War – a conflict carried out between countries or people. For ages, we’ve heard stories about a war fought between two countries for some or the other reason, but mainly power. You must have often heard the saying, ‘all’s fair in love and war.’ This means a situation where people do not follow the rules and practice unfair means to win over something. The path where two individuals or countries are unable to solve problems by kindness and love, they end up in a war situation.
The art of war is a book that teaches us not to depend on the chances of the enemy not coming but to be ready to welcome him.
The art of war, a classic written by Sun Tzu around twenty-five hundred years ago, is based on military strategies and thoughts of Chinese welfare. The teachings of this book are to date used in business, politics, and everyday life.
According to Sun Tzu, it is better not to fight than to get involved in a conflict.
Just in case there’s going to be a state of war, one has to fight to win (of course, nobody wants to lose!). There are various strategies involved during a war or a fight, often brutal, but some subtle approach can get you the desired results, a win here.
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, tactician, military strategist, writer, and philosopher. He is known to be a legendary historical and military figure in East Asian and Chinese culture. According to him, a strategy is an art and science of options. He focuses on strategies more than the game.
Through his work speaks about the alternatives to battle, making alliances, and keeping good relations with them. Before the 6th century BC, the wars were contemplated by farming seasons and cultural traditions that used to be ritualistic and did not cause many humanitarian consequences. Over time, due to modernization and development in the military and technology, wars became more violent and caused destruction. This damaging exposure led Sun Tzu to guide military soldiers to follow principles and strategies on the battlefield with more ethical and humanitarian ideals.
The book wasn’t entirely his work, but according to the historians, it was his philosophy on a war that is till date used and is reflected in his book – The Art of War.
There are various chapters in this book, starting with chapter 1, laying plans; One who is better trained and organized, more disciplined and practiced, can figure out the weakness of the other person by some tactics. There are so many weaknesses that could be reflected out, but some unknown and unguessed strengths could change the game.
If you can predict your loss, it is better to avoid conflict than to get into a war. A more virtuous general will have a command over his men; he can easily focus on his way and determine the further possibilities.
Sun Tzu says that if you cannot learn much about your opponent, you should blind your opponent of your actual state. Meaning, if you can’t find the strengths and weaknesses in others, don’t reveal the same to them. If they are unsuccessful in knowing about you, it’s harder for them to win the battle.
The next step is preparing. It is said, ‘if you wage a huge war, it can be taxing on the army.’ Money and lives are finite, and one should always strike quickly. This means that resources and people should be used and treated wisely and not recklessly.
Sun Tzu considers five essentials in strategizing.
- One Must Know When And When Not To Fight
- One Must Know Where And How To Deploy An Army
- One Must Have United Group Forces
- One Mustn’t Be Surprised For Any Surprised During A War
- One Must Need A Leader Who Can Take Self-Decisions Without Any Interference Of External Expertise.
Sun Tzu says – “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”.
He further explains the use of energy along with the strong and weak points of your opponents.
How to do so? Arrive at battle first and force your opponents into weakness.
One doesn’t need to attack all the time. Attack some of their weak points; otherwise, the defender will defend their key points. Secrecy is the key. A force must listen to the leader; otherwise, it’s all just chaos. He presents some ideas on giving orders to the forces.
Recklessness and lack of patience lead to distraction, and another person can take a chance here. You should be alert in all circumstances. Fear and cowardice can lead to eventual capture. Anger and frustration mean that one can be provoked. A high standard of honor means sensitivity to shame and acceptance. The key to success is, if the victory is clear, fight; if defeat is clear, do not fight.
War certainly doesn’t mean violence and creating more deaths or mental attacks.
Even though the book describes a war on a battlefield, isn’t life already a battlefield? You might have had at least one till date, with your close ones or with others, but why cause violence and disturb your or others’ mindset when things could be sorted by taking and giving time, by peace and patience, by talking about things and sorting them out without creating a state of fight.
Key learnings that could be implemented in real life –
- Timing Is Essential
- Choose Your Battles
- Know Yourself Before Knowing The Enemy
- Create A Unique Plan
- Disguise Your Plans
- The Best Way To Win Is Not To Fight At All
- Opportunity Is Represented By A Change
- Success Breeds Success
- No One Profits From Prolonged Welfare.
Let us all settle for peace!
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