SunZi’s Art of War – The Misquotes and Keys that are missed even by the Experts

A famous book like SunZi’s Art of War is likely to be quoted partially. Even so, there are already much wisdom to be gained. But, having the full quotation will lead us to greater success. We look at the famous quote, or misquote, of “知己知彼,百战百胜  know self, know others, win every time”. Yet, the best strategy is to win without a war. Having peace in the world is not about just building more powerful weapons and larger military, but more importantly, it is to build better well being and sharing for more people so that there is no reason for war. That’s the heart of Sun Zi.
What has Sun Zi’s Art of War to do with Christmas that have me to write about in this season of peace and joy? Much, if you know the heart and purpose of Sun Zi’s Art of War.
Let begin with the famous quotation, or mis-quotation.
The source of Know-Self-Know-Others can be found in two places in Sun Zi’s Art of War book. They are shown below in the mind-map:
There are 3 key errors: 
  1. Order.
    • Know our enemy first, and then we can compare ours against the enemy.
    • Most people look at themselves first to claim their strengths and weaknesses. That is incorrect.  Typical SWOT analysis begins with listing your own strengths and weaknesses. That is an error. We should look at the external Opportunities and Threats first and then back to your strengths and weaknesses to address those opportunities and threats.
    • Furthermore, our strengths or weaknesses can only be determined in comparison with the enemies that we are going to fight with and with respect to the theatre and timing of our operations.
    • Strengths and weaknesses should be determined from the external. In a business, the external are competitors and customers, the markets, industries, and locations that we operate in.
  2. Not Win every time but Not Loose every time.
    • It is a secured position but need another two factors to ensure a win every time.
  3. The Two More Factors: Know the Heaven & Earth – i.e. The Right Timing and the Right Terrain to take advantage of.

There are Four Factor

  1. Know-Other,
  2. Know-Self,
  3. Know-Heaven: the Time & Seasons,
  4. Know-Earth: the terrains and the positioning. or the market and industries, the PESTEL factors
How do we know others and our strengths or weaknesses. Sun Zi proposed 7 measures. See Sun Zi Art of War-3: Health Check with 7 Measures.

Sun Zi however tells us that knowing something is better than knowing nothing. Knowing self and not knowing other bring us 50% success rate at times. The worst case is, not knowing anything which will result in 100% failure.

We need the two additional factors of knowing Heaven and Earth to ensure completeness.
How to appraise a situation is given in Sun Zi Art of War-4: Appraisal & Prediction.

Even Better is Not to Go to War – How to Win without a Fight .
Another misunderstanding about Sun Zi’s Art of War is the purpose. It is not a book that teach us to win every war. It is in fact book that teaches us how we need not go to war! Sun Zi say the best strategy is to win without a fight! Fighting will result in destruction and deaths that both sides will suffer. The better way is to build oneself up such that others will not dare to take us to a war. They surrender voluntarily. Other better strategies will be to defeat their plans before execution, negotiate for win-win for all, and war is only the very last resort. Even if have to, win it quickly without much losses of lives.

See Sun Zi Art of War-5: The Principles for Good Strategies

How to Build a High Performance Organization that others will respect and follow.
The heart then of Sun Zi’s Art of War is about building an organization or nation that other will respect and follow rather than trying to dethrone you.
See Sun Zi Art of War-6: Leadership Skills and Creating HPO

Having peace in the world is not about just building more powerful weapons and larger military, but more importantly, it is to build better well being and sharing for more people so that there is no reason for war.

Hope this post encourages you to look deeper into Sun Zi’s Art of War.

Lim Liat (c) 25 Dec 2013

“Rule for Success” – A Case Study for Multi-Brain Whole-Man Mindset

Success is the desire of everyone. Having a Multi-Brain Whole-Man(MBWM) mindset is a key for people to know how to achieve it.  So, I use this “Rule for Success” as a case study to help introduce the MBWM mindset that will hopefully help you to attain the success that you want.

