Divide and Conquer

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When you consider military strategies, there is a tactic known as to “divide and conquer”. This entails grabbing a set of your opponents powerful troops and catching them off guard. It usually means that they’re in a concentrated and powerful defensive stance. This tactic spreads them thin, causes them distraction, and opens the door for a deconcentration of forces. If an army in a war situation is positioned how they would like to be chances are they are confident in their stance. You can expect that as far as they are concerned they have as close to an optimal arrangement as possible. If you are able to use guerrilla warfare tactics that involve such maneuvers as hit-and-runs, ambushes, and raids in order to divide and conquer the above scenario it should benefit your establishment. It will cause them to diversify their defenses and position forces differently in order to attempt to defend your potent offensive choices.

If the same resources and men were invested into a face-to-face confrontation, only brute force would overcome a powerful positioning. In all likelihood you’d see massive amounts of casualties on both sides if such an attack were done. However, if we see properly executed guerrilla warfare tactics, we’ll see that the investments are smaller and the potential to catch the enemy off guard are greater. Of course in the real world I am sure these scenarios are more intricate than I describe here. When real world armies of the modern era clash, it’s not a laughing matter because many of these tactics are an understood part of modern warfare. These dangerous elements of strategic execution in real world circumstances could intimidate even the greatest armies. The tools and adjustments they have to incorporate may be costly, inconvenient, or simply unobtainable.

Wielding a high quantity of guerrilla warfare options at your disposal would lead even the most competent, intelligent foes guessing where you will strike next. They will be stuck trying to figure out what your next move is instead of investing time in concerting their own war efforts. This is one of the reasons why it is often said that sometimes your best defense is offense. For all practical purposes this introduction to the terminology may seem somewhat meaningless right now. That’s all right; just try to keep this general idea in your mind as you approach the rest of the article. Try to visualize each situation and how the idea of divide and conquer might impact the issue at hand.

Moving along, I wanted to take this knowledge and try to apply it to real world circumstances that could cause us trouble daily and do not involve war. One of the biggest problems I think we struggle with as a nation is that we tend to get distracted very easily while we work on productive pursuits. As I write this as a matter of a fact I am guilty as charged. My Facebook is open and a friend is catching up with me. Of course if I were properly applying my own advice, the window would be closed and my full attention would be dedicated to this article. I would venture to say that is usually the case, but the irony of it is when I recommend against it the situation came up for me. Unfortunately, as a result of this simple distraction, I am not at the speed of productivity I would normally be. It’s possible the quality of the work has suffered to some level because of this decision. It may cost me even more time later if this is the reason why I need to edit the material. If I were properly applying my strategy to divide and conquer, I would focus on one task at a time.

I wouldn’t necessarily try to get the most difficult or intensive task done first. Let’s say you make a to-do list, and for the sake of example you’ve got 3 easy things, 3 hard things, and 2 medium difficulty items. It’s probably best to start with a couple of the easy items to build up momentum and get the sensation that you’ve accomplished something. You can immediately check those off and it gives you the mental impression that there has been some level of moderate progress made. Then you can proceed to do a hard item because you’ve realized that there have already been some items knocked off and it’s better to generally do more difficult items first. The psychological benefit of knowing that you’ve been productive may increase your fervor in getting the other harder and medium difficulty items taken care of as well. These tend to correlate with the highest degree of obligation or importance anyway, and will typically require the most amount of concentration and effort to get done.

The rest of the order is likely irrelevant and preference based, but I would try to get rid of all the most difficult and mandatory stuff first. I think going from a hard to a medium difficulty item and back to a hard item may be a good approach for a lot of people as well. If a task that is hard is mentally arduous, you may want to do a medium difficulty task that is more physically burdensome. That way your mind rests while your body exerts itself and you’re not constantly exerting only one area. If your mind is active your body is resting, and if your body is at rest your mind is being utilized. If the task involves both at a high level, you’ll likely need to take that into consideration. You’re using both back and forth in order to maximize their potency, as well as attain some level of rest. Manual labor of any kind, even something as simple as washing the car or some dishes, will allow your mind some ease before it goes back to being utilized in critical analysis or other areas of interest.

