Conflict is ingrained in our daily lives whether we try to avoid it or not. The options aren’t limited to being aggressive or passive aggression- and that’s why I picked up the book ‘The Art Of War‘ by Sun Tzu.
I thought that growing up in an auto city made it easy for me to learn about conflict. My conflict resolution skills, however, were limited. The absolute second I walked into the workforce, I learned not to clap my hands between syllables – but it took me awhile to stop throwing chairs. Enter The Art Of War.
Sun Tzu recommends knowing when to fight and when not to fight, by knowing thy self and thy enemy. (I use “thy” now that I’ve read this book FYI….)
Conflict resolution, for me, began with know thyself, by learning my strengths and weaknesses. I did a ton of self-exploration when I moved away by reading self-help books, attending therapy, and I eventually started taking medication. I learned my triggers, boundaries, and a series of incredibly witty comebacks from shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and the entire Real Housewives series like “HA! I’m unbothered” <insert hair flip>. But still, I needed to refine my conflict resolution.
Sun Tzu insists that if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. And battles could be anything from corporate negotiations, discussing terms & conditions with a new romantic partner, or trying to survive a Black Friday Sale.
Another golden nugget is: deceive the enemy (modern translation: probably your ex? A high school bully?) by appearing weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak. So post skinny photos of you on Instagram during you winter weight days to make your nemesis’ cringe – cover up when your body’s banging. Save it for showing up at the club. I’m a club kinda girl.
Other references that applied to me were “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.” In modern times, this means that you think before you act. And for me, this meant that I shouldn’t get into arguments or conversations with people when I was angry. When I’m angry, everything comes out wrong. Using this lesson, I now think about what mood I’m in before I act. I let myself feel. And if I feel angry, I walk away from engaging until my anger dissipates.
In my view, The Art Of War is actually teaching us not to rely on the enemy never coming, but on our readiness to receive them. Sun Tzu implores us to involve strategies in all conflicts. From a modern aspect, we can take what Sun Tzu has written and apply it to relationships, office politics, and especially to the business world And if you really dislike an EX, then you can apply it to your social media accounts as well. Sometimes you just need the upper hand, am I right?
As long as you can stay interested in the writing style, which I’ve heard some others have had an issue with, The Art Of War is definitely worth your while.
If you or a loved one you know has a mental health issue, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.