The 33 Strategies Of War Summary
In modern day warfare, be it negotiating big business in the boardroom or shooting the game-winning buzzer beater on the basketball court the same strategies military leaders used to crush their opposition on the battlefield centuries ago are still relevant today.
Enter The 33 Strategies of War.
The strongest force working against you isn't the guy sitting across the other side of the table from you, nor is it it the defender trying to block your shot.
It's your own mind.
As Robert Greene says in 'The 33 Strategies of War' we must erase the memory of the last war.
STRATEGY 1 - THE POLARITY STRATEGY
"As the opposite poles of a magnet create motion, your enemies - your opposites - can fill you with purpose and direction."
You must know how to identify your enemies in a world where direct hostility is uncommon.
Look at all of the individuals in your life - do they all have your best interest at heart?
Enemies often disguise themselves as friends to gain intelligence and plant seeds of douby in your mind.
Trust your instincts, if someones behavior seems suspicious, it probably is.
Having enemies is not necessarily a bad thing, it takes a great force to bring out another great force - it took Joe Frazier to create the legend known as Muhammad Ali!
STRATEGY 2 - THE GUERILLA-WAR-OF-THE-MIND-STRATEGY
In modern day warfare, be it negotiating big business in the boardroom or shooting the game-winning buzzer beater on the basketball court the strongest force working against you isn't the guy sitting across the other side of the table from you, nor is it it the defender trying to block your shot.
It's your own mind.
We must erase the memory of the last war.
Regardless Of What Happened Last Time You Cannot Think About It...
Forget what happened last time, as previous outcomes and strategies can destroy any chance you have of success this time.
This doesn't only apply when you've fallen short before.
Hell, it may even apply more when you've had success in the past.
Success builds momentum, but expectations are also built upon previous successes.
"I won my last three MMA fights with a right hook, so that's how I'll win this one too"
When you place too much weight on the outcome of the proverbial last war you're setting yourself up for failure when the game and the opponents have continued to grow and progress.
The same strategies in business, fighting, basketball and the gym will not always work.
STRATEGY 3 - THE COUNTERBALANCE STRATEGY
"It is vital to keep your presence of mind, maintaing your mental powers whatever the circumstances."
We're all under the illusion that we constantly make rational decisions.
Day to day when we're in a set routine this may very well be the case.
When adversity strikes this is often far from the truth.
You must build mental toughness in order to survive and thrive in chaotic situations, the kind of situations that'll leave the untrained mind in a state of panic and confusion.
You cannot buy mental toughness, you cannot read a book and instantly obtain mental toughness... you can only gain said mental toughness one way...
You must put yourself in stressful, uncomfortable situations willingly to develop the ability to thrive in the unplanned situations.
"The more conflicts and difficult situations you put yourself through, the more battle-tested your mind will be."
STRATEGY 4 - THE DEATH-GROUND STRATEGY
"Put yourself in situations where you have too much at stake to waste time or resources - if you cannot afford to lose, you won't."
When things aren't urgent we often only put in a minimal amount of effort, whether we admit it or not.
By placing yourself on the proverbial death-ground you'll force yourself to perform to succeed or die-trying.
Alexander the Great and his men arrived on the shores of Persia in 334BC, ready for war. It didn't take long for Alexander and his army of a few thousand men to realize they were vastly outnumbered.
Alexander’s men pleaded to their master that they retreat immediately and return with more men at a later date, stacking the odds in their favour.
This is the response you’d expect from 99.9% of men, no one wants to enter the battle when they’re the underdog, why fight when the odds are stacked against you?
Alexander the Great did not see this situation in the same light.
‘Burn the boats at once!’ Alexander told his men.
As their only means of retreat went up in flames, legend has it that Alexander turned to his men and said “we go home in Persian ships, or we die”
This heroic feat led to one of the greatest victories of all time.
We love to have options, Alexander’s men saw it a way that they had options
- Stay and fight
Alexander did not believe in options, one eye on the battle and one eye focused on retreat was no way to overthrow the enemy. By burning the boats he eliminated plan B for both himself and his entire army… with only one way to make it out alive 100% focus, determination and grit was to be put into the battle at hand, by focusing our mind on one thing and one thing only we too in modern times can achieve great things.
This isn’t the only victory that has resulted from a ‘do or die’ style war tactic, in 207BC Chinese general Xiang Yu ordered his men across a bridge, as his troops crossed this river bridge he set fire to the bridge behind them. This tactic was enough to motivate his troops to defeat Qin in the Battle of Julu.
Perhaps you’re working a mediocre job while working on your side hustle, you might be making a bit of cash on the side already but when are you going to go all in? When are you going to give your entrepreneurial ventures your undivided attention?
Struggling to find the motivation to stay consistent with your fitness endeavours? If you’re constantly flaking on your diet and putting off going to the gym until tomorrow burn your boats and sign yourself up for a professional photoshoot or enter a fitness show – whichever event you choose for ensure you pay in full beforehand. Now you’ve got no way out, you have to look your best otherwise you’ll be made out to be an idiot.
No ifs, no buts, no ways out.
Burn your boats and go all in, having an exit plan – a safe escape, a way out if things don’t go your way is a sure fire way to ensure mediocre levels of commitment.
Pick up your copy of The 33 Strategies of War here.