At seven, my father taught me the rules of chess and we played regularly as I was growing up. Around the age of thirteen I beat him for the first time (he was a good player) and for the next four years he would set up the board so that I was facing the TV – he won, a lot.
In Middle School I started studying Goju-Ryu Karate with my Sensei, Lawrence McSwain, in Greensboro, NC, USA. He was a District Court Judge at the time, and taught Karate as a not-for-profit community service. Thirty five years later and I still talk with him, even if I no longer am a practitioner of the Art.
My first years in college were very trying; I developed a rare neurological condition that had me in and out of school, but I did manage to hold down a couple of jobs in bookstores in the interim, and it was there that I discovered Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The world opened up to me that day.
For thirty years now I have read Master Sun (or listened to an audio version of his book) at least once a month, often times more, comparing it to current world events and my own tribulations in jobs, health, and romance. It has been my guide, and grounded me firmly.
There is one skill that can be applied everywhere: Strategy. Laying Plans, Discipline, and the Lessons of Metaphorical ‘Terrain’ are just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve been blogging about it for more than two years now, and the lessons are becoming well-honed. But this is just a beginning, maybe the first mile.
Join me for the rest of it.