佚而劳之，亲而离之。攻其无备，出其不意。All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
There is nothing too easy, there is nothing too hard; Life always has happiness, so does bitterness.
Mencius said, ‘If a man love others, and no responsive attachment is shown to him, let him turn inwards and examine his own benevolence. If he is trying to rule others, and his government is unsuccessful, let him turn inwards and examine his wisdom. If he treats others politely, and they do not return his politeness, let him turn inwards and examine his own feeling of respect. When we do not, by what we do, realize what we desire, we must turn inwards, and examine ourselves in every point. When a man’s person is correct, the whole kingdom will turn to him with recognition and submission.‘
This is a way of life for a man of virtue: to cultivate his character by keeping a peaceful mind, and nourish his morality by a frugal living. Only freedom from vanity can show one’s lofty goal of life; and only peace of mind can help him to achieve something really lasting. To be talented, one must learn; and to learn, one must have a peaceful mind. One cannot develop his talent without learning, and one cannot accomplish his learning without peace of mind. Frivolity will prevent one from going deep into learning, and impetuousness will prevent one from moulding a noble character.
One’s age will flee with the time, and one’s ambition will wane with each passing day. If he does not exert himself in time, his mind would wither away like flowers and he would become a good-for-nothing in the world. And in the end, he could only perch in his humbling dwelling, lamenting for his lost prime that will never come back to him again.