The Annotated Art of War (Parts 7.30-32: Calm)
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Annotated Art of War > Parts 7.30-32: Calm
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|Sun Tzu said:
30. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub
amongst the enemy:--this is the art of retaining self-possession.
||There is much in
warfare that in civilian situations would cause panic and
disorder. Such discomfort is a waste of energy, draining spirit and
creating a dangerous state of unreadiness.
A lack of discipline is also a recipe for chaos and panic.
Disciplined troops are quietly confident and are in control of
themselves. With external discipline they gain internal
self-discipline and so can reach a state of calm in the hardest of
Calmness does not mean lethargy or a lack of readiness. The calm
warrior is always ready. They just do not need to sustain a state of
tension to be observant and able to respond at a moment's notice.
The same is true in business. Those who have an assured calm make
better leaders and are more successful. They are not lazy. They are
just conserving their energies for where true value can be
A lack of calm is often shown as stress, which can wear people
out and break them without external intervention.
|31. To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to wait at ease
while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy is
famished:--this is the art of husbanding one's strength.
and spirit are what you need in battle. When you are not fighting or
marching, you should conserve the energies you will need later.
you can cause your enemy to lose their calm, always keeping them on
edge, then when you meet you will have a significant advantage.
|32. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners are in perfect order,
to refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm and confident array:--this is
the art of studying circumstances.
||Striking at the enemy
requires good timing. Panicked troops or those who want only to
fight will lash out. Keeping cool and calm lets you wait for the
It also requires calm to stand firm or retreat in an orderly way
in the face of an advancing superior force.
To be faced with a calm army is in itself fearful. In war, those
who lose their cool first may consequently lose the fight.