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How David can Defeat Goliath [INFOGRAPHIC]

David can defeat Goliath, but it would require playing unconventionally and by different rules. Political scientist Ivan Arreguin-Toft has analyzed every war in the past 200 years—fought by both strong and weak opponents. Throughout history, the Goliaths were at least 10 times as powerful as their opponents, and they won around 71.5 percent of the time. By comparison, David—or the underdog, won just 28.5 percent of the time. How do the numbers change when smaller armies change the rules of war and fight unconventionally? Those armies went from winning 28.5 percent of the time to 63.6 percent of the time. Changing the rules changes the outcome.

In unbalanced fights we have the powerhouse and the underdog—and conventional logic says that the powerhouse has all the advantages, while the underdog has many weaknesses that the powerhouse can expose. In sports, athletes often do everything they can get away with to create advantages. Alex Rodriguez used testosterone, a naturally occurring hormone, and was blacklisted for life. His career and credibility were completely destroyed in the process. Seemingly superhuman cyclist Lance Armstrong re-injected his own blood and was stripped of seven Tour de France Titles.

And yet—one-third of current pro baseball pitchers have had Tommy John Surgery. The transplant can repair a damaged pitching arm or can potentially improve pitching skills. The popular surgery involves taking a ligament from another part of the body, or from a cadaver, and transplanting it into the pitching arm. Dr. Jobe pioneered this surgery on Tommy Jones and is now honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame. The surgery is perfectly legal and accepted.

The classic story of “underdog” vs. “powerhouse” is the story of David and Goliath. David was a small boy and Goliath was a giant estimated to be over nine feet tall. Goliath had superior armour and a sword and shield. He was a seasoned warrior. On the other end, David had no armour but did have a slingshot and five smooth stones. Skilled slingers were a vital part of an army’s makeup. Depending on the size of the stone, David’s stone could have hit Goliath with as much force as a 45 caliber handgun. Goliath was anticipating a conventional fight, but instead he was rushed by a quick man with a slingshot. By changing the rules, David actually created an advantage for himself.

To learn more about the art of battling giants, check out the infographic below!

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