I was visiting my friend Darren who was living in another city. While Darren and I (13 years old) were walking around the block we met a bully who was older and bigger. He started hurtling insults as us.
We hurriedly walked on. I asked Darren who he was and more about him. Darren said, “ He ‘s a bully. His bark is probably louder than his bite as he usually picks on smaller kids.”
With this knowledge I turned and walked back to the bully.
When the bully stated insulting me again and reached out to push me, I quickly stepped aside, grabbed his shirt, and punched him in the nose. He fell down. I put my knee on his stomach and told him I was going to keep hitting him until he promised never to bother me or my friend again. He did.
For years I carried this memory with feelings of cowardice because I shirked from defending myself at the first encounter. Ultimately with greater wisdom and self-assurance I realized that this was a pretty smart strategy. Knowing your opponent and his capabilities before engaging allows you to plan and prepare – usually resulting in a better outcome.
Lesson: In every combat, be it in the street or in business temper your attack with wisdom.