Action Decisions

Winning Without Conflict

People confuse conflict with competition. This confusion is extremely costly. Sun Tzu defines competition as a comparison, where the "winner" of the comparison gains certain rewards. Competition is inevitable because comparison is inevitable. Comparisons must be made before choices can be made. Any situation that involves judgment requires a choice or competition among alternatives. The most common forms of human competition are all contests for the support of others. All such competitions are determined by the comparisons that people make.

Warrior's Rules: 

Competitive Arenas: 

Evaluting a New Position Before Moving: Example of Bad Tax Policy

Before moving to a new position, Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that you have to evaluate that position from the perspective of where it leads. The idea is that we don't want to get into a position that is either hard to defend or from which it is difficult to escape in the future. Unfortunately, in reacting to events, most people are not in the habit of thinking about the next move just getting out of their current situation. This is especially true of the political class.

Seeing Patterns: Real or Imaginary?

Human beings are wired to find patters, but unfortunately, we can see patterns even where they do not exist. A recent study in Science magazine demonstrates the people imagine patterns even where there are none, especially in times of stress. Like all of science, Sun Tzu's strategy uses patterns, models, for making decisions about the chaotic information in the environment, but these models have been proven over 2,500 years in the most unforgiving environment of all: the life and death struggles of war.

Clear Opportunity: Opposing Bailout

Good strategy means looking and using obvious opportunities rather than looking for opportunities that are subtle and clever. The amazing thing about real life is that people overlook the most obvious opportunities, almost purposely avoiding moving into openings simply because no one else is moving into them. Of course, an opening is defined by the fact no one is moving into it, but our herd instinct works against good strategy.


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