05 November 2016

The Utmost Winner - More than a Conqueror - DaoDeJing 68

The common wisdom is that we must fight in order to win. But Lao Zi teaches us otherwise. The very best winners fight not. He gets the support from everyone including his enemy and therefore he is a more than a conqueror. DaoDeJing 68
DaoDeJing Chapter 68 Text and Translation

1 善为士者不武,
The skillful/master-class warrior does not go around starting fights.

2 善战者不怒,
The skillful warrior is not easily provoked.

3 善胜敌者不与,
The skillful winner doesn't give opportunities to the enemy.

4 善用人者为之下,
The good leader of people knows how to serve others.

5 是谓不争之德,
This is called the virtue of non-contention.

6 是谓用人之力,
This is called using the strengths of people.

7 是谓配天,古之极也。
This is called harmonizing with heaven and following its highest laws.

What is 'More than a Conqueror?
A conqueror to the hard work of fighting to win over an enemy. Though he wins, he may have to suffer injury and loss. There are two ways to be more than a conqueror.
  • One way is to get others to do the fighting (verse 6). 
  • The second and better way to convert the enemy to a friend (verse 1-3).
    In such a case, you don't worry that he will rebel against you, unlike the earlier cases when the conquered enemy is always looking for the opportunity to strike back.
The Best Strategy is to Win without a Fight - Sun Zi
It is common knowledge that Sun Zi's Art of War teaches us how to win every time (百战百胜 Hundred battles hundred victories).  But do you know that Sun Zi says that winning every battle is not the best; the best is to win without a fight (Art of War Chapter 3. ). This is what Lao Zi tells us here.  The master-class warrior does not solve problems by a fight. He is not easily provoked to start a fight but remains calm and reasonable to settle issues without a fight. He also does not give reasons not opportunities for the enemy to start a fight.

The Secrets of Winning the Heart and Mind
How do you win over the enemy to become your friends? The answers are given the verses 4-6.  It is about leadership and using the strengths of people, including the enemy. To do that, you must know their needs and serve them rather than bossing over them. Love, know, persuade and serve them that they are also committed to the shared mission. Never content for the benefits. Share or give them to serve others. Then they do not see you as their competitors but as friends. Assign them tasks that match their personality traits and talents so that they can work with passion and excellence.

Harmonizing with Heaven and Its Laws
The created world of nature is filled with multiple varieties of species growing in abundance and in harmony. The ways of its working, the Dao, is the principles and laws for us to follow if we want to live in success and happiness. Make friends and not enemies. Follow the Dao of Heaven.

Lim Liat(c) 5 Nov 2016

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