When we think of the idea to divide and conquer on an individual level, we can also think of it in terms of days, weeks, or several months and beyond. The important thing is to consistently keep reachable but moderately challenging goals in the interim before the full goal is accomplished for long-term projects. For short-term projects, such as something that can be completed in a day or less, you don’t necessarily have to get fancy with goal setting. In my experience it’s best to just get moving and do those as they roll in while you avoid procrastination as much as possible. For long-term projects that may require several weeks or months of persistent work or attention it’s important to set those shorter term goals and milestones. Without them you may still be able to do it if you’re disciplined and passionate enough about it, but the goals help remind you that you’re making fantastic progress. Without that reminder it could be discouraging once in a while to face such daunting work with no clear end in sight.

That’s why on my first personal full-length book project I like to discuss when I make significant entries into the book. I will mention how many words I put into it and discuss some of the qualities of what I wrote to recap what I did. I strongly believe this helps me to stay motivated and envision that each session I write into it takes me one step closer to the goal. Without that vision it could get discouraging since there doesn’t appear to be a quick end to be attained. We have to put our instant gratification aside in situations like this and remember that most of the worthwhile stuff we do in life will take a significant chunk of time. We carve out a legacy one day at a time, and while day to day not much seems to change after the time passes everything definitely sees changes. The key is to plan for them in advance. Know what you’re building towards, continuously making those milestones to remain encouraged, and enthusiastically focusing on projects that you have a passion towards and/or significant vested interests. If you’re not heavily invested with your heart or your pocket book, you will not treat it with the same respect as someone else who is. That means you’ll have to rely on goal setting and respect for your employer or investor in order to fuel your efficiency.

In this age we have a lot of technological blessings that can also be abused and become distractions if we’re not able to focus on one task at a time. In many senses multitasking is overrated, so while this can be viewed as “divide and conquer”, I think it’s more like divide and conquering your own mind. You’re spreading yourself too thin, and you’re not giving each task at hand the attention it deserves. You think if you can work on a writing project, watch a YouTube video, chat with a Facebook friend, answer texts, and e-mail your friends you’re being efficient. Maybe doing it all together causes you some sort of strange personal ego boost, but one area or another is suffering as a result of this diversified attention. The problem is that every area is being done, but every area is suffering a certain percentage of compromise of your abilities.

If you focus on one task at a time, you may find yourself doing everything at a better level of attention, accuracy, and overall efficacy. You’ll also find that what you thought was getting done quicker by multitasking is really done faster one step at a time anyway. No compromise is necessary if you instead make a habit of focusing one area at a time. You can see the fruits this yields on a practical level as soon as it’s implemented. This also opens the door to taking small breaks in between the performance of each task at hand. Counter intuitively as it may be, this also provide us with greater long-term productivity and satisfaction in the workplace. We’re not robots we’re human beings. We need to be considerate of our own limitations and entertain no guilt when we incorporate adequate rest, breaks, and nourishment in this process.

In order to do our best work we’re going to need some frequency of breaks, particularly if it’s mentally laborious work. I think we have a higher tolerance for continually physical labor, assuming the condition of the employee is up to the task and has already grown conditioned to it. Even in these cases nobody wants to work their body to the edge, everyone needs adequate rest. What that rest is, is a matter of personal preference and mutual consideration. One would have to also consider the flexibility of an employer to accommodate your needs for instance. Of course one person may need only a few minutes rest every couple hours before charging back into action. Still another may need more substantial rest in the same scenario. It’s all very subjective and should be approached on a person-by-person or case-by-case basis. Don’t let the strain of attempting to garner a competitive advantage against your peers cause you to exhaust yourself. You don’t need to prove your worth to those that recognize the special skills you bring to the table on a regular basis. They should trust on some level that you’re doing your best work regularly after they are familiarized with your person. If they cannot empathize with this, you may need to reconsider your place of employment in order to protect your health and obtain the respect you deserve.

Jobs may be scarce, but no job is worth sacrificing your well being over. Take into consideration what options you have to leverage competitive offers in the market place. In this scenario you may end up remaining at your current employer, but you may receive preferential treatment of some kind. If they’ve given you on-sight incentives or provided you more compensation for your troubles, it is clear that you’ve already won. This is the advantage of bringing knowledge of other opportunities to the forefront of employer discussions. You may not make many friends this way, but sometimes it’s a matter of looking out for yourself. When they aren’t properly looking out for you, you may need to take these matters into your own hands.

