I was flipping through the channels the other night and came across the movie Gattaca right at the scene where Vincent (Ethan Hawke) and his brother Anton are swimming.
I’ve always found this bit of dialog thought provoking (and thought it would be a good topic to write about and give Steve a break :) ) …
Anton: Vincent! How are you doing this Vincent? How have you done any of this? We have to go back.
Vincent: It’s too late for that. We’re closer to the other side.
Anton: What other side? You wanna drown us both?
Vincent: You wanna know how I did it? This is how I did it Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back.
That scene (at least for me) touches on the two extremes of approaching a problem (and life in general). On one hand you have the “live for the moment” philosophy, focusing on achieving the single goal to the exclusion of all else. On the other side, you have the “long term, plan for every contingency” that tries to fit everything into a master plan.
Tactics vs. Strategy
I guess we can also use the terms “Tactics” and “Strategy” when describing those two approaches. And like a battle plan, you need to use both to have any hope of lasting success.
If you only have tactics, you may achieve a single goal or two, but are they isolate victories or are they contributing to the overall campaign? And what happens if your tactics do the unthinkable and fall short? Do you have an alternate path to victory?
The other end of things is also true, you can have the most brilliant strategy but if you don’t have the tactics to obtain the goals along the way, your brilliant strategy doesn’t amount to much.
Finding What Works
So I guess it comes down to finding a balance between the two approaches. You need to have a view of the big picture while doing all you can to achieve the goals along the way.
What do you think?