COLLEGE PARK, MD –
I want to focus on that execution this morning, specifically the point of execution. Execution in a larger context could aptly be described as a process.
During the general process of executing a plan, however, there is a specific point of execution, a climax, the crescendo of an effort that is the demarcation between wanting to improve and actually improving.
Conflict of different varieties can be useful at particular moments during a struggle, but a hallmark of pushing responsibly is making an improvement without having to fight others at the culmination of that struggle.
As Sun Tzu pointed out in The Art of Strategy, “Those who win one hundred triumphs in one hundred conflicts do not have supreme skill. Those who have supreme skill use Strategy to bend others without coming to conflict.”
A commentator on this profound concept summarizes this premise by stating, “A true victory can be won only with a strategy of tactical positioning, so the moment of triumph is effortless and destructive conflict is averted.”
Fighting is easy and pleases our ego. It gives us the false sense we have moral high ground and are fighting for something worthy when we really aren’t.
The struggle for improvement is certainly a struggle and is not easy, but a struggle is not the same thing as a fight. A struggle entails patience as the improvement sets in, forbearance with the denial of others, and being open to modifying our views.
We are almost certainly wrong about something in our execution even if we are right in our point theoretically, so being open to improving our process is essential.
Perhaps a fight is needed as an acute intervention to an acute issue along the way, but we shouldn’t constantly be fighting. If there is a chronic issue we’re dealing with, tactical positioning is the only way to avoid the triggers that lead to a flare up.
The Messenger of Submission, peace upon him, exemplified this concept throughout his prophetic mission, culminating in allegiance from his adversaries in Mecca pledged without destructive conflict.
His willingness to tactically position himself and community over decades allowed for peace at the tipping point.
That is the most illustrious example of pushing responsibly with an understanding of the acute and chronic conditions present in his life and the lives of his kinsmen.
We’d be wise to take seriously the topic of tactical positioning and how to apply it to the struggles in our lives. We have the textbook on the subject in the prophetic biography.
Here’s a good rendition of that biography if you’re interested.