The Art of War (II)

“In war the rule is as follows: if our superiority is in the magnitude of ten to one, surround the enemy; if of five to one, attack them; and if it is of two to one, divide the army in two. ”

Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”, Chapter III: Attacking Through Stratagems

Let’s take soldiers as resources; Aaresource does not have to be a person or an object, it can be a personal characteristic: our technical ability, or even willpower.

When our ability is so superior to the task that we are sure to be able to crush it like an insect once the decision to do it is made, there is no hurry. Let it be until absolutely necessary, or save it as a source of motivation, for a time when our energy is low and we can feast on an easy victory.

Tasks that, on the other hand, we feel capable of doing, but not effortlessly, should be tackled as soon as possible, as leaving them pending is giving the enemy time to increase their numbers, or to strengthen their position. A task, a project, an obligation – all of these things tend to take on a life of their own when left alone for too long. They fester like wounds. Take them on while you have the advantage.

And what about challenges? A challenge requires consideration. It takes strategy – should we split the army in two to flank? Or split it in two to attack as a comparable force, and keep a cool half as reserves, ready to move forward in second wave, crushing a tired enemy? Maybe the split is done as a way to enable the use of guerrilla tactics?

For tasks, commitments, projects, obligations – for these we have the simple answers described above. Do it now, or leave it for later, depending on the power differential.

But for a challenge, there are no simple answers; each situation requires its own strategy, its own dose of preparation. There is only one certainty: a disorganised charge will get us nowhere.