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Let us put straight one common error; defensive action is not fragility. It can give the seeming impression of weakness, which could prove advantageous to catch your adversary off-guard, but such an impression is merely a ruse that misleads the enemy into rash aggression. Defensive warfare is calculated intelligence, a high-powered mode of execution. It consists in being ingenious and mindfully inexpensive, engaging only in the vital battles. Consequently, careful withdrawal is essential, you must know how to compel the enemy into misguided hostility, draining his force for a catastrophic counter-blow. As a substitute to undisguised antagonism, which is often disapproved of, defensive action allows you to let the enemy initiate battle, leveraging his errors by playing the waiting game. Through feigning weakness, you compel an unwise attack. Through feigning more powerful, you dissuade your enemy from striking. Defensive action, then, is transforming weakness (or seeming weakness) into control and conquest.
Reward and Sacrifice
When war is inescapable, fight on your conditions. Identify their shortcomings and leverage them wisely. Furthermore, battle on your conditions means that it will be more costly for them and more reasonable for you. You must know, then, how to entice them into your territory by appealing to their concerns. An attractive objective clouds judgement, diluting likely trouble and accentuating potential profit. Thus, if you could coerce your enemy into an alluring pitfall, you can exhaust him to the point of miscalculation. The lack of energy that comes with fatigue will generate error and unexpected drawbacks which are beneficial. It is important to discern, moreover, that the more desired the prize, the more recompense in investigating its sacrifice. Both the indefinable and clear costs must be examined beforehand. In this manner, you are essentially exercising foresight to consider all conceivable variables unclouded by the appeal of the prize. Often, the very allure of a reward will muddle your judgement of its complexity and misleads you into overlooking its cost. If you look back through history, you will find that it is pervaded with the remains of people who paid no attention to the expenses of potential winnings.
Assail their Weakness with Power
There is a general truth in warfare; attack their weak points with your strong points. A group is neither fully strong nor weak. All forces have vulnerable flaws, no matter how indestructible their external morale may seem. In the grand scheme of things, weakness will always have a fragment of concealed strength that could be expanded and compounded, even in the feeble forces. Conversely, a recognized strength, such as a large army, could prove a shortcoming in its conclusion. There is always an element of unpredictability that could potentially transfigure advantage and limitation. In the first place, you must know where you’re aiming at before you strike, evaluate where your enemy’s weaknesses lie; governmental issues, lack of confidence, conceit, egotism etc. During your appraisal, concealment of your shortcomings is important in the conservation of your long-term strength. Once you have identified the enemy’s vulnerable points, you must calculatedly and repeatedly attack them. If you want to dispirit your enemy’s force, exploit their vulnerability and devour it. Your aggression will lead to their depletion, which will uncover new vulnerabilities. The wise calibration of strong and weak points is indispensable to knowingly break down your enemy. To sum up, locate their vulnerabilities and leverage your power to capitalize on their weak points.
Creativity and Ingenuity
A warrior is ingenious, he employs his strengths innovatively and shifts his emphasis on what is in his power. He preserves equilibrium through deliberate restraint, regeneration and endurance. Warriors, possessing exceptional foresight, vigilantly orient themselves for the long term, planning ahead of time to ensure they avoid unpredicted exploitation and place themselves in the most favourable situation. Resources and riches are beneficial when put into good service but groups who apparently have a surplus of resources are disposed to grow indolent and foreseeable as a consequence. The abundance of materials and assets compels them to have a dependency on their benefits, setting aside understanding and the grand design. They deal with difficulty by accumulating more resources, neglecting the benefits they already have and never finding a use for it through their lack of ingenuity. Thus, a profusion of assets deprives you of necessity and dulls your creative faculty, the same faculty that stimulates resourcefulness.
Let us presume that your enemy is your equivalent, under such circumstance, resourcefulness is more important than acquiring more stock. Conversely, if your enemy is not your equivalent and you have more resources, operating inexpensively is not a choice but a prerequisite. There will be times where disregarding your virtues and maximising resourcefulness will prove most advantageous. People such as Picasso advocated the notion of acting deprived irrespective of how wealthy you are. You see, the impoverished can teach us that creativity stems from destitution and there is substantial value to be gained from having less.
Ends Justify the Means
A plan is only worthwhile so long as you have a means to justify it. If your plan is to make a million dollars in a decade but your means to obtain it does not align with your end-goal, this is simply wishful thinking. Flip the script and evaluate your resources before initiating a master plan to fulfil it. What resources do you have in your possession? Do they justify your end-goal? Hannibal’s operation continually started out with assessing his forces’ structure and means and that of the enemy’s, all the assorted elements and particular parts of the enemy’s force and environment. The appraisal would lay out the basis for his plan of action and more importantly, the desired ends for this course of action. As a synopsis, Hannibal repeatedly attuned his ends to the means through calculated judgement of both his force and his adversary’s.
Give yourself space to profoundly deliberate on what resources you have at your disposal, grounding yourself in reality rather than wishful thinking. Figure out where your benefits lie and how they can contribute effectively to your ends, understand thoroughly what your capabilities are as well as those of the group. If you’re leading a group of people, you must know their fundamental temperament and morale and consider how to ingeniously put them to good use. Once you have gathered the relevant intelligence, you simply attune your ends accordingly. The formula, then, is the accumulation of useful information related to your resources and the diligent planning and adjustment of the ends to the means.