How to Prepare Yourself – The Art of War

art of war_book coverHave you ever read “The Art of War” by Sun-Tzu?
I bet you heard about that book by few occasions, such as:

  • business meetings
  • seminars for leaders
  • conferences for top management, etc.

“The Art of War” was a great book two thousands years ago as a guide for young officers. And as John Minford wrote in the introduction:

(…)The Art of War has provided military leaders with essential advice on battlefield tactics, managing troops an terrain, and employing cunning and deception. (…) The strategic advice that The Art of Waroffers concerns much more than the conduct of war. It is an ancient book of proverbial wisdom, a book of life.

One of the most famous quotes of Master Sun (Sun-Tzu) I found very important and useful is:

Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.

Do you remember the movie “Wall Street”? Gordon Gekko said:

I bet on sure things. Sun Tzu: “Every battle is won before it is fought.” Think about it.

Whatever we are doing we might use some of the tactics and strategies used by a Shaolin disciple during combat:

Signal to the east, strike to the west; Avoid an opponent’s strong points, strike the weak ones; Trick an opponent into advancing without success, Then strike decisively with just one blow; If an opponent is strong, enter from the side; If he is weak, enter from the front; Use minimum force to neutralize maximum strength.

Isn’t that exactly what we are sometimes trying to do at work? Deal with some problems/issues?
We need to remember about the plan and as Master Sun said:

The Way of Wat is A Way of Deception.

so what we should? It seems we need to have a good plan, come up with a strategy how we want to approach to the problem. Planning is a matter a calculation – of strengths, weaknesses ours and our opponent.

When near (enemy), Appear far. When far, Appear near. Strike with chaos. If he is angry, Disconcert him. If he is weak, Stir him to pride. If he is relaxed, Harry him. Attack where he is unprepared; Appear where you are unexpected

How many leaders have been already told that:

Managing many is the same as managing few; it is a question of Division

The lesson I learned from that book:

  • never underestimate your opponent
  • use your opponent’s strengths against them
  • prepare yourself, don’t let others to surprise you
  • create a long-term and short-term plan/strategy
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4 thoughts on “How to Prepare Yourself – The Art of War

  1. I love “The Art of War” because it shows that strategy trumps tactics. All too often, we get stuck in “busy work”, over-thinking stuff, and just running in place. So many of us are looking for answers when they are right in front of us. Sun-Tzu reminds us that our greatest enemy often lives in our minds and hearts.

    1. I agree with you Yogizilla. That’s why it’s so important to stop for a moment and ‘look around’/check your assets and plan what to do. Well at least it works for me.

  2. Its just a shame that here in America we go to war without following Sun Tzu teachings. Its not about war and combat its about wining without fighting.

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