In his classic book of ancient stratagems, The Art of War, Sun Tzu describes the various ways a wise commander might approach a battle.
Above all, Tzu emphasises that a commander should only initiate a fight when absolutely necessary, and only when the circumstances favour a successful outcome.
If possible, wars should be won without any battle at all; for the threat of battle alone is powerful enough to force surrender in some situations.
The skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy battles in the field.Sun Tzu
The way an army positions its leverage is essential to it’s success.
‘It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, surround him; if five to one, attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army in two.’Sun Tzu
Fortunately, if you’re reading this, it’s unlikely that you’ll be engaging in hand to hand combat in a field any time soon.
Still, Tzu’s elegant logic perforates our modern age in more ways than can be listed.
Strategic adaptation is the core of all success; be it in war, or life.