Avoid most battle! My Occasion, Location, Time
Have you ever yelled at a driver, who cut your lane. lately ? Welcome to the Art of war. Art of war was written by Sun Tzu, in 512 BC. Yet, it implication are most relevant even today. We live in a (so called) civilised society which abhors violence, yet every occasion of confrontation has the potential to escalate into violent action. We live in a society which loves chicken and dog but for entirely different reasons :)
For the most part we are fighting, battles rather than achieving greatness. We are fighting a battle with ourself everyday when we convince ourself to wake up in the morning and go for that walk, we fight a battle when we turn envious looking at the Facebook post of a friend, who has been on vacation recently.
Yet battles, these are battles, not even worth their while. Once you take the context away, they feel even silly now. I remember feeling sick about fight on silly issue with my manager, which seemed so important then. Today, both my manager have moved on to different jobs and that incident has no meaning to either of us.
We fight, because we feel “right”. We fight because we feel “Just”. We fight, because we have an “ego” which keeps growing as we age. Yet, most of these matters, have seldom to do with the world. For when the world matters come we somehow are able to make very sane judgements, unlike when it comes to ourselves.
So, here is the thing. Your everyday life is filled with battles. You can choose pick them or ignore them. The more you ignore them, chances are that you will have plenty of time to “invest” in yourself, by means of reading, learning, writing, speaking etc… However, if you choose otherwise, you will be mangled in realms of obfuscation.
In Art of war we are advised against confrontation of any kind. We are told that your enemy has to be in your “ground” zero when you decide to strike. So when you get a nasty call from someone, who blurts out abused at you or who admonishes you, simply ignore the person. Don’t react. Simply seek for more time if necessary or better still remain silent. Time has a funny impact on human nature, for the most part, it mellows us down. Issue which seemed “Gargantuan” turn into innocuous, sissy cats. Don’t be timed into submission. Ignoring someone is the worst form of punishment in todays world. People today, constantly crave for acknowledgment via facebook, whatsapp and otherwise. So ignoring them feels insulting. Further, it enhances your value in the circle by creating an aura of inaccessibility. So don’t be afraid to ignore, them. It still one of those tools which has not be “banned” by law.
A second from Art of war, is not to directly confront the enemy, who is bigger than you. During the Chinese communist war, Mao Tse-tung, fought a bloody war with an enemy many times his own armies size. Mao was noteworthy for his military tactics. He never engaged the enemy directly. He used the terrain to his advantage. He fought a physiological war using fliers and media to his advantage. He relied on the age old technique of attrition to win the war. In another eg. US lost the Vietnam war to a much smaller army, because the enemy did not fight conventional war. Hitler, Napoleon all lost their wars to enemies, much smaller than them, just because they were in the wrong place, far from their own supply lines.
In the real world for when you are dealing with a boss, its best to keep your, hoist low. Yet, remember to raise it, when the time comes. Every dog has a day and you should wait for yours. Ditto with your extended family. Don’t let them have you for granted. Its best to ensure a low profile when matters peaks in terms of its seriousness. Chances are, that someone has screwed up and it better not be you. Taking side, speaking out out load, only means that you will only help in creating a very patchy image of yourself.
Yet still, another one of Art of war says — don’t confront the weaker enemy. Winning him won’t get you any honour. Simply, make weaker enemies to submit under pressure. Make them pay through non-coercive means. Don’t waste your resources in chasing them. Pick only battles, which matter. In our times, it means not to confront an errant taxi driver who cuts you in the street, or that coworker who tries to bully you. Confrontation, only leads to a belligerent, attitude by both the parties, but in this case you look like a fool, engaging with someone of a lower class, than yourself. Don’t be fooled into an altercation with a low life. Let them fret and fumes and wear themselves down.
As you would see, Art of war is hardly about “fighting”, but rather about avoiding it. War cause attrition which depletes the forces on both sides. Microsoft and Google fought the “browser” battle while Apple quietly built its “iphone” and took them by surprise.
Likewise, our daily life should be about achieving our target goal, rather, bickering with someone. Remember, you cannot change the world or its people or their thinking. Thus, it’s better to find alternate ways to get your job done, than, picking an altercation with someone.
Finally, love life. Your body, your mind, your work, are your property. Love yourself. As much as selfish, it may sound, you should love yourself first. Your body is supporting you to stand up or sit down, right now. Your mind is keeping you sane, as you read this blog. So, go ahead and thank them. When was the last time that you thanked your, kidney’s for its great job, or your heart for all blood it pump through the day. Thank them first thing. Focus, your energy in creating stuff of value, for yourself. Read, write, create because that’s the only legacy you will every leave. Avoid most battle !