I’ve found that a big part of life is fighting battles – not the kind that involve typical warfare like guns and swords, but the internal battle to improve myself or better those around me. In your life, you are the general of yourself and you lead yourself into battle each day you wake up. Victory and defeat will play a major role in the way your life turns out.
In a battle like the American Civil War, there were many separate battles each of varying amounts of troops from the north and south. These battles were fought in a variety of locations – some more strategic than others. A skirmish as I’ll define it here is any encounter that happens during the course of a single battle (like the Battle of Gettysburg), that constitutes conflict during the war. These skirmishes by themselves are much more meaningful when fought in key strategic locations.
For instance, a battle fought in the middle of a swamp might alone not be very meaningful except to deplete the enemy army. A battle in a swap that is the only reliable means of transport between a key location rich in minerals and supplies has an entirely different importance.
I think that in our life we are fighting little skirmishes all the time. I look at life as the overall war with a decent goal to get as much out of life as you can by improving yourself, enjoying your time with other people and animals, and making a difference. To me, that’s my life war I fight, to do those things.
As part of that war, there may be individual battles, like staying in good physical condition, overcoming certain fears, becoming more accepting of myself, learning skills to improve my value to the marketplace, making new friends, etc…
If I take one of these like staying in good physical condition, I need only look at myself in the mirror to see if I am winning or losing. And what this means may vary person to person. But if I’m not happy with my weight, for instance, then each day there are going to be small skirmishes – little battles – that determine how I will do in the battle. Will I order pizza, or eat light. Will I stop by McDonalds and get ice cream, or will I stick to a healthier mix. These individual decisions add up and will determine if I am victorious or not.
It’s the skirmishes – the outcome of the small things that matter. Some might call this forming good habits. And they’d be right. The best way to have a victorious skirmish is to fight a very small and winnable battle. For instance, it’s very achievable for me to put on my running shoes and run to the end of the driveway and back. It’s simple and easy. But for someone else, that might be overwhelming. For them, maybe getting out of bed and walking across the hall is the victory they need to achieve. Regardless, winning that skirmish creates momentum to win an even bigger skirmish.
Because if I can walk down the hall over and over, then chances are, I can walk around my house, and then, maybe, I can walk outside to the end of the driveway, and then to the end of the street. And these victories begin to pile up. And you – look at yourself as a general with an army – you become stronger – your army becomes stronger and much more capable. And soon you might be running to the end of the street where once getting out of bed was difficult.
Life is about winning the small skirmishes consistently. As you do this, you’ll become a better general in your life and your army will become stronger. This will let you do more than you were able to do in the past. it’s the little victories that build this up. But you’ve got to be willing to fight your first skirmish ;)