A Pyrrhic victory is a victory that inflicts a devastating/costly toll on the victor. Such success isn’t really a victory because the cost to the victor damages long-term progress.
When people talk about losing the battle to win the war, they are often talking about avoiding a Pyrrhic victory.
The concept of a Pyrrhic victory is all but lost today in modern business where a win-at-all-costs mentality is common. This is likely because the spoils of success are so great in our current winner-take-all environment.
On a personal level, people often subject themselves to Pyrrhic victories to satisfy their own need to feel successful or victorious. Here are a few examples of what that might look like:
- Staying in a toxic job and burning yourself out to prove your value to those who refused to see it. You are left in poor physical and mental health simply to show that you won and you are now less capable of pursuing what comes next.
- Working yourself so hard that you lose friends, family, or relationships. But only in those situations where the loss of those are unacceptible losses that will leave you damaged. If they are not so conseqential then they would be acceptible losses.