Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Favorite Strategy and Tactics Posts!

(updated at 1800 hrs) 

The strategists who are seeking for another perspective in their endeavor. Please read this post.

Following is an abridged listing of our favorite posts

Understanding the Basics of Strategy

How to Center and Focus
One could not strategize if he/she does not possess the skill of "centering and focusing"

Miscellaneous Reading 

Happy New Year.  ... 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Food For Thought: An Idea for December 25

Chinese Food + Netflix = A Good Day

An Interesting Perspective

Comments From The Compass Desk
The late and great Red Auerbach the former coach of the Boston Celtics (a professional basketball team) , always had Chinese food for dinner regardless whether his Boston Celtics team won or lost a game.   ... He always insisted that his team consumed Chinese food for dinner, especially before a game. 

The presumption was that good Chinese food should never create the feeling of "heavy" with the eater.  Whether Coach Auerbach and his team ever completed a Chinese "nine course" banquet, is a different story.   

"Being light is right" is the basic rule.     In our case,  some of us have always followed the Compass rule of being agile and mobile.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Winter Tradition of Reading the Classics and Other Matters

(Updated at 12:22 hrs.)

As mentioned before, being mindfully aware is the key to succeeding in any endeavor. Sometimes it does not hurt to re-read the classics to remind us of the various fundamentals of life. 

Recommended Classics
In a previous post, we discussed the topic of taking one quiet weekend to re-read the classics (The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Dao De Jing, Zhuang Zi, etc.) during the winter season while standing.

One of the following weekends, some of the group will be re-reading some of the following books:
  • Against the Gods (The Remarkable Story of Risk);
  • Sherlock Holmes Detective Stories;
  • The Protracted Game;
  •  The Thirty-six Stratagems Applied to Go;
  • The Tao of Physics; 
  • Strategies for the Human Realm;
  • The Tao of Deception;
  • 100 Unorthodox Strategies;
  • Dao De Jing;
  • Zhuang Zi;
  • The Romance of the Three Kingdoms; and
  • other unique strategic classics.
Here is an abridged list of the past "hot" books that we have read:
  • Anti-Fragile; 
  • Made to Stick;
  • The Physics of Wall Street;
  • The Signal and The Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail- but Some Don't 
  • Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe
For those who are audio listeners, we recommended the following books:
The rest of us will also be working on our Tangible Vision and our Compass Script while drinking hot tea.

This specific tradition and the use of the standing table have also enabled us  to hone our strategic and tactical skills.

Other Traditions and Suggestions
Following are other interesting yearly traditions that some of our strategic associates have always abide by:
  • Renewing one's yearly subscription of Business Week, Psychology Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist;
  • Reviewing and updating one's tactical playbook;
  • Reviewing and updating one's contacts notebook;
  • Upgrading one's own technological infrastructure; and 
  • Updating one's own security practices.
Our friends at Cook Ding Kitchen and other strategic groups have always reminded us to abide the subsequent list of suggestions that would help the underdogs:
  • Donating some cash or books to your local libraries;  
  • Donating some cash and/or food to your local charities; and 
  • Offering strategic advice to your local non-profit charities.
Comment From the Compass Desk
Practicing the process of reading the configuration of a situation, reflecting on the pluses and the minuses and adjusting to the  situation, is the daily proclivity of a good strategic implementer.

In our case, we preferred the practice of assessing, positioning and influencing.  We will discuss about that specific practice in a future post. 

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Succeeding in Life by Being Mindfully Aware

Many years ago, Mr  D , an associate of ours, spent time learning the Wudang martial arts system from a Mr. Li.    (From our understanding, Mr. Li has now retired somewhere in Northern California.)