Another idea in executing a favorable divide and conquer approach to your life is to make sure that you are living out a balanced lifestyle. God and His Son Jesus Christ should always be sought first along with the callings to His kingdom’s work. When we do this everything else in our lives line up into His will. (V*1). This allows us to achieve balance without even necessarily having made it a high priority to seek it. When we have made an idol out of a sinful, or a non-sinful activity that we’ve molded into some sort of obsession, we’ve fallen off God’s intended track and need to get back on track as soon as possible by His grace for His glory. We need to rely on God’s provisions every day, because we’re humans and we’re fallible. It’s understood that without Jesus Christ we cannot do anything of eternal value, but with Him and through Him we are more than conquerors. (V*2). I have made things like PC gaming, Poker, and an explicit sin like viewing pornography idolatrous. If I could retrieve the time incorporated into the first two I would utilize more of it for rest and for directly contributing to more meaningful pursuits. Those two hobbies may of course have a place when treated with moderation and respect; they’re not intrinsically sinful as far as I can tell. Some consider Poker gambling, and it could certainly be used as a vehicle to gamble, but I do see it as a beatable, skill game when approached with the right strategic perspective. The scope of this article does not cover whether Poker is a sin or not, if you’d like to view an analysis on that I would highly suggest that you read Jim’s article on this topic [http://www.fatherspiritson.com/articles/jim-ispokersin.html]. Pornography on the other hand is intrinsically sinful and we’re putting ourselves in a place of submitting to the creation rather than the Creator when we view it. It can cause us many detrimental side effects including a loss of intimacy when we do get married, difficulty enjoying real sex, a disrespect for the sanctity of how God designed sex to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage, and a disregard for how God plans for us to view only our future spouses in such a sexual way. The intimacy, mutual love, respect, and glue that hold marriage together are replaced with selfish pleasure seeking that leads to dead end roads and emptiness. A void that only God can fill that would only grow larger and larger as we feed this terrible addiction.

Of course as you can see this is terrible on multiple levels, but that’s not even the full extent of the problems you invite when you succumb to this evil in your life. The Bible is clear that this sin is committed against your own body. (V*3). Additionally you’re sinning against your future spouse and of course God. Sinning against God alone should be more than enough to encourage us to avoid this struggle, but it’s still a stumbling block for many men. I have lost count of how many times I have stumbled and potentially grieved the Holy Spirit. It’s discouraging to dwell on, but my encouragement is that Jesus Christ paid the price for all my sins past, present and future. I am also quick to ask for forgiveness and try to be quick to forgive myself when I stumble because where I am today is not where I was yesterday. I believe He is completing a work in me and I will be delivered. The key is not to lose hope and to trust that God will provide the ways of escape and the help one needs to conquer the problem. Whether your weakness is this one or another, we all have different challenges that we face from time to time. We need to be ready on the day of temptation, and stand firm on the Word of God in the face of these sorts of adverse scenarios in our lives.

When you’re studying for a test or preparing for one specific engagement to come in the near future, it’s often best to approach the material with this mindset of divide and conquer as well. I think taking a general approach may be good to gauge your initial prowess, but after that you should see your biggest problem areas and focus on those first and foremost. Then once that’s been adequately dealt with you can start to rotate in the aspects of the exam that you may be more confident in but don’t have all together as of yet. For example, if I were preparing for the LSAT I would have to deal with several subsections of that test and prepare for them accordingly. There would be 5 sections and they test you on different areas that would give schools a good idea of your aptitude for excelling in the law school environment. These sections are: logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, essay section, and if I recall correctly logic games. Some of these may or may not have changed since I last took a look at the materials and considered this as an option for my future.

If I were to personally approach the materials I would likely be more confident in analytical reasoning and essay sections, moderately confident in analytical reasoning and logical reasoning, and least confident in the logic games sections. With that said I would begin by studying logic games almost exclusively because it’s my perceived biggest problem area, then continue to do logic problems while I rotated in the other two areas of moderate concern. When it is getting closer to crunch time and the test was drawing nearer, then I would include the entirety of the test. This would include the areas of greatest confidence in my study rotation. If properly planned this should allow for my weakest area to become one of my stronger areas. If I don’t allow for complacency and neglect areas that I truly needed more work in, it should lead me to do well on the test. This would be a similar approach I would consider for GMATs, MCATs, and other post-graduate school exams. While I am sure the books themselves would give you more detailed approaches that have proven to be successful, from a common sense standpoint I think this would be a good initial stance to take.

