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How to Prevent Self-Sabotage with Sun Tzu Art of War

Whether you are a leader or follower, over the peak or climbing your way up, feeling the pinch of this economy or doing well now, you know deep inside very well that you can do much better.


I am not talking about doing 10% or 20% better, I'm talking about double or triple your results. From your past experience, you know this is possible as you have done this before. But why are you where you are now?  Is it the economy or is it because you are at a certain stage of your life cycle?

Sun Tzu in the Art of War 孙子兵法 said that war is inevitable, and we must win all the way, for failure is not an option. He also said that there are 5 factors that determine the outcome of any war: Purpose, Lead, Climate, Support and Methods.  The foremost among them is Purpose, for if you have a strong and compelling purpose, you have already won in your hearts.

To drive and inspire yourself to greatness, you need to have a strong purpose. That means having the vision and mission.

Despite having all these, many people still don't make it. They tried very hard and yet success often eludes them. Sun Tzu in the Art of War said that we must win to fight, not fight to win. If you fight to win, the price of winning could be very high.  That may deter you from future winnings. Ask people that have tried many times to win a championship in a singing contest if they would like to contest again, they would say no. Because the process of winning is so grueling, just the thought of it will make you freeze.

That's why people cannot repeat their own success or prevent themselves from becoming successful or becoming more successful. Psychologists called this self-sabotage.  Self-sabotage happens when we sabotage our own success, i.e. we make ourselves not successful. I'm sure you know of many situations where you know every well you can do much better but you justify yourself that 'it's okay to take it easy and go slow' and you simply let go of the opportunities for you to be more successful.

In the Art of War, self-sabotage comes from 'win at all cost', which is the most damaging type of winning.  When we win at all costs, we win but that win produces self-sabotage later on. Sun Tzu said the best is to win to fight, and to win without fighting, through the use of strategies and stratagems. Stratagems are covered in another related book called 36 Stratagems 三十六计

For more on how to inspire and drive people using ideas about 'deception', 'spies' and 'fire', come for our latest course on 26 July 2017 Thursday 2 to 5.30 pm. Special discounts for our blog readers, you can get 50% discount, at only $99 instead of $199.  Click here or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and registration

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