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Winning at living
Inspired by Sun Tzu and The Art of War
Intriguing how we can read a book at one time in our adult life and then again years later with it taking on a whole new meaning for us. The text hasn’t changed, the words are as they’ve always been but the message we take away, profoundly different.

In my profession as a mindset and potential coach I’ve become adept at establishing meaning and identifying connection in things I experience in my world, whichever of my senses they make their way through to get to my mind. Sharing these messages and learnings for the mind with my clients and fellow coaches whom I mentor and support has quickly become one of my most rewarding habits.

This week, for some reason of which consciously I have no idea, I found myself reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War for the second time in my life. This time, I’ve taken what I consider to be three golden quotes from the book and outlined them below. My belief is that if we take these on board and allow these principles to take hold in our mind then we shall be putting ourselves on favorable ground with much improved odds of conquering our biggest battles in day-to-day life which unquestionably arise from our own mindset and behavior.

Just like in any battle, the objective is to achieve victory and I am defining this as “the ability to realize our true potential in this life”.
“Cleverness has never been associated with long delays”

If you want something in life go out and make it happen. It won’t come to you and whether you believe in luck or not the reality is that by choosing to leave anything down to luck you are making it far less likely that you will ever actually take any action to make it happen. It’s a sad sobering day when a person realizes they mistakenly trusted their dreams into the hands of lady luck instead of actually taking steps themselves to create their ideal life.

A great many people totally underestimate what they can achieve in their life over a period of 5 or 10 years. If you’re in your 30s or 40s and you want to be thriving in your 40s and 50s living life on your own terms with the kind of freedom that is nowhere to be found in the general lifestyle culture of most societies around the world then you need to be taking actions to make that happen. These can potentially be very small in size but must be consistent in habit, otherwise known as atomic habits.

Without too much reflection at all I know that you know where potential changes need to be made in your day-to-day habits. It’s truly worth remembering that every action you take to streamline your habits is a vote for the person you want to become in life. In a world where self-confidence is so sought after among people why would you want to wait to start voting for yourself?

“Cleverness has never been associated with long delays”
– Sun Tzu – The Art of War

“He will conquer who has learnt the art of deviation”

Sun Tzu said that “whether to concentrate or divide troops must be decided by circumstances”. One of my absolute favorite presuppositions in Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is The Law of Requisite Variety which states that the person with the most flexibility controls the situation.
When it comes to mindset I have found through both coaching clients and through my own personal and professional experiences in life that being rigid and fixed in just about any perspective, behavior, habit, routine or thought pattern you can think of will ultimately prove to be a disadvantage to you.
The plan will almost always be wrong. It’s of course still usually better to have one but starting out with the mindset and expectations that anything is guaranteed and the paradigms and parameters you are operating out of are inflexible means you can’t adapt in the best way possible to challenges that will inevitably arise. This is a sure-fire way to put yourself on the edge of a cliff with the enemy surrounding you – so to speak.
Whether you’re negotiating the terms of a business deal, compromising with your teenage children or handling a hostile situation with an angry taxi driver in a foreign country, flexibility in how you think, communicate and behave is how you obtain and keep the upper hand.

“He will conquer who has learnt the art of deviation”
– Sun Tzu – The Art of War

“Do not interfere with an army that’s returning home”

​If you’re still reading then I’ll wager you’ve heard of Simon Sinek and probably read his bestselling book “Start With Why”. If you haven’t you should. The bigger our “why” the bigger our motivation is to succeed. To elaborate allow me to share another quote taken from Viktor Frankl and one of my all-time favorite books – Man’s Search for Meaning where he says that “when a man knows his why he can endure almost any how”.
Whatever you want in life and whoever you’re planning on becoming your goal should be to go after it with the passion, conviction and backbone of soldiers on their way home to be reunited with their loved ones after being separated by years of hell and managing to stay alive only from this very thought. Their purpose. There is no scenario where the soldier gives up or surrenders at this point and as Sun Tzu implied, for anyone to present themselves as an obstacle in the path of such a purpose would be, to put it lightly, a mistake.
RESOLVE – This is what we need in abundance to realize the potential we have.
The resolve of an army returning home.
The motivation you choose to assign to your goals should at the very thought of it stimulate a physiological and neurological state in your mind that leaves you feeling like a fucking behemoth. 

“Do not interfere with an army that’s returning home”
– Sun Tzu – The Art of War

Benjamin Wood
Benjamin Wood
Mindset & Potential Coach
I help people decide and become who they truly want to be in life. I do this together with you in sessions focusing on your mindset and potential, based on a blend of Executive Coaching strategies, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques and I do it well.
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