Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not At All Dead - For Those With Patience

I'm a big fan of Sun Tzu. His principles of engagement in the Art of War are so simple yet so sensible, it's no wonder he was the great general two and a half millennia ago. One of his most cogent thoughts is the decision to engage the enemy. For instance:
  • You should not linger in desolate ground.
  • In enclosed ground, resourcefulness is required.
  • In death ground, fight.
This, and so much more he says, is applicable in business and, I've found, in general dealings with people. The concept of a weak force weakening the opposition by scant incursions, biting, biting, drawing back. The idea of obligation to engage when in an elevated position with troops of normal skill being the same as warring with weak troops on superior ground or strong troops when disadvantaged by the field. Ah, Sun Tzu, where are you now?

Though Sun Tzu was talking about war, it's a hard thing to admit that human relations can be microcosmic battle zones, too, and even there, the vanquished can feel the victor.

The other aspect is patience. Patience borne where it seems that no more patience is possible. To wait when it seems impossible to wait any longer, for just a moment later, opportunity breaks. This is my situation currently. So much has happened in the last month along these lines that I must say that where I was once a creature of impulse that I now worship patience and The Wait.

It's hard, I know. But good things come to those who wait. No, but really. Put your pieces in play and wait. No, not yet, not yet - okay, now! See? Works every time. You control time this way and time is a non-renewable resource of great value. Yes, you may have to make choices and take losses but it is YOUR decision.

I lost a good friend this year because of lack of patience. My position in my divorce has broadened and strengthened, because of the practice of patience. My situation at work is improved due to patience. The waiting is balance with knowing the options and knowing when to strike for maximum effect. Timing is everything, indeed.

The aphorisms are out there, not only for our amusement. Time to pay attention to them, I think.