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1 – Declare War of On Your Enemies: The Polarity Strategy
Life is endless battle and conflict, and you cannot fight effectively unless you can identify your enemies. People are subtle and evasive, disguising their intentions, pretending to be on your side. Your need clarity. Learn to smoke out your enemies, spot them by the signs and patterns that reveal hostility. Then, once you have them in your sights, inwardly declare war. As the opposite poles of a magnet create motion, your enemies – your opposites – can fill you with purpose and direction. As people who stand in your way, who represent what you loathe, people to reach against, they are a source of energy. Do not be naive: with some enemies there can be no compromise, no middle ground.
2 – Do Not Fight the Last War: The Guerilla-War-Of-The Mind Strategy
What most often weighs you down and brings you misery is the past, in the form of unnecessary attachments, repetitions of tired formulas, and the memory of old victories and defeats. You must consciously wage war against the past and force yourself to reach to the present moment. Be ruthless on yourself; do not repeat the same tired methods. Sometimes you must force yourself to strike out in new directions, even if they involve risk. What you may lose in comfort and security, you will gain in surprise, making it harder for your enemies to tell what you will do. Wage guerrilla war on your mind, allowing not static lines of defense, no exposed citadels – make everything fluid and mobile.
3 – Amidst the Turmoil of Events, Do Not Lose Your Presence of Mind: The Counterbalance Strategy
In the heat of the battle, the mind tends to lose its balance. Too many things confront you at the same time – unexpected setbacks, doubts and criticisms from your own allies. There’s a danger of responding emotionally, with fear, depression, or frustration. It is vital to keep your presence of mind, maintaining your mental powers whatever the circumstances. You must actively resist the emotional pull of the moment – staying decisive, confident, and aggressive no matter what hits you. Make the mind tougher by exposing it to adversity. Learn to detach yourself from the chaos of the battlefield. Let others lose their heads; your presence of mind will steer you clear of their influence and keep you on course.
4 – Create a Sense of Urgency and Desperation: The Death-Ground Strategy
5 – Avoid the Snares of Groupthink: The Command-And-Control Strategy
6 – Segment Your Forces: The Controlled-Chaos Strategy
7 – Transform Your War Into a Crusade: Morale Strategies
8 – Pick Your Battles Carefully: The Perfect-Economy Strategy
9 – Turn The Tables: The CounterAttack Strategy
10 – Create a Threatening Presence: Deterrence Strategies
11 – Trade Space for Time: The NonEngagement Strategy
12 – Lose Battles But Win the War: Grand Strategy
13 – Know Your Enemy: The Intelligence Strategy
Train yourself to read people, picking up signals they unconsciously send about their innermost thoughts and intentions.
A friendly front will let you watch them closely and mine them for information.
Our natural tendency is to see other people as mere reflections of our own desires and values. Failing to understand the ways they are not like us, we are surprised when they do not respond as we had imagined.
Understand: if you let narcissism act as a screen between you and other people, you will misread them and your strategies will misfire.
Every individual is like an alien creature. You must get inside his or her way of thinking, not as an exercise in sensitivity but out of strategic necessity.
The greatest power you could have in life would come neither from limitless resources nor even consummate skill in strategy. It would come from clear knowledge of those around you – the ability to read people like a book.
Hiding how we feel in social situations is exhausting; being able to show ourselves is a relief. We secretly want people to know us, even including our dark side.
Even while we consciously struggle to control this hidden part of what is going on inside – slips of the tongue, tones of voice, styles of dress, nervous twitches, sudden irrational actions, a look in the eye that contradicts our words, the things we say after a drink.
Understand: day in and day out, people emit signals that reveal their intentions and deepest desires. If we do not pick them up, it is because we are not paying attention.
14 – Overwhelm Resistance with Speed and Suddenness: The Blitzkreig Strategy
15 – Control the Dynamic: Forcing Strategies
16 – Hit Them Where it Hurts: The Center-of-Gravity Strategy
17 – Defeat Them in Detail: The Divide-And-Conquer Strategy
18 – Expose and Attack Your Opponent’s Soft Flank: The Turning Strategy
19 – Envelop the Enemy: The Annihilation Strategy
20 – Maneuver Them in Weakness: The Ripening-For-The Sickle Strategy
21 – Negotiate While Advancing: The Diplomatic-War Strategy
22 – Know How to End Things: The Exit Strategy
The worst way to end anything – a war, a conflict, a relationship – is slowly and painfully.
Before entering into any action, you must calculate in precise terms your exit strategy.
Never let pride or concern for your reputation pull you farther into the morass; both will suffer far greater blows by your persistence.
Short-term defeat is better than long-term disaster.
Wisdom is knowing when to end.
What you need is a more fluid and strategic outlook on life. Nothing ever really ends; how you finish something will influence and even determine what you do next.
This fluid kind of thinking will force you to put more strategic emphasis on the quality and mood of the ending.
It will make you look at your opponents and decide whether you might do better to be generous to them at the end, taking a step back and transforming them into allies, playing on the emotions of the moment.
By understanding that any victory or defeat is temporary, and that what matters is what you do with them, you will find it easier to keep yourself balanced during the thousands of battles that life entails.
The only real ending is death. Everything else is a transition.
The third group compromises those who understand a primary law of power and strategy: the end of something – a project, a campaign, a conversation – has inordinate importance for people. It resonates in the mind.
Knowing the importance and the emotional resonance of the ending of anything, people of the third type understand that the issue is not simply finishing what they have started but finishing it well – with energy, a clear head, and an eye on the afterglow, the way the evening will linger in people’s minds.
These types invariably being with a clear plan. When setbacks come, as setbacks will, they are able to stay patient and think rationally.
They plan not just to the end but past it, to the aftermath.
There is, in fact, nothing harder in the realm of strategy than keeping our head on straight all the way to the end and past the end – yet nothing is more necessary.
What you need is a strategic their eye: the ability to stay focused on the future while operating in the present and ending your actions in a way that will serve your interests for the next round of war.
Endings in purely social relationships demand a sense of the culminating point as much as those in war. A conversation or story that goes on too long always ends badly.
Overstaying your welcome, boring people with your presence, is the deepest failing: you should leave them wanting more of you, not less.
In general, it is always best to end with energy and flair, on a high note.
Since defeat is inevitable in life, you must master the art of losing well and strategically.
See it as a temporary setback, something to wake you up and teach you a lesson, and even as you lose, you end on a high note and with an edge: you are mentally prepared to go on the offensive in the next round.
You must welcome defeat as a way to make yourself stronger.
You must see any defeat as a way to demonstrate something positive about yourself and your character to other people.
If you see that defeat is inevitable, it is often best to go down swinging. That was you end on a high note even as you lose.
Finally, since any ending is a kind of beginning on the next phase, it is often a wise strategy to end on an ambivalent note.