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We live in a vicious, highly competitive workplace environment, and things aren't getting any better. Jobs are few and far between, and people aren't any nicer now than they were when Ghengis Khan ran around in big furs killing people in unfriendly acquisitions. For thousands of years, people have been reading the writings of the deeply wise, but also extremely dead Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, who was perhaps the first to look on the waging of war as a strategic art that could be taught to people who wished to ...
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We live in a vicious, highly competitive workplace environment, and things aren't getting any better. Jobs are few and far between, and people aren't any nicer now than they were when Ghengis Khan ran around in big furs killing people in unfriendly acquisitions. For thousands of years, people have been reading the writings of the deeply wise, but also extremely dead Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, who was perhaps the first to look on the waging of war as a strategic art that could be taught to people who wished to be warlords and other kinds of senior managers.
In a nutshell, Sun Tzu taught that readiness is all, that knowledge of oneself and the enemy was the foundation of strength and that those who fight best are those who are prepared and wise enough not to fight at all. Unfortunately, in the current day, this approach is pretty much horse hockey, a fact that has not been recognized by the bloated, tree-hugging Sun Tzu industry, which churns out mushy-gushy pseudo-philosophy for business school types who want to make war and keep their hands clean.
Sun Tzu was a Sissy will transcend all those efforts and teach the reader how to make war, win and enjoy the plunder in the real world, where those who do not kick, gouge and grab are left behind at the table to pay the tab. Students of Bing will be taught how to plan and execute battles that hurt other people a lot, and advance their flags and those of their friends, if possible. All military strategies will be explored, from mustering, equipping, organizing, plotting, scheming, rampaging, squashing and reaping spoils.
Every other book on the Art of War bows low to Sun Tzu. We're going to tell him to get lost and inform our readers how real war is currently conducted on the battlefield of life.
Fate is both yin and yang. It is ice. It is fire. It is winter and spring, summer and fall, and then winter again. Go with it. Go against it. That is victory.
You can't win if you don't play.
War is hell. War is glory. You've got to have the ability to sustain small losses between major victories. But like it? No. Take it in stride? Only if you're a loser.
In battle, attitude is all. And true warriors are united in the fact that they hate to lose even more than they love to win. They're nuts about it. Sometimes that hatred of being on the wrong end of the beefstick makes them do nutty things, of course. It pays to think about that for a moment, before we go on.
I don't like to pick on Martha Stewart, because I believe she is, in the end, a teeny newt who has been treated shockingly in comparison to the enormous, gray toads whose crimes far, far outstrip hers and who are now all writing books somewhere waiting for Forbes to do a positive retrospective on them.
But Martha had a chance, at the very beginning of her ordeal, to admit that she kind of screwed up, acted rather badly for someone who is both a genius and a former stockbroker, take whatever tepid punishment the pleased, appeased, and publicityhungry Feds were of a mind to dole out, and then, sadder but richer, soldier on.
Instead, because she couldn't bear to lose to the press, the Justice Department, or anyoneelse, she brought herself a world of grief and, even worse, lost a lot of money pursuing her dream of perfection.
That's too much Yang.
On the other side, there's Jerry Levin of Time Warner, perhaps pound for pound the biggest Tzu-head of the last few decades. So strategic was this teeny warrior that he strategized his entire company out of, like, 60 percent of its value in the merger with AOL. Come on, he told the ragtag bunch of scrabbly Internet dudes who couldn't find a corporate infrastructure with both hands, take us. We're yours. He assumed the position. And it took his proud empire years to undo the damage wrought by his intelligence, foresight, and pure, unadulturated Yin.
Yang never drops its sword until death has made its decision who to take.
Yin hopes that the other guy will die of a heart attack while he's stabbing you.
As you prepare yourself for the eternal struggle that is the life of the warrior, you must cultivate both not consecutively, but in unison. You must reach for both inside yourself and merge the two into the warrior attitude of both strength and flexibility, aggression and strategy, anger and the ability to swallow that anger and make a deal that will enable you to fight another day. Too much Yang makes you stupid. Too much Yin makes you a wuss.
What you need is the combo of both. You need Yinyang.
Yinyang is the point where the irrational will to power merges sinuously with the willingness to be reasonable. This mix manifests itself in a variety of ways, and is the determinant of success in war.
Too much Yang gives you war in Iraq. You get an idea in your head and nobody can turn you off it. It happens to executives all the time. You may work for one of them. If you do, you know what I'm talking about. The kind of guys who said the car would never replace the horse, that cable was a flash in the pan, that it was a good idea to build a nuclear power plant over the largest fault line in the United States or at the east end of Long Island, where it takes two hours to go down the road and buy a blueberry pie on the weekends -- a fact that might have some bearing on evacuation plans? No way. Too much Yang.
Next down the chart are the executives who have just a little too much testosterone for their own good. You can be one of those. It means you will win for a while, and then lose playing the game that got you there.
At the other end of the scale, right after Time Warner, is Estonia, which has been taken over by every invading army since the invention of beer.
And in the middle is Warren Buffett, the perfect mixture of Yin and Yang, the apotheosis of Yinyang. Yinyang is never saying Yes to failure. But never being too proud to listen to reason.
Yinyang means in the face of Yes there is no No. In the face of No, there is no Yes. There is only what you are fighting for. But if Maybe appears ... not being too big a stiffy about it to listen.
Yinyang is power. Yinyang is money. Yinyang is more than power or money. It is Winning. The feeling ofWinning flowing within you and outside you, mussing your hair, if you have hair, and if you do not, mussing the memory of your hair.
But Yinyang is also waiting, patiently, for Winning to come along.
It is Oneness, Sureness, Obnoxiousness. It is your warrior attitude. Beyond Yin. Beyond Yang. That's so Old School.
Get some.Sun Tzu Was a Sissy
Posted February 23, 2009
Posted January 28, 2009