03 July 2013

Success with Ease and Free of Stress

Common wisdom tells us to work hard for success. Success for many people spells 'stress' and 'no balance life' etc. Success with Ease is oxymoron for many. But it is not so, says Lao Zi. In Dao De Jing Chapter 73, he told us the secret ... it is like net casting. Build the net with strings of principles or values, cast it wide, make it sparse enough and yet never miss the catch.
The secret of a productive and stress-free living with great ease is hidden in Lao Zi's Dao De Jing Chapter 73. The basic principle is to follow the way of the working of Heaven always. Following the laws of heaven is the natural and paths of least resistance. Hence, it is the ease. Trying to work against the tides of natural forces is where we get our stress and pains and the lack of productivity. Working with our natural passion and strengths energize us to produce quality and excellence without end.

Here is my version of the translation of Dao De Jing Chapter 73:
To do or Not to do?
It is a very difficult question says Lao Zi.
To boldly do it may cause one to die.
To not do it may save one's life.
But the final outcome, good or bad, in the longer term, it is unknown.
Who knows the intention of Heaven?
Even the wise sages find them difficult.
But wait, we can see the working of Heaven as in:
The Way (Dao) of Heaven is not to compete yet win well,
not speaking and yet responding well,
not bidding and yet they come on their won,
not worrying much and yet the plans are good.
Here is the secret:
The net of Heaven cover a wide area,
sparse yet never lost a thing.
The Original Chinese Text and Literal Translation in English:
(You may skip it if you like. You may also use it to cross check my translation.)
勇于敢则杀,勇于不敢则活。此两者或利或害。
Too daring may end up in being killed.
Being cautious and careful and taking no action may preserve our lives.
These two things, sometimes one is good and sometimes one is bad.
天之所恶,孰知其故?是以圣人犹难之。
Who knows the reasons of what Heaven hate? Even the sages find them difficult.
天之道不争而善胜,不言而善应,不召而自来,繟然而善谋,
The Way (Dao) of Heaven is not to compete yet win well,
not speaking and yet response well,
not bidding and yet they come on their won,
planning with ease and yet the plans are good.
天网恢恢,疏而不失。
The net of Heaven cover a wide area,
sparse yet never lost a thing.

The Key Lessons:

Dao(Way of Heaven) is like a large net cast wide, sparse yet never lose its catch.
While the coverage is wide, and there are lots of flexibility and freedom given, but the principles are adhered to like the ropes, to ensure success is caught.

1 Mesh: Ropes of Principles, Missions, Objectives, Strategies

2. Wide: The Net covers a wide area and not a narrow focus.

Don't just see things from your own point of view. Don't just be concerned with your own self- interest. Extend the net of coverage and the scope. See from the viewpoints and the interests of all the possible stakeholders. Don't just see what you want to see. Ask around and get advice from the mentors and key people affected at least. Don't stop at the first solution or answer. Explore further for better solutions. Force yourself to come out with at least 3 possible solutions if not more. Compare them and have a final one that includes all the benefits and none of the harms of the solution derived earlier. Aren't these stressful work? Not at all if you have interest in them. Try asking Nadal or Federer not to play tennis or Tiger Woods not to play golf. Furthermore, a badly planned solution will create a lot of problems and complaints when implemented. Better to consider them now and find the right solutions at this time of ease.

3. Sparse:  But it is sparse with lots of holes, to let the non-important things to go.

How big should the holes be? It all depends on what you are trying to catch. Try to be as large as possible to give people flexibility and freedom in the execution of the work.

4. Caught: Yet, the strings will never miss but catch the items of importance.
Just be consistent and give enough time. Learn and adapt all the way till your big catch.

Leadership or Management is about letting go the non-importance, giving flexibility, and yet hold on(never let go despite the temptations or the pressures) the principles and key issues.

Lim Liat (c) 3 July 2013
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