There’s an often (mis)quoted phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” The problem is that remembering is not enough. You have to understand what went wrong. You have to learn from it. You have to wring every last bit of knowledge from the defeat that the Dragon dealt you, so that next time you have a better chance of skewering the bastard.
Before you can figure out what to do differently next time, you have to know what type of defeat you were dealt. Here are some of the more common ones.
Biting off more than you can chew
This is an easy one to figure out. When you get to the dragon, and it’s larger than you were expecting. In fact, it’s so big that it smacks you down with one flick of its talon. And, as you tumble from its lair, you long for smaller prey, or bigger weapons. Essentially, this comes down to underestimating the scale of the task, or overestimating your abilities. This, unfortunately will keep happening, but, as you get better at planning your hunts, the difference between dragon and weapon size becomes smaller and more manageable.
Hunting lizards, not Dragons
Like biting off more than you can chew, this comes from bad estimation of Dragon size and personal ability, however, instead of being smacked down, you tend to wonder what the lizard shaped smear under your boot was. If, when you’re planning your dragon hunt, you look at the path ahead of you and it feels easy, you’re probably falling into this trap.
Hunting in the wrong place
It makes sense that you won’t find Sea Dragons in the forest, or Mountain Dragons in the swamp, and yet, we often look where we know they won’t be. This could be for any number of reasons. You don’t fully understand the nature of the dragon, you haven’t checked your direction because you were making good progress. Or, you’ve gone hunting in an area that suits your current skill set because developing a new one felt too difficult. Depending on which particular flavor of misdirection has occurred will govern where you have to fix it. Not understanding the quarry gets fixed while choosing a dragon, ensuring you have the right skill set for the hunt, or developing the correct one is fixed during the planning and preparation stage, and can be a hunt all on its own. Going in the wrong direction is why you have to review your progress often.
Choosing the wrong season
This normally happens when the time taken for the hunt is incorrectly estimated, resulting in arriving too early or too late. The hibernating dragon in winter, is the same belligerent short-tempered brute you’ll encounter in autumn, or the overly enthusiastic pyromaniac you’ll meet in spring. The good news is that the more hunts you go on, the better you’ll get at estimating how long they’ll take. The bad news, is that no matter how good you get, it’s not an exact science, and you’ll still have days where you are wildly inaccurate.
Wrong place, Wrong time
This is by far the most annoying thing that can happen to foil your Dragon hunt. Sometimes, you can do everything right and still fail. These are the random occurrences, the second flat tyre, the unanticipated and unplanned for events that prove detrimental. There’s not a lot you can do about these, except pick yourself up, and try again, maybe with an extra contingency or two the second time round.
There you have it. Understanding why you failed is the first step to preventing the same failure next time. Of course, the next step is learning from it and including it in your plans, which is a lot easier said than done.