How to Use Military Strategy to Build Better Habits

How to Use Military Strategy to Build Better Habits
How to Use Military Strategy to Build Better Habits


How to Use Military Strategy to Build Better Habits


Table Of Content(toc)


1. Intro

Sun Tzu is the greatest military strategist of all time, and certainly in Chinese history. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages and is still studied by students of military strategy today.

2. Sun Tzu Versus Napoleon: A Battle of Strategy, Not Numbers

Sun Tzu’s strategy is a mixture of the heavy-battalion style of war and the light-footman style of warfare. His goal is to win without fighting, which means that he uses a great deal of positional maneuver and deception. His strategy relies heavily on both political and cultural leverage.

The Art of War has been translated into dozens of languages and is probably one of the most widely read books in history. The reason for this is because it is simple to understand: It focuses on the obvious, but it also focuses on the subtle, creative use of strategy and tactics to achieve victory.

In contrast, Napoleon’s strategy was focused on numbers; he believed that unless you had a large number of soldiers you could not win a battle, or at least not without fighting. This idea is based on his belief that brains alone cannot win battles; rather strength alone can do so (Napoleon used this as an excuse for why he didn’t make any significant changes to his army when it became clear that they were overmatched). He believed that if you had a large army, you could take over enemy territory with ease (so long as you knew where they were).

The problem with Napoleon’s strategy was that it made no sense in real-world terms: In reality, armies are rarely large enough to take over territory with ease — they tend to be too much like swarms of insects. If you want to take over territory, it helps if there are people around who are willing to fight for your cause — preferably people who have similar interests in being free from tyranny — but those aren’t easy to find (think about how many states there are today).

So what does Sun Tzu do? First off, he uses certain aspects of each kind (heavy-battalion versus light-footman) depending on how large or small his opponent is:

If he wants to take over territory with ease, then he will use heavy-battalion tactics (the usual ones being massed infantry vs cavalry) if his opponent happens to be small or weak; light footman tactics if his opponent happens to be very strong or very powerful.  (This is also why Sun Tzu only applies his strategy once against enemies weaker than himself.) If he wants more moderate control over territory than simply taking over enemy territory by force, then this time he will use more precise and strategic deployment techniques such as positioning armies at

3. How to Use Sun Tzu in Your Business

No, there isn’t a secret formula to building better habits. But you can use some of the lessons that have been gleaned from the history of warfare to help you choose and implement your strategy for habits.

Yes, you can use military strategy to build better habits. You don’t need a book on it though. You just need knowledge, experience and some disciplined effort. If you want to learn about it in depth, I would highly recommend reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War . The book is chock-full of juicy tidbits and wisdom (and is a great read).

4. How to Use Sun Tzu in Your Job Search

The trick to effective job searching is not to give up, but to look for the right job. Sun Tzu said “you must win the first battle and then you must win the next one.” In my experience, if you want to find your way out of a dead-end, you must first build a strong foundation that eventually allows you to advance in more promising directions.

All of us are humans – and there is probably no better example than our tendency towards self-fulfilling prophecies. Here’s an interesting experiment that was conducted by researchers at Penn State University using the Internet and social media (the link contains a video of the experiment). They invited people who were making their first serious effort at job search on LinkedIn or in person and asked them to answer three questions about themselves:

1. Do You Feel A Sense Of Urgency To Find Your Dream Job?

2. Do You Have A Sense Of Urgency To Find Something New To Do?

3. Do You Feel Urgency To Start A New Business?

And they found that, while people who answered question 1 were more likely to say they felt urgent, those who answered question 2 were much less likely to say they felt urgency; and even those who answered question 3 were less likely to say they felt urgency than those who didn’t answer at all! The takeaway from this is that it would be very risky for you to focus on just “finding something new” for your first job search without a great deal of preparation; because if you aren’t doing well, it will almost certainly be because the things that make sense for finding work aren’t going well with your life too — which means it could also be because you aren't doing anything with your life yet!

5. Conclusion

The other part of the puzzle to building a successful product is building a stronger team. Whether by acquiring more engineers or by hiring more people to contribute, you need to ensure that your product’s value is being captured and shared by as many people as possible. This is not only about building a strong team for the sake of building a strong team, but it’s also about creating an environment where great conversations happen and people are engaged in the product.

One of the most powerful tools for doing this is what we call “political signaling.” Political signaling includes everything from how quickly you respond to support requests to how often you ask for help — in fact, it could include all of those things. It can be about communicating your value proposition in simple terms (“My app can do X with Y features: We want you to try our app!”) or using subtle language (“The reason we are asking for this feature is that we feel it will make our product more useful and valuable. We think your feedback will help us understand the issue and help us address it efficiently. ”).

This type of signaling isn’t limited just to apps either, and anything related to your product can be used. In some ways, political signaling is even more important than technical development because if you fail to create a culture around something valuable, that thing may never get done at all (or at least won't get done right).

There's nothing wrong with political signaling as long as you provide value first and foremost so that everyone feels good about contributing; everyone involved should feel like their voice matters even if there's no concrete benefit - which means everyone should feel empowered! If you're going to build something valuable - whether it's an app or a software library or anything else - then the best way for everyone involved (including yourself!) is having enough confidence in it that they want to share it with others — otherwise nobody will feel good enough about contributing because nobody feels like their voice matters.


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