FORWARD MARCH, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, HALT!!!!
Greetings barbarians! Have you ever wished that life is less complicated? Just a matter of simple directions like forward or backward, stop and go, left or right, yes or no? Well, fret not because I do too or at least, used to. The thing is, as we become more mature, life often gets complicated; situations to adjust, things to take into considerations, obligations to fulfill, mouths to feed. And sometimes we, guys, just feel overwhelmed and do not know what to do. So in hope to better understand and navigate myself in this thing call existence, I begin to blog (April is also my blogging anniversary month by the way) hoping that writing things down would further reinforce my resolve, and be a better man.
Previously on my post about The Art of War, I talked about the different conditions of strength and weaknesses. About taking initiative, of perfect timing, of knowing and secrecy, understanding, concealing and varying of tactics in order to establish a condition of strength and advantage.
Today, I would like to discuss the next chapter. So without any further delays, I present to you Chapter 7 of The Art of War: Maneuvering…
From Command to Maneuver
“Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign.”
It is imperative to have goals that would mandate our actions, to be segregated by importance, urgency, wants and needs. Decide on what you want and act towards it; organize your resources depending on your intent. It always falls down to where to put your best resources to work in order to have strong execution, and for your plans to come into fruition. Always have a firm footing and avoid getting surprised, avoid great expenditure without any real gains. Dreams without action are futile, and the moment you decided to take a step forward is a step closer to your dreams. Sure there are tough times ahead, but it is crucial that you find ways to move forward. Move around huge obstacles if you have to and claim small victories with the challenges that you can manage. Visualize your dreams and turn it into reality.
The Price of Speed
“Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.”
To move with haste means you have to be ready and well-taken care of, as haste often has little time for preparations. There will be moments where you have to move or decide quickly to take advantage or to keep out of harm’s way that is why you need to see the need to be prepared. Quick actions and decisions are often unplanned and without given much thought, so it is wise to have a contingency plan to act as sort of a reliever when things become unfavorable. Swiftness often throws caution to the wind, and it is possible that your efforts might encounter an overwhelming challenge. Losing might be considered but your quick efforts might save you a lot of effort in the future. Since haste opens up the possibility of lost, avoid going all in or putting all your eggs in one basket as they say and avoid thinking of it is the final solution; so plan accordingly. Keep in mind that making a hasty decision or rapid actions overtime dwindles your resources faster, makes you weaker, and makes you prone to mistakes. As I’ve said, have a contingency plan that will act as a reliever. The quicker you get this over with, the better. Act swiftly and end it quickly, always be ready in situations that require immediate responses.
“We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train is lost; without provisions, it is lost; without bases of supply it is lost.”
Resources work best when frequently restocked or replenished and swift responses are often executed without restocking or replenishing. The quicker the return the better, as we could immediately restore your expenditure. There will be a lot of misdirection that will be presented along with your path, and that is only normal. We all have a different understanding about the world, and what works best I think, is to know the intention behind every opportunity that presents itself and ally yourself to those who want the same thing for you. It is wise to familiarize yourself to the unfamiliar in order to avoid being taken in by surprise. Again, planning and preparation are key. It is of utmost importance to understand each situation you are getting yourself into. Get the “lay of the land” and employ every means to have a firm grasp of the situation. Know what is ahead, as far as your sense would allow you to. Seek counsel from those who have a better understanding, who, in return, has a better understanding than those who have first-hand experience. Obtaining insight in various situation allows you to make intelligent assumptions that will help you in your preparation, Taking away external factors that might surprise you in the future ensures that the undertaking goes as fluid as possible. Prepare and familiarize, you will be saving yourself a lot of headache in the future.
“In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.”
Conceal your intentions, it is the most common and effective way to surprise anyone. Use uncertainty to your advantage, but like I said form a close-knit group that wants what is best for you. Keep your intentions to those who are close to your heart, and there is really no need to broadcast yourself to those who have no concerns over you. Focus on what needs to be done instead of blindly following what should be done. Decide when the situation needs a decision to be made, act when it needs action to be done. Be best in whatever you do, aim to be better so that your approach is swift and with ease in order to build momentum. But do reward yourself and those you who support you afterward, share the “spoils of war”. Not only it provides you with further motivation, but those whom you share your spoils with will also strengthen their loyalty towards you. Often times, loyalty decreases as resentment rises when people feel you do not recognize their efforts and feel unrewarded. Now, that I have said that haste often means unplanned and unprepared; but that does not mean you should avoid taking a risk. It just means you should proceed with more caution, and it takes serious skills to make good decisions with limited data. Cunning and guile are helpful in taking opportunities and claiming success. If you could learn to deviate and have the width of skills and breadth of mastery, then you will manage to navigate through life.
