|Sun Tzu said:
17. Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is
something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.
||There is a difference
between action and advantageous action. A need to act without seeing
the advantage of doing so greatly risks disadvantage.
to such as movement, using troops and fighting. Action without
advantage is waste.
|18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own
spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.
||It is not unknown for
rulers to be ruled by their emotions more than their heads, though
emotional decisions in war kills many people and may lose the war.
The same happens with business managers who make decisions out of
personal ambition or ill-founded 'gut feel'. This is a key reason
why many Mergers & Acquisitions fail, despite expenditure of many
|19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you
||Move when there is
advantage to be gained and where this outweighs the ever-present
risk of moving.
The underlying principle is to constantly
understand advantage and disadvantage, and to keep acquiring
information that will give you the knowledge as to how to make this
|20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by
||Emotions do not stay.
Anger fades, as does happiness, sadness and other emotions. We each
have a temperamental level of good and bad feeling.
So if you are
moved to action by your feelings, wait.
|21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into
being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.
||Whilst a kingdom may
be built again, it is not the same kingdom and will never operate in
quite the same way. Defeat changes people. So be careful in
conquest, lest you destroy that which you seek to gain.
spend the lives of soldiers, they are gone forever. Yet it is a
commander's job to send people to their deaths. So do so wisely and
for worthwhile advantage.
|22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of
caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.
||Fight only when you
need to. Destroy only that which you must. Seek always to avoid
unnecessary damage and to bring the war to a rapid conclusion.