Abandon Ship!

A Chinese general decided to get his troops focused on the battle ahead-by burning the ships in the water behind his troops. They had no retreat. And it worked. Dan Ariely uses this illustration in his book Predictably Irrational, suggesting we hurt ourselves by trying to keep too many options open, failing to make decisive moves forward.

We should approach our battles by throwing ourselves wholly into the war from the start. Go at it as if you have no retreat. According to Ariely's experiments at MIT, your chances of success will go up.

Stephen Goforth

the advantage of thinking like a child

Great strategists.. respond to the moment, like children. Their minds are always moving, and they are always excited and curious. They quickly forget the past – the present is much too interesting.

The Greek thinker Aristotle thought that life was defined by movement. What does not move is dead. What has speed and mobility has more possibilities, more life. You may think that what you’d like to recapture from your youth is your looks, your physical fitness, your simple pleasure, but what you really need is the fluidity of mind you once possessed.

Whenever you find your thought revolving around a particular subject or idea – an obsession, resentment - force them past it. Distract yourself with something else. Like a child, find something new to be absorbed by, something worthy of concentrated attention. Do not waste time on things you cannot change or influence. Just keep moving.

Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War