Is victory always worth it? Are there situations where you should stop, even though you’re actually winning? To help answer these questions we can look to the meaning of the phrase: a ‘Pyrrhic victory’ that was named after the Ancient Greek king Pyrrhus of Epirus.
What is a Pyrrhic Victory?
A Pyyrhic victory is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the winner that even though you won, the victory can seem like a defeat.
It is something that costs the winner so much, that the victory doesn’t seem worth it. Yes you won, but…
- You had to spend all your money in the process, and now you have nothing left.
- You had to back-stab and lose all your friends to win and now you have no-one.
- You pushed yourself so hard in the fight, but now you’re injured and you can’t fight again.
The Origin of the Phrase
A Pyrrhic Victory dates back to 279 BC when the Greek king Pyrrhus of Epirus was at war with the Romans. He sailed his army over to southern Italy and fought in the Battle of Asculum.
The fighting was fierce and many were killed, but eventually Pyrrhus triumphed over the Romans. He won! He was successful.
However, it was a costly victory. In the battle he lost the majority of his troops and most of his commanders.
He had no reinforcements to call upon and the small, weak army that remained would not be able to continue the rest of the campaign against the Roman Empire. He had no choice but to leave Italy and retreat back to Greece.
Pyrrhus stated that “if we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined“, leading to the term a Pyrrhic Victory.
Live To Fight Another Day
Sometimes we must admit defeat and live to fight another day. It can be our own egos that push us forward to win at all costs and we must work to keep these egos in check.
Never weaken yourself so much that you cannot keep making progress, and know when to stop before you go too far.
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