A self-confident mind is not just capable of strong mental exertions. It is one that in the midst of tackling severe problems can maintain its equilibrium regardless of internal turmoil.

To expect that you will remain calm and reserved in every competitive situation is asking for a superhuman effort. The agonizing feeling of failure is not a fabrication or an illusion. It is a conscious realization, for instance, that a competitor may be superior for reasons that were unforeseen but have become disturbingly clear to you as market conditions unfold. Such conditions could legitimately cause a sudden collapse of all hope, a breaking down of self-confidence. Instead of working energetically to stem the tide, subordinates fear their efforts will be useless; they hesitate to move, and soon leave everything to fate.

The essential point is that competitive encounters assume that human weaknesses do exist. These materialize when momentary negative impressions of events distract you from your objectives. Therefore, make every effort to put such disruptions into correct perspective immediately, however uncomfortable they may appear. Keep in mind, too, as part of such a perspective that “discipline does more in competitive encounters than enthusiasm.”

Also, when tempted to doubt the correctness of your decisions, keep your trust in Sun Tzu’s time-tested leadership qualities and strategy principles that follow:

If wise, a commander is able to recognize changing circumstances and to act expediently.

If sincere, his men will have no doubt of the certainty of rewards and punishments.

If humane, he loves mankind, sympathizes with others, and appreciates their industry and toil.

If courageous, he gains victory by seizing opportunity without hesitation.

If strict, his troops are disciplined because they are in awe of him and are afraid of punishment.

Sun Tzu

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