About 17 years ago, Mr D took the time to teach some of us the many interesting Wudang traditions and exercises that would assist any budding strategists in the practice of mindful awareness. During the session, he offered an efficient but pragmatic perspective of those fundamentals

Modernization of the Practices
We recently had a long discussion on these traditions and decided to document these unique practices.  During the session, 
we also integrated some other unique practices that were quite effective in chaotic times and create the following listing of those practices:
  • Climbing a steep hill during the rainy season;
  • Take one quiet weekend during the winter season to re-read a set of classics (The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Dao Dejing, Zhuang Zi, etc.) while standing;
  • Reciting the technical principles of Baguazhang quietly during one's internal martial art training session; 
  • Humming Bach's "The Art of Fugue" in a moderately low tone while performing Baguazhang's circular walking exercise in a fixed frame mode;
  • Reciting specific principles from the Art of War essay while analyzing a situation;
  • Reflecting on a critical situation in a warm, fireplace-lighted room while listening to Bach's Goldberg Variations (The Goldberg Variations piece is great for calming those who need some time and space to contemplate and cogitate.);
  • "Fasting" for an unknown number of hours before making a grand decision;
  • Re-fueling one's tea collection before the end of the winter season.
  • Maintaining the daily habit of scripting.
  • Practicing Taijiquan on a hot day before drinking Oolong tea; 
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day.
Our friends at Cook Ding's Kitchen are big fans of this category of pragmatic practices.

The Next to Final Comments
As mentioned before. the objective of this unique list is to develop an efficient state of mindful centering and awareness.  You do know how to do that.  Do you?

"Psychology is Strategy" is our first clue to understanding the other grand meaning behind this unique listing of practices. 

Comments From The Compass Desk
One could only succeed in their endeavors  if he/she is mindfully aware of the Big Tangible Picture of the situation and know how to strategize effectively.  You do know what is in your Big Tangible Picture!?  . . .  Do you?

One could stay ahead of the curve by being mindfully aware of the Dao of the situation.  We will include details behind this unique view and the specific psychological reasoning behind each of those mentioned practices in a future post. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Essence of Success: Persisting and Knowing When Not To Back Down

I Won't Back Down
Well, I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

No I'll stand my ground
Won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground

And I won't back down
(I won't back down)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down
Well I know what's right
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground
And I won't back down
(I won't back down)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
(I won't back down)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
Hey I won't back down
(I won't back down)
Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
I will stand my ground
And I won't back down
No I won't back down

What usually enables the successful strategist to prevail over the daily challenge of their endeavor?

"It is persistence which wins many challenges. And persistence is strictly a matter of force of will. ... Sometimes, the outcome of a competition is not decided by the first strategic move or even the third. ... Rather, fortitude is involved. Force of will is persistence. If one does not lose their sense of self, he or she will persist and their strategic power will not diminish. ... On the contrary, it will endure after their body has wasted away." - A Nameless Strategist

Understanding the configuration of one's Big Tangible Picture (BTP) and beyond, is the starting step. .We presumed that you know how to do that!?  ... Do you? 

Comments From The Compass Desk
From our experience, the will to prepare is greater than the will to win.  Do you know why?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Interesting Book on the Zhou Dynasty by Dr. Ralph Sawyer (Conquest and Domination in Early China: Rise and Demise of the Western Chou )

Dr. Sawyer has just recently published his book on the amazing ascension of the Western Zhou dynasty.

Conquest and Domination in Early China: Rise and Demise of the Western Chou 

Conquest and Domination examines the strategy and actors instrumental in the Chou’s (Zhou’s) astonishing rise from an obscure clan of uncertain location to their surprising conquest of the mighty Shang at the decisive battle of Mu-yeh in 1045 BCE. Based upon traditional historical literature, extensive archaeological materials, and contemporary bronze inscriptions, the first section traces their early migrations and gradual acquisition of power and territory through both political and military means before analyzing the many physical, tactical, and psychological factors that contributed to their success. The second part is devoted to reprising and understanding the rebellion that arose within a few years, with the third chronicling the military activities of the nearly three centuries before the Western Chou’s highly melodramatic but ignominious collapse. The final section is devoted to pondering several crucial factors and raising questions about the period’s history. Particular emphasis is placed employing the insights that can be gleaned from traditional Chinese military science and understanding the importance of developments from within the subsequent historical perspective.

