Chapter 68: Modes of Action
A man and wife have met to discuss their future plans. She hopes to build a school, and he has aspirations for a new hospital. They are pondering the choice, looking at good timing from the calendar before and examining the funds that might be available. Wisely, they are considering well all of the elements that will help them decide the right thing to do.
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Deliberation ends when a decision is reached.
To delay that decision’s execution is detrimental.
Slumber when sleepy work awaits,
but never rest when actions demand sleepless vigilance.
Direct action is good whenever possible,
but when it is not, seek other means of success.
Reflect on this: efforts and enemies, if left unfinished,
can both ravage you like an unextinguished fire.
Before acting, resolve all doubts by pondering five points:
cost, means, time, place and the action itself.
Discern the outcome of an enterprise, the obstacles and the
opulent earnings that successful effort assures–then act.
The way to accomplish any task is to ascertain
the inmost thoughts of an expert in that task.
Just as one elephant may be used to tether another,
so one task may be the means of accomplishing another.
Before bestowing kind favors on friends,
hasten to befriend those still estranged.
Sensing with trepidation their peoples’ fears, leaders of
minor realms bow and accept the terms of mightier rulers.
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