‘Art Of War’ For Relationships
Sun Tzu’s Art of War was originally written to guide militaries to conquer their enemies in the field of battle. But over a period of time, the book has been applied to business, management, sports, and many other fields. The ancient Chinese treatise is one of the best works on managing conflicts and winning battles. While it gives you an understanding of human nature to best your enemies —the strategies in this book can also assist in navigating relationships. Here are some selected lessons from Art of War that can help you face your biggest relationship challenges.
Lesson 1: no one profits from prolonged warfare (don’t let the fights go on forever)
Master Sun believes long battles aren’t beneficial for anyone. While conflicts are a part of life —the best course of action is to find a resolution and move on.
“Prolonged fights take their toll on relationships and damage the bond between two people” says Alex Reynolds of EMUCoupon. “The sooner you find out the solution, the better it is for you and your partner.”
To make sure that a fight is not dragging on, step back, and figure out what the real issue is. Is there a communication gap between both individuals? Are the egos of the partners getting in the way? Once you understand the root of the problem, work with the other person to find a solution. Even major wars end in a compromise, you’re just figuring out a relationship.
Lesson 2: know yourself, know the enemy (self-awareness is the key)
Anyone who knows themselves and their enemy will always achieve success. This is the ultimate recipe of triumph according to Sun Tzu. Not knowing yourself and your enemy means you will lose all battles and gain nothing. Knowing only yourself means one will suffer a defeat for every victory. While we don’t consider our partners as our enemies (hopefully), understanding their needs and that of our own is key to a healthy relationship. It’s all about trying to grasp another person’s perspective and doing some soul searching at the same time. Whether it’s buying a gift for your significant other or learning their insecurities —knowing others is essential for a relationship to grow.
Lack of self-awareness or understanding of other people’s feelings leads to instinctive and reactionary decisions. These stall a relationship rather than taking it forward and creating an endless struggle. A better alternative is to have an open and honest discussion with your partner. This way, you will not only know where your partner is coming from —but also get an insight into your unconscious mind.
Lesson 3: in the midst of chaos, there is opportunity (uncertainty creates chances)
Master Sun thinks there are opportunities within uncertain times. The chaotic field of battle creates several situations that good generals can use to their advantage. Similar opportunities arise when a relationship is going through a rough patch. When you’re at a low point, it’s the perfect time to address some of the deep-seated issues. People don’t generally bring positive changes in relationships when things are going well. It’s the hard times that provide us with an opportunity to see what’s lacking.
Utilizing these involves taking a great bit of risk but they can pay off in a major way. What matters is that you remain calm and keep an open mind.
Lesson 4: win the fight without fighting (don’t tear down others)
In the Art of War, winning battles without ever engaging in a fight is called “supreme excellence”. Applying this to relationships would mean we resolve conflict without attacking, shaming, and bringing down others. Whether it’s your partner or any other individual, don’t try to one-up someone to make yourself feel superior. This will never lead to anything good. When people are made to feel miserable and unworthy —they become resentful of others. This creates further troubles down the road.
Try to end disputes at the start so it never goes to the point where you’re tearing the other person down. If for some reason, things work out in your favor, be humble, and make amends with the other person.
Lesson 5: opportunities multiply as they are seized (success breeds success)
Sun Tzu especially emphasized the importance of momentum. Once you achieve something, build on it. Celebrate your success but don’t become content with it. Strive for more. If you have gotten past an issue that was a bone of contention in your relationship, build a mechanism that will resolve disputes like that in the future. The lessons learned here should be utilized in subsequent issues. This will stop a prolonged conflict that can dent even the strongest of bonds.
The Art of War gives us plenty of lessons that can be used to steer a relationship. Ancient Chinese wisdom is a great source of inspiration for anyone seeking to overcome the hurdles of life. Whether it’s love or war, Sun Tzu’s strategies can assist you in scoring major wins.
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