in life is unbelievably competitive.
Let’s say you want to become a successful musician.
Well, according to Spotify there are 8 million (emphasis) artists who upload their music to the Spotify platform.
These 8 million artists upload about 22 million tracks (emphasis) each year
But guess what?
Spotify paid out over $5 billion in 2020 according to this Forbes article , but this publication by iGroove found that 90% of that royalty went to just 0.7% of the artists , the remaining 99.3% of the artists on Spotify are just there to mark attendance.
They make almost no money and that’s what will happen to you if you play according to the conventional rules.
To get to the top 1% in any industry, you have to be unconventional.
You have to alter the rules and do something strange.
Let’s say you want to be a writer.
Well, according to UNESCO ( ), 2.2 M books are being published each year.
More than 10 million people around the world also want to be writers so how do you make a living as a writer?
Let’s say you want to be a blogger or a YouTuber, well, according to this article there are more than 600 million (emphasis) blogs in the world and 99% of those blogs don’t even make any money.
There are 37 million YouTube channels in the world and 90% of those channels are not even qualified for the YouTube partnership program, meaning that they have never made a single dollar.
There are 38,307 supermarkets in the U.S alone
And an average supermarket has 28,112 items…   which means if you create a product today and take it to a supermarket, nobody will see it, except that product is unconventional, different, and unique and that’s the point of this article.
Remember where I started this article from.

I asked you to imagine a war between the United States and Italy and tell me who will win.
The answer seems obvious.
I mean, everyone in the world will bet that the US will crush Italy if there were to be a war between them.
But according to Ivan Arreguın-Toft who studied all the wars in the last 200 years, if Italy will avoid conventional war tactics and embrace strange, unbelievable, or unexpected tactics, then Italy is likely to win.
Again, you’re like Italy in the above analogy.

You have no chance of success in any industry because every industry is highly competitive and human minds can only pay attention to a few things at a time.
Psychologists call this The Peak-End Rule
Peak-End Rule states that the human mind doesn’t have the capacity to remember everything.
We only remember a few things that are strange, different, or cause us pains.
That’s why if you travel to a new country and come back after a month, you’ll only have in your memory about 3-7 things you see, even though you probably have seen a thousand things in that country.
Those few things you remember are those things that are strange, unique, or crazy.

Pietro Aretino understood the Peak-End Rule when in the year 1516 he wrote “The Last Will and Testament of the Elephant Hanno”
Pietro Aretino was an Italian writer who lived between 1492 and 1556.
It was the era of the monarchies.
The kings and the Pope were the gods of the world and you dare not confront them.
But that was what Aretino decided to do even though he was born by a poor cobbler in a small town called Arezzo
As a writer, Aretino made it his focus to write against the most powerful people in Europe, people who got everybody else silent.
He wrote against Bishop Giberti.
He wrote A Comedy about Court Life, a biting satire of the debauched sexual lives of those in the papal court.
He published more than 3,000 letters about the rich and famous people
And in the year 1516 when the Elephant of Pope Leo X died, Pietro Aretino took his pen and wrote: “The Last Will and Testament of the Elephant Hanno” which was a satirical pamphlet to mock the Pope.
Because Pope was regarded as a god whom nobody dare talk against, Pietro Aretino’s writing against him caught people’s attention.
His hundreds of writing against the rich and powerful made them want to kill him.
But even though the rich and powerful Europeans wanted to kill him, and later put his works on the Index of Prohibited Books, millions of people can’t wait to read Pietro Aretino’s writing, so he became very, very rich.
Pietro Aretino didn’t become a successful writer because he wrote well.
He became successful because he wrote something different, something strange, something unexpected and that’s a big lesson for you if you want to succeed in any field.

I’m not advocating that you do something as dangerous as what Aretino did because he escaped assassination attempts about three times.
But you have to stand out from the thousands of people you’re competing with and the only way to do that is to be different
In his year 2002 book, Purple Cow, Seth Godin writes;
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” (write it out)
Except you stand out, nobody is going to see you.
Except you or your product caught people’s attention, nobody is going to pay you.
Unfortunately, human attention is a scarce resource.
We can only give you that eyeball if you or your product is different from that of everyone else.
That’s what Rosser Reeves discovered in the year 1940.
 In the year 1940 the American marketing genius, Rosser Reeves noticed that it is becoming more and more difficult to market a product due to ever-increasing competition in the marketplace.
To solve this problem, Rosser Reeves, for the first time in the history of marketing, came up with the concept of Unique Selling Promise and publicize it widely in his 1961 book, Reality in Advertising
That was more than 60 years ago when the world’s population was only 3 Billion, fewer technologies and no internet.
With more technologies, globalization, and the internet, now your competitors are from everywhere in the world and you’re hopeless except you can be the red apple in this image

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you’re going to be invisible and broke, except you can stand out.

You’re a David and you have to fight with the Goliath.
You’re Italy and you have to fight with the United States.
You have almost no chance, except you ignore the status quo, the conventional ways of doing things, and the norms.
On page 44 of his 1998 book, 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene writes;
“Never let yourself get lost in the crowd. Stand out. Be conspicuous”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *