Like many kids, I learned the story of David and Goliath as a parable to illustrate that underdogs can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
As an adult, going through a children’s bible with my kid, I saw it differently. It’s a story of how knowledge, skill and innovation can win out.
David had lots of experience taking out coyotes with a sling and stone. David should have won. He wasn’t the underdog. It’s just that everyone else on the battlefield was unaware of David’s skills and were locked into thinking of the traditional way of fighting.
My guess is that David never doubted that he could take out Goliath. But, he knew why. He had lots of trial and error practice to back himself up. The others didn’t know about it or hadn’t thought to apply his stone slinging skills to a 1v1 human battle.
But, I think the traditional telling of the story is dangerous. It gives the impression that David improvised in the moment and succeeded against the odds and encourages people to take stupid risks and hope they’ll just figure it out in the moment, like most Hollywood action plots.
What it should really teach is that practice makes perfect. Like many Hollywood stars will tell you, what appears to be their overnight success successes was years in the making, with thousands of rejections.
It also reminds me of something one of my navy pilot friends told me one time. Russian jets were designed to be superior for dogfights. The US military decided a better strategy was to knock out the enemy from 20 miles away to avoid the dogfights as much as possible.