In my social life I have also noticed that having a divide and conquer approach has usually proven to be beneficial. When you approach a group of women, it can be quite intimidating and cause a lot of unnecessary unease and perceived scrutiny if you’re by yourself. If you’re approaching 3 girls with 2 other friends of yours then you’d probably feel much more comfortable as there is an easier balance there. Anyways, of course you wouldn’t really want to date more than one girl at a time in all likelihood, given your Christian worldview. I think the benefit of engaging 2 or 3 at a time by yourself, if you’re up to the challenge, is that you can simultaneously talk to them together and if one or two aren’t interested in you there is a good possibility that at least one is appealing. She may be at least moderately interested, and open to engage with you. I am no pick-up artist, but I have read that it is often favorable in building attraction with that one to focus on the others and somewhat ignore the one you truly like. Of course remember that if you do this outside of a Church you’re not looking at fantastic odds of seeing eye to eye on the most important issue. Keep in mind that we’re called not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, so if this could be a stumbling block for you I would suggest making moves and/or waiting in Christian oriented activities (Church, concerts, youth groups, etc…)

I honestly don’t bother with overly focusing on those kinds of manipulative approaches, but I do keep them in mind once in a while because they could even be used on you and it’s important to discern when they may be. They’re typically only geared towards the illusory achievement of getting sex and moving along, so as a Christian utilizing them can send out the wrong signals and if they’re used against you chances are you won’t get along on the most important matters of life. I am more likely to be upfront and transparent about who I am, what I stand for, and what I am looking for. It could cause me more scenarios of rejection as a byproduct of there being less Christian women who aspire to the same standards or desires in life that I do. This doesn’t make me better or worse than them, but it makes my priorities in life different. I know the truth and I know what God did for us through His Son Jesus Christ so I cannot afford to do any dating evangelism or play with this kind of fire. This makes my intentions clear because I have nothing to hide, and being genuine will require more patience but bear you better fruit in the long run. When the right man or woman comes along you’ll be thankful you didn’t settle for second best, but waited it out for God’s best. Another downside is that you cultivate less mystery and spontaneity sometimes, it’s a price that you pay for being more forward and well intentioned. I view these both as ultimately very small prices to pay to avoid the drama and pain that comes with secular dating and relationships. We can make friends with unbelievers, and as long as it’s not a burden on our walk and we’re well grounded in the faith, we stand a chance to draw them closer to God. Just don’t make these the primary people you hangout with. Quite simply you stand for different worldviews and you can really use encouragement from like-minded believers on a regular basis not a constant challenge to what you believe in. There will come moments where they will either unintentionally tempt you to compromise or your views will test the limits of their friendship with you. You aren’t God. If you make this a habit your values may be eroded upon if you aren’t careful about those you keep close. What you surround yourself with in terms of friends and also in media (songs, music, movies) have a significant impact on your walk. You need to follow the Holy Spirit and continue to feed yourself good food. Read scripture, listen to good speakers, good Christian music, and spend time with God alone. There’s no replacement for those things that build you up and help you rather than impede your walk. You need to love yourself before you’re ready to love others that may be more attached to the patterns of the world.

If you just took the time to know what you were getting into, you’d know that it was a bad fit from the start and you wouldn’t have gone out with them just to experience all that. Save me the negative experiences, and let me stay single before I go out with, try to court, or find myself in a relationship with the wrong woman. I will keep the peace and solace of being alone with God, over being with the wrong person always.

God will give you the discretion, prudence, and discernment necessary to make strategically sound choices in this area if you ask Him. Ask Him to close the doors that He wants to close and open the ones He wants to open. Don’t try to re-open closed doors, it’s a waste of time and disrespect for the authority God should hold over your life. Let’s aim not to disappoint Him in this area and ask Him for the discernment to remember what doors He has closed for us. Chances are you may still come across people that you’ll date and end up not being a perfect fit for, but that’s okay. At least your mindset will be in the right place. You’ll know that such experiences will only improve your appreciation for when you find the right woman that you get along with. Stay optimistic that if it is in God’s will to provide you with a spouse that He will in His time. Try not to get anxious about dating or meeting people. Just continue to cast your lines socially and let things happen, as God wants them to. You’ll know that when God gives you the green light with a spouse that it’ll be time to make bigger moves, until that day comes be open minded to what God wants to bring to your attention.

I may be drawn to aesthetically pleasing girls and that initial allure is okay. The desire for her to be attractive is okay. The problem is when that in itself becomes an idol as well, or when I am not dating quality, modest, beautiful girls because of an obsession with physique. Don’t let such an obsession cloud your judgment. I am confident that this could be a negative ramification of pornography to watch out for as well. Superficialities aren’t what will determine whether a marriage will endure the test of time. (V*4). What will determine it is whether you make God your mutual focus, form a cord of three strands, and decide amongst the two of you that there is no option for divorce. Know you’re both in it for the long haul and you will honor God by defying the sad statistics of the world and the Church itself for that matter. If you’re not ready to put God first and defy the odds, don’t get married. You’re not ready yet, God will tell you when you are.

