Art by Nathan Susnik.
From the author: You slay a dragon like you catch a bird. But you’ll need oodles more smarts and stamina to slay a dragon.
Most knights google “dragon”, read a couple articles, think they’re experts, and then go out and try to act like dragons.
Most knights die.
You. Are. Not. A. Dragon.
You don’t slay dragons by acting like a dragon. You cannot fly; you cannot breathe fire.
Do I need to repeat that?
You are a human.
So slay the dragon with innovation and disruptive thinking. Slay the dragon with compassion.
Don’t forget compassion.
No, not for the dragon. If you show a dragon compassion, it will bite your head off. It’s not a Shetland sheepdog. You show compassion for your teammates.
Yes, you need teammates.
We all know the story, right?
Once upon a time, man pulls sword from stone, rides out on trusty horse, runs into obstacles, pulls self over said obstacles by own boot straps, slays dragon, wins Time Magazine, ‘Dragonslayer of the Year’.
But this is real life, so it goes like this:
Once upon a time, woman has idea, assembles team, starts company, NewLance™.
NewLance™ fails, dragon slays half of team including the blacksmith. How that happened, woman does not know. The blacksmith was not even supposed to be there.
Woman gets depressed, doubts self. Rick threatens to quit. Woman pulls it together, enlists new, more innovative blacksmith. New, more innovative blacksmith convinces Rick to stay and invest more money. Woman rebrands NewLance™ as SwordTech™. Woman incorporates SwordTech™ to protect personal gold hoard from future failure, puts together new team, and uses new tactics.
Do you know how to catch a bird with your bare hand?
To catch a bird with your bare hands, you need smarts — and stamina — but mostly smarts. You get the bird in a confined area. You put your hands in the air. You run around like a goon. The bird flies into the air.
You keep it there at all cost.
Flying takes a tremendous amount of energy. After a while the bird tires and lands. It will roost, completely docile, and remain so until you climb up, pluck it off its perch, and...
Now, fire breathing takes more energy than flying, oodles more.
So you slay a dragon like you catch a bird.
But you’ll also need oodles more smarts and oodles more stamina to slay a dragon.
Train your team hard, and follow the rules.
Rules for slaying dragons:
Rick: Crap, my arm's off.
Me: I'm not a doctor, Rick. See a doctor.
Rick: No health insurance.
Me: Why not?
Rick: I invested all of my money SwordTech™.
Me: Eggs? Basket? Christ, Rick, didn’t you learn anything during your MBA?
Rick - keels over.
Eat its heart; understand the twitter of the birds. Take the ring; understand the corporate beasts. Forge alliances; manage exceptions.
Become Time Magazine, ‘Dragonslayer of the Year’.
This story originally appeared in Grievous Angel.