"There are five dangerous traits of a general:
He who is reckless can be killed.
He who is cowardly can be captured.
He who is quick tempered can be insulted.
He who is moral can be shamed.
He who is fond of the people can be worried." Sun Tzu
They are dangerous because in war these traits can indeed cost the lives of soldiers. For almost all of us, however, they aren't as deadly but are costly to our lives all the same. Therefore, it would benefit us all if we review these five traits in more detail over the next five days. Some are obvious, while others are not.
Today we start with being cowardly. The cost of being cowardly seems straightforward. In fact even if there is gain to being cowardly it is still unacceptable to society, and, I would argue, unacceptable to anyone who has any semblance of dignity or scruple.
Let's not confuse being cowardly with being afraid. Being afraid is quite normal. Being cowardly, on the other hand, is giving in to fear instead of acknowledging it and addressing it directly. When you know you are afraid but face the problem directly, you aren't cowardly but supremely courageous. So you can be both afraid and brave at the same time.
Thus being cowardly means ignoring and/or running away from a problem that could have been faced. Most people view a coward as someone who runs away from danger. This is a common picture of a coward. However, being cowardly can also apply to things far more subtle but perhaps just as dangerous. It could mean not taking care of business and doing things that need to be done in a timely fashion. Procrastination is a much more pervasive and ruinous problem than people think. People think it is no big deal but it is in fact a huge deal.
For example, you can take your loved ones for granted by putting things off by spending time doing things more urgent and "more important." This meeting is urgent! This play off game is important! But are these things really more urgent and important than your loved ones? You know the answer to this question by asking yourself if you happen to lose either one of them, which one would you regret losing more? Don't allow loud demands to overrule your intended plans and priorities. In fact the louder they are, the more you should be wary. Conversely, don't abuse love and kindness just because they can be abused. They need to be protected by Sun Tzu's strategies at all times.
Therefore, the lesson for today is execute your plan and intention right now. You might not feel like it but you must do it. Don't let other people nag at you to get started -- you should nag at yourself and not accepting less than your best effort. Do it and you will always find that extra spring in your step to continue on. Accomplish and finish your task and you will feel a sense of pride, energizing you, not draining you as you would expect.
Tomorrow we will discuss being quick-tempered. Seems simple. But anger is so dangerous, it should be on the FBI most wanted list. Alas it is not and so it runs rampant, killing people literally and figuratively every day. Don't let anger conquer you and we will show you how. See you tomorrow.