White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made a very telling statement today on Fox News Sunday. He said:
"I think the American people understand and I think there is growing momentum in Congress that we can't do nothing."
This viewpoint differs dramatically from one of the fundamental principles of Sun Tzu's basic principles about the nature of opportunities. He taught that picking the right opportunity requires knowing exactly when the best decisions is doing nothing (4.2 Choosing Non-Action). We cannot let the pressure of our plans force us into moves that are likely to fail ([node:content/523-unplanned-steps link]). He said:
"There are roads that you must not take.
There are armies that you must not fight.
There are strongholds that you must not attack.
There are positions that you must not defend.
There are government commands that must not be
obeyed." Sun Tzu's The Art of War 8:1:9-14
Aside from the six rules for identifying these situations discussed in our Rule Book article about this topic, many of Sun Tzu's other rules discuss why people are tempted into taking action in situations where non-action is the right choice. Basically, the problem comes from confusing situations requiring adaptation with situations in which plans much be followed.