Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prolonged Campaign on Art of War

Photo by vlasta2, found on Wikipedia,

The halfway point of Sun Tzu's Art of War is not just in sight, it has been passed.  I am on nook page 72 out 135.  Thank goodness.  But that reminds me of something.  So, so long ago, I wrote about a key point in the manual.  It was relevant then; it is relevant now. 

"When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened." ~   From Page 36, Part II, Number 2

The reading and studying of AoW has threatened to become the much dreaded prolonged campaign.  But Sun Tzu also pointed out:

"Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays." ~ Same page, Same part, Number 5.

Though the last part is a downer due to my procrastination, the first part is a pick-me-upper.  Haste does not make great.  The way I read it is:  if a war is not won in a day, why should I expect to the study thereof to be accomplished any faster?  You see, there is much of Sun Tzu's advice to digest.  I'll get dyspepsia of the mind if I try to consume too fast.

That reminds me of a fresher source of advice.  A Science Daily article covered a study on complex decisions and thinking with the following result:

"the volunteers who were told to consciously think about the decision for a specific amount of time performed poorly in both experiments [conducted in the study]."  (emphasis mine)

And that: 

"although unconscious thought may help us make the right decision in some instances, it is often better to rely on self-paced conscious thought and really focus on the problem at hand."
Basically, the study showed that putting a time frame on the decision resulted in poorer decision-making results than letting your unconscious decide or letting yourself decide at your own pace.  This involved complex decisions, however.  But it made me wonder:  can it be applied elsewhere in our lives?  Namely, are we wrong to set a specific time-limit on our goals?  So, I began to think, what's the harm in testing my theory out by choosing to read and study at my own pace?--as long as their is an actual pace involved.  Non-existent or when I get to it doesn't quite count, I'm afraid.  Let's see, shall we?


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