Signs and Signals
“The Book of Army Management says: On the field of battle, the spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution of gongs and drums. Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly enough: hence the institution of banners and flags.”
Communication has always been the bedrock of any civilization (in my option, of course), be aware of what comes out of your mouth and how it comes out. Today, we have countless ways for us to communicate; make sure that your intent passes through different channels of communication. Sometimes a simple email or text message is not enough; so make time to make a call or better yet, talk to them personally. If you want to be understood, it must be in a way that appeals and makes sense to them. But be wary of being intercepted by those whom the message is not intended for, it must be done in a way that your audience could understand but not by those who is not part of your intended group. Nowadays, our attention is a primary commodity. Not a minute that passes that something or someone is trying to get our attention and hopefully our time (think of catchy ads you came across today). That is why I think it is important to learn how to court attention in a way that others could focus on what we stand for and what we are trying to convey. Being able to move a large group in a way that they fully understood you without any resentment or contempt truly is what leadership is all about. So use whatever channel for communication that suits your purpose and let your intentions be heard and understood.
“A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief may be robbed of his presence of mind.”
Spirit means motivation and energy, and your spirit is always high at the beginning and at the end of any undertaking. The problem is how to keep your spirits up in between; it can greatly affect the outcome and your outlook. If you can manage to stay positive and energized, then you can manage to keep your spirits high as well as the spirits of others. When your spirit is low, it could greatly affect your decision thus making you vulnerable to mistakes and defeat. That is why it is imperative to sustain your spirits and make a huge difference to those who surround you. Proper sustenance, enough rest and recreation can improve spirits, a day of hard work and heavy thinking can be tiring. Even a day of idleness can make you feel depressed. Therefore if you can approach things with high spirits while others were low, then you have the greatest advantage. Likewise, beware of your approach when your spirits are low when you are tired and weary.
“Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy:–this is the art of retaining self-possession.”
There are as much chaos and confusion in a social situation as on a battlefield in terms of panic. And so do certain events such as public speaking, presentation, even a simple small talk to some. There are plenty of social situations that often cause anxiety, the key is to remain calm and collected and avoid wasting energy. Panicking drains your spirit and creates an appearance of unreadiness, so remain collected and composed during high-pressure situations. Here lies the importance of discipline; the lack of it will always result in chaos and panic while the abundance of it is calm and in control. Calmness not in inaction and laziness, but rather in quiet confidence and readiness; just observing and conserving energy, waiting for the opportunity to strike. While everybody else is panicking, the disciplined man observes and waits for the moment to act. He who is graceful while under pressure, even at the face of defeat has the advantage. Having quiet confidence is in itself fearful, not giving in and remaining collected even in front of the greatest of adversaries.
“It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.”
Higher ground is often attributed to a position of power, and being on the higher ground gives you the advantage of momentum and being able to see everything that is happening below. We can even observe this in our posture, men who stand erect (standing in full height) and with good posture is often seen as strong, highly capable and sometimes imposing while men who slouch (depriving himself of a few centimeters) is seen as weaker. Avoid engaging in challenges that come from a position of power and has gained momentum, avoid falling into a trap with things that are almost too good to be true. Always ask yourself if there is something to be gained out of something; if you can be successful without that then why bother pursuing it wasting your resources. Remember that the goal in life is to acquire anything that you set yourself into, avoid destructive behavior as it often leaves everyone (including yourself) with nothing. Acquire, instead of destroying; Destruction often leads to other hatred towards you. Be superior and lead with peace, much like everything in this life everything starts out as a set of ideas that becomes art through practice. Develop your own personal way and be a master.
So there you have it barbarians, chapter 7 of the fabled The Art of War. This chapter a great deal of insight towards maneuvering in the intricacies of life itself, and I hope you found it useful. So now that we have reached the end of this entry, I really wish you could give it a like; that would really mean so much to me. And if you still have not subscribed, then what the hell are you waiting for? It’s not gonna subscribe by itself. While you are at it, comment down below for your opinions and I would gladly reply to them. I am also twitter in case you are wondering, my twitter handle is @mrablogger. This is your favorite barbarian (hopefully), reminding you to be courageous and free!
The Art of War Round-up:
- The Art of War: Laying Plans
- The Art of War: Waging War
- The Art of War: Attack By Stratagem
- The Art of War: Tactical Dispositions
- The Art of War: Energy
- The Art of War: Weak Points and Strong