I have always taken pleasure in observing my surroundings. I like to observe the interdependent nature of things. Growing up, I was the one on the outside looking in. I only kept a few friends growing up and I preferred to keep to myself most of the time. I did, however, enjoy being around people. I liked to observe interactions between people and their environments. Each observation gave me a deeper insight into how we all interact with each other. As I grew older, my observations and analysis of people became more mature. I began to understand what makes people’s heads turn, how to appeal to people’s desires, and identify anomalies in behavior.
It wasn’t until my early 20s when I realized my passion for strategy. Strategy was much larger than simple observations of individual people. By studying strategy, I could observe the actions, plans, and goals of groups of people. By understanding strategy, I could influence people to achieve a common goal.
Strategy is flexible, fluid, and ever changing. Sun Tzu or Sun Zi 孫子, describes this in Chapter 6: Weak Points and Strong Points. He describes war as water. “Water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.” Much like water and warfare, human conditions are never constant. Strategy is the balance of order and chaos.
During my academic years and throughout my military career, I came to understand this balance. In the midst of chaos the idiom “cooler heads prevail,” became truth. In any high stress situation, one must retain their composure so that the best decisions are made. This is true not only in warfare, but in finance, sports, politics, etc.
For the warrior or the soldier, the best example of this is marksmanship. In order for the marksman to hit their target, concentration and focus must be keen. In the storm of chaos, the marksman must achieve order. Likewise, a marksman cannot chaotically engage. The marksman will likely not hit the intended target if self control is lacking. This struggle between order and chaos is evident in the marksman, the marshal artist, the swordsman, or any other individual who is an expert in their craft.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the complexity of strategy, I welcome you to begin this journey. Together we will balance the subjective and the objective. We will get rid of what is false and develop what is true. We will set our egos aside and develop ourselves as masters of our craft.