You don’t have to force things when they’re meant to happen. If you feel as though you’re pulling teeth with someone for them to be with you, practically begging them to spend time with you, you’re not looking for the right person or situation. Singleness should be viewed as an advantage, as a position of strength and the less baggage you carry from past relationships the better off you are. Just exercise the caution and prayerful consideration that these matters deserve. When women see that you’re different, that you comport yourself with dignity and treat her with respect, that you admire her modesty and don’t base your praise on the least amount of clothes she’s wearing, and represent something that goes against the current rather than swims along with every other fish out there she’ll be intrigued. The right woman will one day take notice and the rest of your life will begin.

Don’t defer your happiness until any single event, not even marriage or meeting the girl of your dreams. You have to enjoy the entirety of life’s journey. Every single day is a blessing to all of us. Don’t take any day for granted, but instead redeem the time at hand. We should be fully satisfied in Jesus Christ and God’s plan for us. If that happens to include a woman of God in the future then so be it, if not we need to embrace that it’s possible God wants us to stay alone. Remember that this life is meant to glorify God, not to bring us maximum happiness or comfort. If He wants to make me happiest, it may not even necessarily include having a wife. Only He knows my innermost being on the level needed to know whether or not I need a wife or I just want one for the sake of having one. I think I know what I want, but compared to God I know nothing about anything. (V*5).

When Jesus Christ paid the full price for my sins through His death on the cross, and God resurrected Him 3 days later, it’s a very small sacrifice on my part comparatively speaking to avoid marriage if that brings Him more glory. I only want to get married if we build each other up to the point where she is better off by marrying me, I am better off by marrying her, and we’re both better equipping and encouraging one another to glorify God together. If either of us doesn’t feel satisfied as a single person, we will not be more satisfied with the larger responsibility and the intrinsic challenges that come up in a marriage environment. We need to be ready to become 3rd place, and even 4th place if we’re going to walk down the aisle with somebody. God is always 1st place in our lives, then we mutually consider each other 2nd place, and we’re 3rd place. Until children arrives, then we re-evaluate things and realize we’re each really 4th place. If you’re not ready to be 4th place then you might as well not get married, because you’re doing yourself and your partner a huge disservice to do so. Have the maturity to say you’re not ready or reveal that you need more time before you jump that chasm. Life will be a blessing, and it will be a special journey.

I am an individual whose parents got divorced when I was 7, and I try to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others so I can aim to avoid the same pain. There’s a deep desire in me to do it right, but not to the point where I don’t have to make a leap of faith because there’s no perfectly adequate preparation. The reason being is of course that God is and should always be what makes us perfectly adequate. There will always be an element of uncertainty and with marriage there’s no satisfaction or your money back guarantee. You need to be prepared for seasons of challenges, for placing yourself in God’s hands when nobody else seems to have answers, and when everywhere you turn seems to be a new storm you’ve still got to confidently say: “God has a plan, and we’re going to go through it together. Divorce isn’t an option for us, because that’s just the easy way out. We can solve any problem together, we aren’t the problem the problem is what we solve outside of us.”

I suppose what I am ultimately getting at is this idea of divide and conquer extends to individuals, relationships, or even marriages. You can get creative how you apply it and only apply it in areas you feel that it would bear significant fruit or help you. I think that it helps you stay at a proper pace in life that doesn’t allow you to get overwhelmed. Remember though that even when you get overwhelmed, God is there for you and is perfectly capable of restoring you back to the equilibrium of living a managed life. (V*6). As righteous people we can count on God to restore us when we fall. The key is to avoid all extremes and look to see what He would have us do. No matter how unlikely or difficult what He places in my heart seems I want to obey Him. It should be something I look at and move with faith. I want to say to that mountain, move from here to there in the name of Jesus Christ. (V*7). My God is bigger than you, and what He wants to pass will always come to pass. Make no mistake about that.

Biblical References:

V*1: “33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NKJV).

V*2: “37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NKJV).

V*3: “18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV).

V*4: “30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NKJV).

V*5: “25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NKJV).

V*6: “16 For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.” Proverbs 24:16-18 (NKJV).

V*7: “20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (NKJV).

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