The Greatest Warriors Are Never Heroes

Over 2,500 years ago, during a time of great civil war in ancient China, a successful Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu wrote “Master Sun’s Military Methods,” which eventually became known in book form as The Art of War. For thousands of years, the guidance contained in this book has been used with great success by military commanders – as well as in politics, sports and business. Here are a few of the more notable quotes from this military treatise:

Every battle is won before it is fought.
• The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
• It’s more important to out-think your enemy than to out-fight him.
• Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

Of course, there are many translations (at least nine different translations in English), so many variations exist throughout the world. My favorite quote from Master Tzu is a paraphrase, which in my opinion sums up the four quotes listed above into one line:

  • The greatest warriors are never heroes.

The very best military commanders, the very best presidents, the very best coaches and the very best business leaders haven’t had to be heroes. Not to say we shouldn’t celebrate American legends (John Adams, Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, Samuel Adams – all American heroes, all from the same family), but these men and women we call heroes were prompted to act because they each had a vision (although another American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, actually had a dream) and were also willing to put in the hard work, persevere, and endure the hardships that it took for them to be great warriors. They prepared themselves to achieve a greater purpose than what they as individuals could ever hope, or want, to achieve. They didn’t have to be the hero that saved the day. They were great warriors every day, which put them in a position so that they were more likely to be successful when they were thrust into adversity. Because of the way they lived their lives, people were inspired to follow them. Their inspiration lives on today and will live on after we’re gone.

Every person who has taken the time to read this today, has taken the time to consider their greater purpose and understands the effort and the attitude it takes to accomplish it, has already taken the first steps on their journey to their envisioned future. Our biggest challenge at ZipTie is helping you clarify your greater purpose to your team, helping you connect the dots between your vision and your resources and helping you fill the gaps or the shortfalls (the “white space”) between your people, process and technology so your business continues to inspire lives long after we’re gone.

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