The art of war, by Sun Tzu is considered to be a brilliant book that inspires entrepreneurs as business is indeed a form of war!
As an aspiring entrepreneur who is on a quest for improvement and knowledge, this book has become one of my favourites. Finding a mentor to advise you is difficult and I believe there are many people who aspire to create and do things, but have limited or no access to mentoring. Being part of this group myself, I believe this book can be a silent mentor to guide us to new perspectives.
I have been reading this book many times as I find its tranquility and intensity to be a unique combination, but sometimes I cannot help feeling awe at how Sun Tzu’s words can be so true, even after so many centuries, in aspects other than war.
So what can aspiring entrepreneurs learn from the art of war?
Sun Tzu says that “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”.
This is not random as even throughout a crisis, a smart and flexible entrepreneur will find and grasp an opportunity whose time has come but most people are to occupied to notice.
What kind of opportunity? It can be something very simple or very complex. The important point is to remain tranquil and open minded so as to identify and take the opportunity.
But, to my mind, the art of war teaches us that simply taking the opportunity is not enough.
Sun Tzu says “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”.
I believe that this approach focuses on one of the key ingredients of success: planning and preparation.
Doing your research about the business you aim to set up is a major step and a time consuming process that cannot be skipped – it does pay off however! The more you prepare, the better skilled and equipped you will be in order to successfully tackle any challenge. This, by no means, does not mean that there is zero probability and risk of failure!
Granted, Sun Tzu says much more through his war approach but these 2 quotes are the most well suited to aspiring entrepreneurs, men and women, who seek to widen their horizons and challenge their minds with new things to think about.
So, hard work, vision, skill and patience is required in all cases. Even if things are not as positive as we would like them to be, knowing thyself – as Socrates once said – will only empower you. And those moments of darkness and doubt? Well, those only make the warrior stronger. Besides, as in sports, the athlete who has trained, body and soul, is not afraid of the game.
Thoughts and feedback on what we can learn from ancient – and modern – philosophers are greatly appreciated!