Here is the mind-map that summarize the whole story:

Multi-Brain Whole-Man(MBWM) mindset

   We all know that “exercise is good”, but many are still not exercising regularly. Why? Because the fact (‘Exercise is good”) only enters our mind and not our heart.  We don’t feel it is important enough for us to do something about it. Our heart is not fully persuaded. We make excuses like “I don’t feel like it now”, “I’m too busy now”, etc and the best excuse of all, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.  So we know that any behavior change or improvement, must address at least two parts of our “Whole-Man”, namely the mind and the heart. If we have friends, the relationship part, then perhaps our friends can encourage us and even force us to join them in their exercises. So now we have our mind, heart and relationship that trigger us to get our body to go out and exercise. This is the concept of Whole-Man mindset.

   One of the key part of the Whole-Man mindset is the MIND. To help us develop our MIND, I introduce the Multi-Brain model making up of rational Left-Brain, creative and intuitive Right-Brain, the Digital-Brain of the computer, software and knowledge bases and the internet collaborative Cloud-Brain of the millions of people of the world. Left and Right Brains are well covered in the literature or in the internet Cloud, and I shall not cover anymore except to remind us that we should not be fooled into thinking that we are either a Left or a Right Brain person. We have both and should develop and use both Left and Right Brains.
   I have intentionally show the mind-map to above to show that we can use computer and software to extend our biological brains. The digital brain serves as our brain or mind extender. We must develop our extended brain —- our Digitial Brain.  For more information on how to develop our digital brain, please see Thinking Frameworks, or at least the series on mind-mapping starting with Brain Storming with Mind Mapping – Illustrated with Future of Singapore.

“Rule for Success”

www.inc.com Small Business Ideas and Resources for Entrepreneurs is a good site for reference. So if I do a search “Rule for Success”, I will get back a list of quotes and short articles from the successful people. Here is the screen capture of the 1st page (as shown in the mindmap above):

These are the great wisdom from the crowd of successful people available in the internet Cloud Brain. It will be too much to digest, remember and to recall.

Making the Cloud Brain into Personal Digital Brain
For us to benefit from the Cloud Brain, we must do a little bit of processing and organization of knowledge. That’s where mind-mapping comes in. I did the following:

1. Copy & Paste or Retype the Key Words into the Mind-map.

2. Read the articles refered and try to make the article title more meaningful.
For example, the first article title by Evan is just “Do Less”. If we read the article, we get to know more. He is talking about doing less so that we can focus on the key thing (something that Steve Jobs also said in “Say No to a 1000 thing”). Furthermore, he said to follow our gut! His success in Blogger and Tweeter are subsets of his main thought that he felt have great potential. These keys are important. So I change the title from “Do Less” into “Do Less – Importance of Focus & Follow Your Gut”. Of coure, you are free to shorten it to whatever that help you understand and remember better. So a shorter title might be “Focus & Follow Your Gut”. But I prefer ‘Do Less’ because that is what focus means and ‘do less’ is a great reminder for us who naturally want to ‘Do More’.

I spent the time to read all the articles and rephrase the titles shown in the mind-map above.

3. Beautify the Map.
You can then color, number and format the map in whatever way you like to make it appeal and easier to understand.

4. Link it with Existing Mind-maps.
This is not the first time we look for the secrets of success. Most likely, we have read many quotes and stories of the rich, famous and successful people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Stephen Covey etc. That was what I did and have shared it in Integrated Success Principles – Adding the 5 Secrets of Richard Branson. So I put link in this mind-map to the “Integrated Success Principles”.

In fact, I have go one-step further to integrate this one into the larger “Integrated Success Principles” mind-map. When I do that, I will discover there are many duplicates and there will be some new thoughts. This is how an existing mind-map of knowledge grows with time.

Study the Rule for Success:
I have went to the mechanics of building a mind-map for success principles. Don’t forget to read the content of the “Rule for Success” and see if you can learn something from them. All the very best to your success.

Lim Liat (c) 7 Oct 2013

See also: Map Your Way to Greater Success from the Keys of the Super-Rich.