18: Repairing What is Spoiled
Friday, Oct 11th, 2013
Something is starting to rot and it is time to repair the damage. In the world of human affairs, indulgence and corruption grow like weeds in an untended garden; they must be faced squarely, and rooted out through bold action. Eliminating corruption — and the sloppiness that leads to it — is one of the most ennobling of all human enterprises. Correction of flaws in the system clears the way for fresh, new beginnings.
The time has come to become lean and efficient. The weeds must be rooted out now, before the garden is overwhelmed. Fighting decay, sloppiness and corrupt agendas is not a simple matter; all steps must be evaluated carefully. Planning must precede action. Resist the temptation to strike out prematurely. Gather strength behind you, and summon your inner resources, because arresting decay is no simple task. When you do act, make your strike as precise and clean as the path of the surgeon’s knife.
Monday, Jul 29th, 2013
Substantial progress and increasing prosperity is pointed to. In whatever forms it takes, periods of increase are exhilarating, as long as you go with the flow while it lasts and keep the interests of others in mind. Like white water on a river, periods of increase are often of short duration; it furthers one, therefore, to shoot the rapids now, while the opportunity is there.
A good sense of direction in times of opportunity involves commitment to the needs of one’s cohorts and dependents. Only by realizing that to lead is really to serve, can an effective leader contribute to a lasting increase in prosperity for all. In times of general increase, those who contribute most directly to the common good will also receive the greatest rewards.
When opportunities for increase arise, supreme good fortune comes to those who act swiftly and boldly, while avoiding the trap of letting their actions be only self-serving. If you aspire to a position of prominence, the most enduring strategy is to work to raise the tide of your entire pond, rather than to try to swim upstream on your own.
When the times favor prosperity, and when leadership is in the hands of the broad-minded, supreme good fortune results.
63: After Completion
Monday, Jul 22nd, 2013
It is a fine irony that after completion of some project or great enterprise, there is still much left to do. Completion is merely a pause in the cycle of creation and decay, a momentary still point for the swinging pendulum of life. Though completion does imply a period of restful pause — one that usually has been well earned — it is not an actual end, but rather a uniquely harmonious flat spot in the constancy of change and movement.
The image of After Completion is that of a kettle of water boiling over a fire. When the forces are balanced, the water boils properly; but if the pot is too full, it may boil over and put out the fire; or, if the fire is too hot, it may evaporate all the water. In the equilibrium that follows the completion of something significant, the current dynamics must be watched carefully to assure that a proper balance is maintained.
After Completion is the time for fine-tuning, for refinements and embellishments of what has already been accomplished.
Even if we are enjoying a rewarding situation right now, the laws of the natural world dictate that influence and success will eventually decline. So, don’t let current good fortunes prompt careless or relaxed attitudes. A successful endeavor or partnership needs to be carefully tended and maintained. What is incomplete should be finished, and brought to fruition without delay.
Take satisfaction upon completion, but do not dwell on it. To do so could bring a halt to your influence and capability.
10: Treading Carefully
Tuesday, Jul 9th, 2013
People of ability find their way and make progress even in difficult circumstances. Consider your steps carefully when you are surrounded by changing forces. Weak and strong forces (or people) can co-exist when the weaker element does not impose upon the stronger, when the weaker maintains good humor and avoids taking bold action. When treading among sleeping tigers — or slippery stones — step gingerly and don’t stumble.
In the company of strong, brash people, rushing wildly ahead brings misfortune. Now is not a good time for taking the initiative; rather, try getting by with a little grace and good humor. In the court of a powerful king, the jester often has more power than the prince.
9: Small Influences
Friday, Jul 5th, 2013
A gentle wind gathers the clouds, but still, no rain. Softer influences predominate as the power of subtle forces grows. This is a time for smooth and friendly persuasion.
In the ebb and flow of events, there are always ‘low tides’ — times when sweeping action is impossible or inappropriate, but when small matters can be attended to profitably, leading to bigger and better things later on. When the tide is rolling in, by all means, ride the wave; but when it is receding like it is now, focus on little things.
When the times are such that you cannot do much to affect large matters, persuasion and subtle influence can prepare the way for strength in the future. Use your intuition to chart your long-term course, but avoid bold actions for the moment, for they are unlikely to work. This is an excellent time to refine existing abilities or develop new talents.
Be wary of others’ intentions if they hold the upper hand in a situation. Examine their sources of power, so as to discover subtle influences you may be able to exert upon them.
Friday, Jun 14th, 2013
The most successful general is not the one that triumphs in battle, but the one who is able, through strength of a resolute discipline and the personal power that results from that, to achieve victory without spilling blood. This is why for the effective leadership of any organization the key virtues are clarity, decisiveness and conscientiousness. The most effective team or partnership marches with a single purpose — a dedication to a common goal that is held dear by all. Otherwise, even with an excess of external discipline, unpopular wars are seldom winnable.
Let power be held in check by the acceptance of a common discipline, and submission to a higher authority. Look to the common good. When life is in balance, evil impulses are checked by human decency; parents die before their children; leaders lead and followers follow. If you hold or aspire to a position of leadership, remember that the true leader speaks to and captures the hearts of the people and articulates a clear, simple vision that unites them as a team.
In the realm of government, the relationship between the army and state is critical. Only when the state is economically prosperous can the army be strong. Only when the army is disciplined can the state be protected from disruptive outside forces. For this balance to be preserved, government must be steady, and mild toward its own people. When balancing strong complementary forces, modesty and generosity at the center can be a magnetic force that keeps relationships intact. Coordination of all elements is essential for success at this time.