Now, on to the hunt … because if there are lures in life—those dangling distractions that offer a superficial allure, an attractive promise of all we need (read here)—we better remember that at the end of each lure is the kill. And if our enemy is a crouching lion waiting to devour us, we better know something about the hunt.
Predator versus prey. Have you seen it? On National Geographic, at least? How does the gazelle escape the lion? And what are the sure-fire tactics of the predator to ensure his meal?
Once again, in their most simplistic form, here are a few:
1. The predator knows the prey.
He knows where to go to find them. Where they eat and hang out. Where they relax and feel safe. Where and when they let their guard down. He’s studied their behavior and can predict their movements. What becomes a habit for the prey, an ordinary pathway given little heed, a rut in the mind or in the attitude, is a calculated and observable pattern by the enemy. What’s your tendency? Where does your mind easily regress? Do you avoid? Shut down? Do you become critical of others? Angry? Do you busy yourself to escape? Be wary. Know your hazards. Because the enemy knows them too.
2. Go for the vulnerable.
Attack the one who hasn’t yet developed his combat skills. He’s exposed, without defense. Trusting his own instincts. His own resources. He doesn’t know the signs of danger or the mark of approaching peril. He can be the newest member or the oldest. Because even the one who’s been in it so long can forget why he’s in the game. He can become comfortable in his complacency. His lethargy. His skills have dulled. His senses have blurred. He is no longer keen and sharp to the hazards before and behind him. Although he’s been around and thinks he has it all together, he’s as susceptible as the newly born.
3. Get him alone.
The lion knows there is safety in numbers. He knows the strength of community. The power in the multitude. When the group is watching, when it knows the weaker points in its members, each one is guarded with dedication and passion. The others surround the struggling one until the danger clears. Until he’s up on his feet and ready to move with grace and speed. But circumvent that community. Isolate the one. Keep him from the power of the herd, and he’s easy prey.
4. Remain in hiding until the right moment.
The predator avoids giving away his position too soon. He crouches, drawing nearer, evading the obvious until the last second. It’s a slip. A slide in. A blending in the activity. He never races in with screaming colors to send the targets fleeing. He creeps ever closer in the tall grass.
Have you ever watched a white-tailed deer grazing in an open field? You might think she swats at annoying insects with her tail, but the flicks are actually a warning signal. A white flag. She does it randomly because she’s not sure, but the message to the predator is clear: “I already see you, even though you’re at a distance. Your sneaky tactics have been found out. And I will outrun you if you go for the chase.” And the law in nature is “Don’t expend unnecessary energy.” In other words, if the chase is a wash, if it will fail in its goal, why bother? Go back to crouching and waiting until the prey is once more oblivious of the danger.
Why bother? There is no use to attack now. That's what we want to hear. That the enemy has given up the pursuit because the one he had been stalking has figured him out. He has been on guard and is surrounded by too great a fellowship.
Do we know our own vulnerabilities? Our tendencies that draw us into complacency? Oblivion? When the predator moves in, do we know it? Are we isolated? Tired? Have we lost our focus or direction? Have we decided to go it alone?
Or, are we as calculated in watching the predator as he is in watching us? Can we sense the prowl, the slide in, the blending, before the moment of launch?
Know these things. Know who you are and where you belong. Understand the tools and power you’ve been given. And know the strength and purpose of those in your life.
Because without it, the odds are for the predator.