Sun Tzu was a master at understanding what it meant to be a part of a team. He was a master at leading and his teachings remain relevant to this very day. There is a very simple explanation: Nature hasn’t changed and it likely won’t any time soon.
Being part of a team is simply defined as being part of a larger group. Each part has a role, a responsibility, to the team. We are all part of many teams whether we’re at work as part of a workforce, at home as a head of household, or maybe you play on a softball team with friends. One of the most difficult things to do in life is to be an effective member of each team you are on. Some of us are effective managers of people in a controlled task-based setting. Some of us excel at contributing while thinking on the fly, making decisions with a minimum amount of information.
An early lesson learned from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is to know yourself and to believe in yourself. Understand your own weaknesses and strengths. As we learn more of ourselves we come to understand we are all capable of so much more than we usually expect of ourselves. Sun Tzu also said, “If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.” And finally to ask ourselves a very serious question, “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?”
What would you do if you could do all you could do? What’s stopping you from doing all you can do? If you’re like me, the only thing stopping us from doing all we can do is us. Taking that a step further then it’s a conscious decision to be less than we can be. That, my friends, is a very serious thing. To intentionally be less! We are very good at rationalizing and fooling ourselves into thinking we are on our way to being our best version of ourselves. But are we really?
Our bodies are our first responsibility and the smallest part of each team we are a part of. If we don’t take care of our bodies we are not serving our teams with the utmost care. Whether it’s at home as the provider and breadwinner. As the coach of a child’s athletic team. Or as a team leader or manager or team member in a workplace. Every member of each team is counting on every other member to do his or her job. To fill the role of teammate. Do we eat what our bodies need to function properly? To function effectively even. The human body is a truly amazing piece of work that consists of many teams doing many different things. Hundreds of systems working together to form a whole that enables us to be a part of other systems that form even larger systems with different tasks and goals. These are things we all know as people instinctively. We know this intellectually, spiritually, and physically. To actually apply this knowledge is an entirely different thing than knowing. We must have the Will.
For “Even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust!” What’s your salt water look like? Mountain Dew? Budweiser? Cigarettes? Or maybe it just looks like a couch? How many are willing to pull that fine sword out of the salt water and polish it? To turn that sword into a valuable part of your team?