Minor Jottings

There who are interested in ancient Chinese history, should also read Dr. Sawyer's Ancient Chinese Warfare (ACW).

There is more to the strategy game than the usual battlefield campaigns, the strategies, the tactics and other unique attributes, one has to understand the basic components behind it.

While most amateurs are enthusiastic about the execution of tactics, the professionals are focused on the logistics behind the tactics.  ... This book examines those significant fundamentals that have played a major role during that era.

If you are seeking an integrated view of the Ancient Chinese mindset, we highly recommend this book.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013 (Buy USA)

If you are tired of buying off shore goods, buy US-manufactured goods.  Click here for more information.  

This site has an interesting blog.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Profiting Through Deception in the Cyber Economy (updated) [Interesting Article from the Wall Street Journal]

(The earlier version of this post was accidentally activated. 
It has been correctly updated at 17:18 hrs)

Assessing for deception is the secondary aim of a web surfer in the information economy. The general goals of most web surfers is to shop for bargains or to secure general information while wasting time.

Many days ago, Wall Street Journal published a interesting article on how some retailers were "gaming" their ever obsessive compulsive customer base. 

/// Some of us who have worked in retail (during our college days), always knew how retailers shaped a "legal" deception to create interest. ///

To understand the tangibility behind the over-hyped retail economy, the retailers have been using "big data" tools to understand the supply of certain products and the demand of the targeted consumers. Then they would create the "hype" that manipulates the emotional need of their targeted clientele.

The results from this manipulation should be obvious.

As it gets closer to the Christmas, the prices frequently drop.  By being willing to play the "waiting game", the shoppers would have received the gratification of saved money.

Immediate emotional gratification of purchasing overpaid items or delayed emotional gratification of saved money. ... Which is better for you? 

The Compass Approach
Successful strategists usually utilize the cyclical approach to examine the "deceptive" state of the situation.  Regardless of the item, they usually play the "cycle" game and wait until the hype dissipates and the prices drop. 

Remember, no hype stays forever.  Sooner or later, the tangibility of the situation would always appeared to the mindful observers.  ... Successful strategists are always focused on their objectives while being constantly mindful of the Big Tangible Picture of their situation and beyond.  (The unmindful ones are just lucky. Sooner or later, the curve will win.)

"The Sage observes signs from the movements of Heaven and Earth and knows its principles. He observes the movement of the sun and the moon and understand their seasonal activity. He follows the cycles of day and night, taken them as his constant. All things have life and death in accord with the principles of Heaven and Earth. Thus it is said that if one fights before understanding the situation, even if he is more numerous, he will certainly be defeated."  - Six Secret Teachings

The first step of our approach is to assess the seasonal configuration of the Big Tangible Picture for that situation. Then, examine the driving factors that created the state of the current situation before determining when is the next seasonal change. You do know how to do that.  Do you?

Side Notes on Other Deceptive Means
Beside the mentioned point of deceiving, there are other cyber means to mislead the non-attentive. Click here,  here here and here for some other examples.  ... 

Even some Yelp reviews and some aspects of Twitter are questionable.

When surfing the web, you should be aware of the other "relevant" news links that would divert you from your goal.

Also, be aware of the web sites that you are visiting and what web link that you are going to click on. Be mindful of the patterns of consistency and inconsistency. 

To detect the technological-driven deception, the cyclical approach might not be always effective.  ... Staying centered and be quietly observant of the current situation is step one. Then, ask yourself, "does the configuration of the situation technically connect to the Big Picture?  ... "

Based on that answer, you should be able to determine what is the tangibility of the situation. 

Final Thoughts
To avoid being a victim of any category of deception, you must be critical in your assessment.  ...  Whether you are surfing the web or walking the streets of your city or town, carefully observe your terrain. Focus on the integrity of the situation by examining the components behind it. ... After a quiet session of mindful observation, you might realized that all that glitter is not gold.

Think about it.

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