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Clarity and Calculation
You can be certain that men in great quantities can be overpowering. However, when their bravery is dismantled by a hero, anxiety makes them dizzy. And the larger the quantities, the more violent the trepidation. It can loom to such an intensity that no commander can pacify it with incentive or drive. No superior can kindle that initial belief by withdrawal. The more he attempts to reinstate their animation, the more uneasy the warriors in turn feel. Nonetheless, even within the bounds of a heated and ambitious domain, there are favourable moments to mitigate suffering by logical and methodical synergy. If you wish to turn down a man’s arms, employ the powers of articulation, not the rumbles of hot-blooded judgements. A commander shall always be more single-minded, firm and resolute in misfortune than the warriors he shepherds.
A commander’s conviction is significant. If he is sure of himself and of his warriors’ dominance, he is more disposed to remain vigilant and ensure that he flustered and disconcerted the enemy. If a leader wants to secure victory, he must outmanouevre his antagonist. Further, the sharp commander should conspire and organize to expose the adversary when he’s disordered. Usually when he’s traversing laborious territory while the commander is secreted, in repose and patiently waiting for the golden chance, the unforeseen attack. Even better would be to catch the adversary slumbering while your warriors are wide awake and ready for war. There’s but one thing more spine-chilling than a psyched up horde of warriors with weapons in hand, and that’s when they are bullishly darting toward you.
Foresight and Unity
An astute commander can entice the enemy, only to disconcert his attentiveness. He is ready to be hunted, only to turn and annihilate his competitors. Time and again, there has to be inexorable spoliation before the novel and plentiful can emerge and materialize. As much as possible, a shrewd commander must recognise his enemy’s game plan and ensure to furnish him with the fitting fallacious details to keep him stumped and misguided. And if the commander presses them to disperse, he holds the upper hand. Forethought is an exalted and commanding quality because it lessens the likelihood of unforeseen events and makes the future more predictable and advantageous. In his Cyropedia, Xenophon says “When it’s night, you must think about what your troops will do when it’s day. When it’s day, you must think of how best to use the night.”
Forward planning develops integrity, harmony and unity – and since unity is the father of triumph, any kind of disintegration within your unit of people will almost always cause disaster. Consequently, a creative imagination is most useful. If you can conceive what catastrophes may transpire in the near future, you must directly stand your guard. And if the harm you envisage can’t be staved off, you should still shield your people against its most harmful consequences. When you’re the weaker nemesis, be most vigilant; when your nemesis is most defenceless, strike mercilessly. You should never chase a big cat without a distinct edge. Bear in mind: it is helpful to recollect that your foes are fewer once they’ve been trounced, and you’re more dominant for having overcome them.
Liberty, Stateliness and Prosperity
Morale should always go hand in hand with a marked modesty and a lack of pride. The true commander is the saviour, the messiah, the Good Samaritan. For what perfectly amounts to brotherly love and contentedness of mankind? Three elements; liberty, stateliness and prosperity. If you hand down this trifecta to your men, their fondness toward you will persevere. If you miscarry your own people by neglecting their preservation, you cannot sustain your rule nor carry on employing command. You must be a pillar of strength, both in pleasure and in pain – you shall revel in their success, but also share their misfortune and if possible, relieve it. Further, the leader’s hardship is continually brightened by his resplendence and renown.
Accordingly, an exalted leader encourages his men to share in his fame, because that form of humanity nourishes their vigour and strength and ratifies their merit and gravity. Invariably, more prosperity calls for more magnanimity, but many, disoriented in the murkiness of their own self-conceit, regard it as an advantageous chance for unrestrained rapacity. Would it not be shameful to pay no heed to those warriors who are away from home taking up arms for us, chasing opposers and obliterating antagonism? If moments of rapture are picked out for fierce gratification, we’ll mishandle a golden chance to buttress our fetters of brotherhood. Besides, in war a man can do his comrades copious good by passing himself off as an enemy because a dose of bitterness does not always have an undisclosed and sinful motive underlying it.
Lust, Restraint and Chance
Young warriors are not counselled on the riddles of intimacy for a reason, for if their fervour catches fire, they turn into slaves of their sexual passions. We must release ourselves from transitory joys and remember that doing so will yield ever greater honour and advantage tomorrow. It is for this purpose that young men were instructed to restrain their desires and preserve moderation over quenching impetuous cravings. So, more affluence will come to us sooner if we restrain from capitulating to avarice when it is most seductive and vain. For all you know, a man may loathe brutality and deception. But if he’s never provided with an occasion to show this beyond any doubt, he will be consigned to oblivion upon his passing. Talk is inexpensive and shoddy, many can profess and put on a sky-scraping act of morality. One must not prattle of his virtue, he must reveal it in his conduct while shielding his humility. Every now and then, we’re all furnished with a favourable chance. It is our necessity then to put our policy into practice and demonstrate our capacities, carefully tending to experience and wakefulness.
The Economy of Language
After all, the economy of language is the embodiment and spirit of command. More speaking will not salvage a plan of action from catastrophe, as intemperate chatter from the commander’s mouth conveys unruly foolhardiness and rashness. Speak succinctly, firmly and eloquently, and frame your wants in everyday reasoning to evade protestations. That is the hallmark of advantageous and masterful language. If you’re trying to lead and motivate, appeal to their pressing self-interest. If, on the other hand, your lessers ask questions, they should pay heed to their discretion and stay away from disparaging their equals – as much as possible, they should pose questions that are personable and agreeable and if they are telling jokes, they ought to know where to draw the line to avoid commotion. Remember: it is the ears not the eyes that direct our exploits and any untidiness that generates needless pandemonium could show to be ravaging in the close future.