Art of War Quote:
He fails to pick his fights correctly.
This means that his army must retreat.
Sun Tzu's The Art of War 10:2:29-30
“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.”
The basis of Sun Tzu's system is that people are always making choices. The only actions that have strategic value are those arising from human choice, conscious and unconscious. Our success in competition requires better controlling our own choices and better predicting the choices of others.
Both the decision to act and the decision not to act are choices. All choices arise from our current position, and they result in our future position. While chance plays a role in determine the condition under which our choices are made, our success depends not upon chance happenings but upon the choices we make in responding them.
All choices are made for some benefit. Some are made for short-term benefits. Others for long-term or long-term ones. Deciding for the short-term is most frequently destructive to your competitive position. Deciding for a long-term benefit is more often beneficial to your position. However, there are some short-term decisions that can to your position. You can also make decisions for the long-term that are destructive.
In every moment of our existence, we are making choices about what to do next. The focus of Sun Tzu's system is on how our choices advance or retard our competitive position, that is, how we are compared to others by others.
We can never know the best decision to make in any given situation because we can never know all our options. There are too many unknowns. However, we can choose the best of the options we recognize. Most importantly, we can recognize when we are making choices without realizing it.
Over time, we can learn to:
- see more options,
- more consistently to pick the best options
- see when we are choosing not to act
In the bigger picture, we can choose what we believe. If we choose to believe that our actions do not matter, that our fate is preordained, we will make poor choices, but we can choose to believe that our actions are the most important aspect of our life. If we choose the later, our actions will matter more than we can imagine.
While we cannot change our decision making habits overnight, we can gradually change the ways we make choices. We also cannot like every moment under the lash of our will, controlling all our short-term desires. We can, however, gradually shift our focus from short-term gratification to longer term effectiveness.
- Make more conscious choices and fewer unconscious ones.
- Train our unconscious to that we make better unconscious choices.
- Spend time at the beginning of the day thinking about our priorities.
- Spend time at the end of the day reviewing the key choices we made.