18 July 2018

Discovering Inner Desires - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#10 C8 摩篇 Probe

The last post is about appreciation of the situation and discovery of intentions. This post a follow-up into the discoveries of the inner desires of the people involved. It is based on the principle that what is inside will be revealed in the response to when probed. How that can be done is presented here.
The Principle of Reaction:

The inner intentions will be revealed in the external reaction when probed appropriately.

The Keys to Probing Rightly:
  1.  Probing without Detection:
     If detected, they will hide, distort or even mislead you.
  2.  Probing without leaving any trace.
     If any trace is left, they will be discovered and they can take corrective and preventive actions.
  3. Go by being like them - Familiarity engages.
    GuiGuZi said that dry wood will catch fire first. Damp ground will soak up the water first.
    Be like them, earn the trust, and the rights to be listened to and to ask.
    Go by their types and by their desires. 
Discovering 10 Types of Desires:
  1. Stability - No Change. Keep the status-quo
  2. Righteousness - Make sure it is right and fair to everyone.
  3. Happiness /Hedonism
  4. Anger - Give me revenge. I want to get even.
  5. Fame and Glory.
  6. Success - Make sure it succeeds.
  7. Clean and fugal- No-Corruption. 
  8. Trustworthiness - Fulfill expectation
  9. Benefits - Gains.
  10. Insecurity - Give me assurances and praises. Let me be in control.
The Ideals:
  1. For planning, it must be both complete and detailed.
  2. For persuasion, it must be complete listening 
  3. For execution, it must be completed successfully.
The Best Leadership - Quiet Execution:

The best kind of leadership is to do things as quietly as possible, over a long period of time, and let the result do the talking. It is the accumulation of good works and the winning effortless (win without engaging in any war and consume no resources). Planning must be done in secret and executed stealthily so that the result will surprise the people and yet the people know not how. Drawing attention will just invite interferences and distortions to the execution of the plan. Such a leadership matches well with Lao Zi's teaching on Levels of Leadership - Can We Measure Leadership?


1. Probe: must know their personalities and desires and probe accordingly and lightly without detection and leaving no trace. Start with observation.
2. Ideals: Strategize(complete, detailed), Persuade(listening), Execution (completion & success)
3. Be like them to get trust and disclosures.
4. Appeal to their desires and get listening, agreement and support
5. Must be done at the right time, not distracted by initial success, and persistence to completion.

09 July 2018

Modern Science is Proving Ancient Chinese Wisdom

In this article, ‘Smarter, Faster, Better’: The New Science of Productivity, we find the following statements:
  • “Productivity begins with motivation; and motivation, according to the research Duhigg cites, begins with control — or more precisely, the location of control. Psychologists have been considering the question of our “locus of control” since the 1950s. Those with an external locus of control have a sense of life happening to them; they believe their lives are primarily influenced by forces outside their control. Those with an internal locus of control, by contrast, feel in charge of their own destiny and attribute success or failure to their own efforts. An internal locus of control yields vastly superior results. ”

Rule Out from Within:
Modern thinking, they even call it New Science, is just finding evidence to support the teaching of Ancient Chinese wisdom。 In fact, the original Chinese wisdom covers more. Ancient Chinese have always taught that people should rule out from within. 

Zhuangzi of Dao School 庄子: 内圣外王 Internal Saint to be External King
Mencius of Confucianism 孟子: 内修外治 Internal development to rule externally.

Confucianism has the following 8 Steps of ruling from self to the world.
See: Understanding The Great Learning DaXue in One Minute

Choose where You have Strength
Further on in the article, we find, "“Find a choice, almost any choice, that allows you to exert control.”

This rings well Sun Zi Art of War's teaching:
Sun Zi: Choose the battle you can win. Never fight for glory or pride or out of anger.
Stretched Smart Goals = 志向 Aspiration 
Aspiration is the teaching of Confucianism. In the Book of I-Ching, the root of Chinese Philosophies, the first hexagram is Qian or Heaven. Heaven represents the creative force with endless innovations.
天行健,君子以自强不息" Confucius commented on it as the Heaven is always creating and hence wisemen should do likewise, always motivating oneself to continue to create without end.

The general can lose his aspiration (he just lose the battle),
but a common man cannot lose his aspiration. (Aspiration is the purpose of living)

1. Know shame to have the right ambition/aspiration.
2. Work hard to achieve and fan the aspirations.
3. Learn and progress to keep/extend the aspirations.

“Productive people and companies force themselves to make choices most people are content to ignore.”

Lim Liat (c) 9 Jul 2018

The Integrated Chinese Philosophies - Stoicism

It may surprise you, as it has surprised me, that an Ancient Greek philosophy could integrate the key aspects of 3 Ancient Chinese Philosophies of Dao, Ru, and Art of War. That Western philosophy is Stoicism.

The most common understanding, or rather misunderstanding, of Stoicism, is given in the dictionary as:
"The endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint." So we have the idea that Stoicism is about being cold-blooded, emotionless. On the contrary, Stoicism is not emotionless but the right emotional management and is actually emotional maturity. 

From Dictionary.com again, It is "an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge; the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain."

Relationships with Chinese Philosophies

Sun Zi's Art of War teaches us to go only by evidence, facts, and insider knowledge, and never rely on fortune-telling, superficial events, nor even past experience. Every decision must be based on calculations, evaluations, and planning must be done first before action. Never start a war to gain glory nor be instigated and angered to get even. Leaders must always be calm and bold to go by the cold evidence and clear thinking. This agrees with part 1 virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge; of the above definition.

Lao Zi's Dao School of Philosophy teaches us to follow after the Way of Dao - the Way of the Created Order - the Nature and Heaven. We are to live in harmony with Dao and never go against it. This is part 2,  "the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature"

Confucianism teaches us to have aspirations. To grow up to be an independent and contributive person. 己欲立而立人,己欲达而达人。One must be able to stand up(successful) and then help others to stand up and successful too. Mencius, the 2nd to Confucius, in Confucius' Ru School of philosophy defines what is a mature or great man. 富貴不能淫,貧賤不能移,威武不能屈。此之謂 大丈夫。He is the one who is not corrupted by wealth and honor (and the pleasures they bring), not move by poverty nor low standing in society, and not threatened by force. That is part 3 " indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain."

More on Stoicism:
A search on the teaching of Stoicism on the internet will give us more details. A good one is from https://www.njlifehacks.com/what-is-stoicism-overview-definition-10-stoic-principles/ The content is great. It says a true Stoic Person looks like:

1. He is serene and confident no matter what you throw at him.
2. She acts out of reason, not emotion.
3. He focuses on what he controls and does not worry about what he can’t control.
4. She accepts fate graciously and tries to make the best of it.
5. He appreciates what he has and does never complain.
6. She is kind, generous, and forgiving towards others.
7. His actions are prudent and he takes full responsibility.
8. She is calm and not attached to external things.
9. He possesses practical wisdom, justice & benevolence, courage & self-discipline.
10. She lives in harmony with himself, mankind, and nature.

We can see that Stoicism is not without emotion but with managed emotion. He is not easily stirred up by events nor the actions of others. He always maintains his composure and reasoning ability. He is bold and will act on the right course of action from his reasoning. He has true moral standards defined by the Creator and lives in harmony with those standards.

Lim Liat (c) 9 Jul 2018
Update 14-May 2021

Recently, Ryan Holidays, https://ryanholiday.net/50-short-rules-for-life-from-the-stoics/, has a 50-short rules that provide greater details on how to do Stoicism. Since 50 is too many to start, I regroup them in a mind-map below: