When you know yourself, You’ll win all battles – Sun Tzu

“Know yourself and you won't see battles as battles”

I saw that float by on Twitter last week and had a chance to ponder.

I remade it for my own inner self into: “Know yourself and you won’t see battles as battles”.

What are battles but conflict?

Isn’t knowing also the understanding?

Knowing yourself should also be being at peace within yourself – where does Sun Tzu get off in continuing such a negative point of view such as ‘battle’?

Here’s a little exercise for you to try:


Where Am I and Where Aren’t I?

Get your pen and paper out, readiness for making a list (or mindmap, if you’re into those like me)

Jot down all your strengths or, at least, what you think your strengths are

And now, list out reasons why people might view your strengths as weaknesses or mistrust.


Examples Might Look Like

An example mindmap might have some of these areas.

perceived strengths in relationship

Click for a larger image

As you can see, strengths can be giving, having feelings, trusting, helpful inquisitive, honesty, and caring.

You’d have to agree those are some powerfully positive character traits to have.

Well, now let’s look at the other side of the coin.

I’m fully aware what other people think of you is entirely their business.

That said, their reactions to your strengths can often lead you to confusion as you’re simply unaware the delivery of your actions isn’t necessarily ‘landing’ with the other person in the way it was intended.

So this is simply about being aware.



I wish everyone can be honest and I’m sure you do too.

Do you?

Being honest with other people can be a dangerous ground to stand on.

Other people can be hurt by honesty. Other people can build resentment as many live their lives playing games and political power broking.

And even other people simply don’t want honesty and will push you away from them – do you know some people know love to be told they’re good looking, despite some imperfections and get dismayed if you happen to hint at a blemish?



How can being helpful possibly be seen as a weakness or an area that could do you damage?

Ever known someone you find as a nuisance?

I know I have, yet when you look at it from the viewpoint that they’re being helpful and you’re not seeing it in the same light as their delivery, gives you an idea.

Believe it or not, there are members of our community that are ‘takers’. Your own spouse might be a taker.


Giving of Yourself

To give is to receive, as they say.

If you are unaware, giving of yourself can be fraught with road-bumps.

Give too much and your enthusiasm can be seen as overpowering, to some people.

Give too quickly and some will push back to resist your well-intentioned offers and even feel rushed into something (while I go with my gut instinct, lots of people need time to think things through).

So then there’s those who love to take it all. You end up sometimes feeling used and hurtful and they continue to take until you simply need to walk away.


The Idea Here

Still keep positive and retain your strengths, in the knowledge of potential pitfalls.

Knowing your inner self from a balanced perspective leads to zero battles within.

Be aware of the other side and embrace and learn from reaction and interaction.


Your Turn Now

  • What do you think? Can you be TOO good?
  • Have you had this happen to you?
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When Giving, Honesty and Caring Will Damage You 1

Enjoying newly found freedoms in South-East Asia, Martin is a down to earth, honest, quirky humor, compassionate and upfront kinda guy. Easy going and love to laugh. Into good food, wine and great company. I’ll talk and try to help anyone.
Drop me a message and let’s start there, OK?

Martin Cooney – who has written posts on GeekandJock.