According to Names.of.London, an already cool domain boutique in one of the coolest places in the world, has come out with the top ten coolest domain names on the planet. Our moniker, ☮.com, made the list. How cool!
Today is August 12, 2017, and it is Sonshi.com's 18th birthday! Many thoughts have transpired since our founding in 1999, but I have three today.
Thought #1: Share your wisdom
Current events regarding North Korea have brought up one important issue I have neglected to remind you all in a long time. Someone mentioned that Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader, studies Sun Tzu's Art of War. My response? I hope so!
Why? Because in terms of people reading Sun Tzu's Art of War, I believe the more the merrier. If you have read and studied The Art of War, you would know that it teaches wisdom, caution, patience, practicality, and compassion. Do not attack when angry. Treat captured enemies well. The highest skill isn't to win 100 battles but to win without fighting.
If Kim Jong-un had read and understood those principles, then he would at the very least not take action, knowing he is outmatched and there is no practical gain for doing so. In other words, he would know when to fight and when not to fight.
People often view Sun Tzu's Art of War book as if it's a secret. Don't be like that. Share the work with everyone. Tell them to look beyond the title and read it in full before making judgment. Your friends will now understand you better, and your opponents will act more rationally and might even see you as a friend in time. You became wiser because of The Art of War, why not share it with others for the benefit of themselves, yourself, and the world around you?
Thought #2: When in doubt, choose kindness and patience
As a dad, I have learned that the number one most effective teaching tool has been being an example. It's amazing how closely kids observe you and copy you. For example, don't be surprised if your child doesn't read the book you assigned him or her if you don't read yourself.
Children also respond well to kind and patient people. I remember when I was a kid, the people I try to avoid and refuse to listen to are always the mean and impatient ones. Nobody can do things perfect the first time; don't expect it from kids either.
And believe it or not, kids do try to please their parents. One major problem is the communication between parent and child isn't always clear, so we parents must be cognizant of this and try different approaches if the first attempt is unsuccessful.
Sun Tzu's principle of treating people like our own beloved children applies here as well. We don't treat people like children but treat them like our own children -- meaning our love for them is true. People would "advance to the deepest valley" with the leader and in the case of warfare, "they will die with him." That is leadership.
Thought #3: Invest in cool things
If you have been following Sonshi.com, we have recently acquired the domains ☮.com and ♀.com, not only because they are both in alignment with Sonshi.com but they are wonderfully short and simple ways for more people to learn about us and thus Sun Tzu's Art of War.
Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of each other.
"Winning battles such that the whole world cries, 'Excellent!' is not the highest excellence." Sun Tzu
At the footer of every Sonshi.com page contains the above quote by Sun Tzu. It is by far my favorite from The Art of War.
The reason why I like the quote so much is because it reminds me of the harsh reality of everyday life. Universal praise is seen as good but is it really? Would the sun need to validate itself that it is bright? Does the moon need feedback from others to know it is round? What is true would be so apparent and obvious, it would almost be embarrassing to point it out. Like body odor, nobody needs to say anything to prove it is there.
Thus praise is often a sign of flattery, usually to gain favor. But in Sun Tzu's case, it is worse than harmless brown nosing. It can actually be dangerous. If a military general wants praise, he or she would wait for conflicts to ensue so the general can "save the day." After many lives lost and treasure spent, the best case scenario would be a war won. Yet what exactly was won?
In contrast, if a general doesn't care for praise but only results, he or she would try to prevent battles from starting in the first place. In such a scenario, there would indeed be no praise from others, nothing that people can point to that would confirm how skilled that general really was. You can't compliment something that never happened.
"The general who does not advance to seek glory, or does not withdraw to avoid punishment, but cares for only the people's security and promotes the people's interests, is the nation's treasure." Sun Tzu
If you are such a leader, the only type of approval you would receive is self-approval. You would gain self-respect, which is the highest level of respect you could possibly earn.
Why stop at the leadership level? Expand such a trait to everyone else, and you can see the power such an idea can make, and the seemingly limitless progress a community, company, and country can make:
“The best rulers are scarcely known by their subjects;
Therefore, it would be quite impossible to rank the truly best military general from historical records. What we could easily discover are the ones who had to fight grand wars and thus gained glory after many lives lost.
What we won't easily discover are the countless generals who didn't have to fight wars because those wars were proactively averted. There was no war, but there was no glory. There were no lives lost, but there was no praise. Yet is there any other worldly matter more glorious and praiseworthy than preventing a war, i.e., "winning without fighting"?
So similarly to how we venerate the Unknown Soldier who died for our safety, we too can recognize the Unknown Leader who made sure that his or her soldiers came home safely to their spouses and children. That is truly the highest excellence of all.
Dear readers of Sonshi.com,
When Sun Tzu wrote his Art of War book in 512 BCE, he had no idea it would survive 2529 years later, much less be read, studied, and applied by countless leaders from countries all across the globe.
Whether pacifying an upset teenager, managing a billion-dollar corporation, or preventing terrorist attacks, it would seem every practical situation could benefit from Sun Tzu's strategic lessons.
Since 1999, Sonshi.com has been at the forefront of the application of Sun Tzu's principles by individuals, organizations, and nations. The path we took during the last 18 years has been challenging to say the least, but not without significant successes.
Next week, on August 12, is the date the domain name Sonshi.com was registered. It is the date of "the start."
When I registered Sonshi.com, it was simply to share my excitement about Sun Tzu's Art of War with others on this new platform called the World Wide Web. The Sonshi name came from General Samuel Griffith's translation where he discusses the legendary Minamoto Yoshitsune, one of Japan's most famous strategists. When Yoshitsune was young, the monks in charge of his education could barely make him sit still -- except when Sonshi was read to him. Then he was all attention. I was that young Yoshitsune.
Legend would also have it that after being betrayed by his allies, Minamoto Yoshitsune sailed to mainland Asia and emerged as none other than Genghis Khan.
Likewise, Sun Tzu's philosophy sailed to distant shores while still remaining useful and relevant over the centuries, bridging both time and space. Sun Tzu has not only defeated the Grim Reaper but has made a friend of Father Time.
So what ageless secrets would Sun Tzu share in the next 2,529 years? There is no need to wait. They aren't secrets at all, but open wisdom that can be learned and implemented today by those who are in need. Sun Tzu would serve as a good friend indeed and in deed.
Quintus Ennius wrote [3rd century BCE]: 'Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur.' This translates from the Latin as 'a sure friend is known when in difficulty.'
Thomas Huynh, founder
Thomas Cuong Huynh, founder of Sonshi