“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battle is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.”
The Art of War by Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher Sun Tzu is considered one of the most influential military strategic books written but also one that prompted philosophical thinking too. Many of its teachings have been and continue to be used today. It is what he said in today’s quote that really resonated with me and that is being able to subdue our enemy (which could be another person or even ourselves) without fighting is where true skill lies.
We all strive for excellence both personally and professionally. The question is do we strive for that same excellence, or as Sun Tzu put it that “supreme excellence” when it comes to our social awareness and relationship skills? Conflicts with others, whether it be with friends, family or people we don’t ever really see eye to eye with are bound to happen. This all even includes internal conflict with ourselves. When a conflict arises, we have to remember to keep a calm and level head about things, realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it is ok to agree to disagree. No harm, no foul.
We need to remove ourselves from the point that we are trying to get across and look at things through the other person’s perspective not matter how much we may disagree with their stance. We need to hear them and see where they are coming from. It is the same thing we would want them to do for us when we are trying to get our own point across. When we do this it shows a mutual respect for one another.
Relationships can either strengthen or weaken depending on how conflict is handled. Fighting only further damages things and often times the recovery period is very long and sadly may never fully be repaired based on what may have been said or even what may have been done on both sides. It takes us so long to build up our relationships, to develop that trust with one another but all it takes is one bad and hurtful fight to have those proverbial walls come crashing down all around that relationship. It’s not worth going through all that anguish and pain. If we remember to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed then I believe both our social awareness and relationship skills will not only survive but flourish.
So in order to achieve supreme excellence we need to work hard to use our skill sets to improvise ways in which we can all come to a compromise when conflict arises. If we have a plan already in place with those we care about the most then peace and harmony can and will truly exist.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards becoming more socially aware and improve our relationship skills?