"The men of Wu and Yueh hated each other, however, encountering severe winds when crossing a river on the same boat, they assisted each other like left and right hands." Sun Tzu
"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
I must admit I was a little nervous tackling this project today. What if I fail and make the problem worse? Yet I had faith in myself. Seems easy enough. I am actually quite good at following instructions. From past experience, however, it was usually luck that got me through projects like this. Somehow I was able to figure out something that the instructions neglected to mention to finally make it a success. This faucet project was no different.
In today's case, I lucked into finding the right tool. It's called a basin wrench. I initially used the common adjustable wrench but it wasn't possible in tight spaces like a kitchen sink. The basin wrench is what plumbers use all the time but very few people own it. Another tool that was critical today was plumber's putty, something I picked up from an earlier plumbing project. If it wasn't for fellow home improvement folks who knew just enough and had good ideas to get me going again, I would be stuck and still be underneath that sink cursing instead of typing these words right now. In short, a simple suggestion of a basin wrench made my day.
The men of Wu and Yueh, the leader looking out for the people's interests, and today's kitchen faucet installation all have one thing in common: people helping other people. There might not be one person who knows everything or can do everything, but together we seem be able to make things happen, get things get fixed, and take care of one another without much trouble.
What is trouble is when someone claims he or she is a master or expert in something. For example, if you see someone claiming he or she is a master of The Art of War, run away. Nobody is a master of Sun Tzu's principles. Not even me. Like you, I am a student.
The moment people become masters or experts is the moment they stop learning and improving. After all, they have reached the top of their fields. Information flows only one way, and the two-way communication that makes life fun, challenging, and worthwhile is no longer there. It would be a sad existence indeed.
Fortunately, in the real world, it would be safe to say nobody can truly reach the pinnacle of any one subject, not matter how specialized. There is always room for improvement. There is always new information. Because there is always change in the world.
So what do we do? I have an idea. Why don't we walk with each other, learn from each other, and with a little bit of luck, faith, and hard work, someday we will discover a really excellent way of doing things? There are problems we share, so why not share ideas on how to resolve them? You might know things that would help other people, so why not multiply the benefit by teaching others that knowledge, yet in the process you will learn new things you weren't aware of? Believe me, you will.
Therefore, throughout life, we are all students. At least I hope so. There is so much to learn in the world. If we are not students, then we are not learning. Anything less than that would seem a waste, especially when you consider the skills and knowledge you have now that you might not have if your past self decided to not learn them. You might not be you. I might not be me. This Sun Tzu website might not exist. And a kitchen faucet might still be broken.