Sun Tzu in the real word

This lesson was heavily applied in a voice-style of conflict recently. To prevent potential rumors, leaks, and/or assumptions, I’m going to give a vague version of what happened, and how this was applied.

I will use the name X since it’s a genderless, ageless entity. The other person involved, we will call Y for the same reasons.

Background – X has some knowledge, however instead of expanding their knowledge pool, they feel the little bit they know is enough for daily activities. X also lives by what society tells them, and also believes in stereotypes of various groups of people; as well as believing in certain lifestyles under what society deems as “normal.”

Y has somewhat more knowledge than X, and also has some additional work experience that X lacks, and also made some poor life decisions at a younger age, which is up for debate if they are actually learned or not. Y follows society to some extent, however realizes not everyone is the same, and not all stereotypes are accurate. Downside, however is Y can be easily influenced with certain words and phrases.

Current situation – X has a tendency to speak their mind a little too much, and also goes into defensive mode when there’s nothing intelligent they can add to a rebuttal. Example:

X makes a comment, Person 0 stays quiet to prevent conflict, yet X gets somewhat defensive and antagonizes the situation until 0 says something back, which then X gets upset and makes threats.


X asks a bated question, and 0 finds a loophole to exploit in the answer, which causes X to get quiet and not speak for a while. Yet X decides to talk behind their back to other people about how bad of a person 0 is over something they started.

Y sees the conflict, however to prevent picking sides, Y stays out of certain conflicts because there’s no point in getting involved with something that doesn’t involve them at all. X makes efforts to drag Y into the conversation and/or conflict, which under certain influences Y then is joined into the situation to take the side of X. So in short, X and Y vs 0.

Why is this important?

If only more people followed this rule more often, things would be much better for society as a whole. Person 0 doesn’t care because there’s other important matters, situations, and goals in life; and participating in an unnecessary conflict only takes the energy away that’s needed for daily activities. In short, both X and Y are trying to antagonize 0 because 0 decides to focus on other important matters. X can have two options at this point – stop or keep going. X mostly decides to keep going for personal, unknown reasons.

So what does 0 do? 0 decides it’s time to exploit certain holes in their logic by asking questions which makes them lose the verbal conflict. Example:

Person 1 – Do you want food for breakfast? (Food being a variable for something consumed like bacon, toast, etc)

X – They don’t eat food. It’s beneath them. (This is where X makes a statement instead of staying out of something that has nothing to do with them)

0 – I can answer questions directed towards me thank you. (0 exploits one hole which causes X to get upset and walk away)

Example 2

X – You need to – (when someone starts a statement like this, automatic shutdown of all logic from whatever is said after)

0 – Why do I need to?

X – Because you do, that’s why! (Notice X doesn’t really give an actual, logical reason behind the choice of words and phrase, just answers with a pre-programmed defense phrase)

0 – Did you ever ask what – (notice how 0 asks a question which challenges X’s intelligence?)

X – remains silent


X – Well what you’re doing/saying says otherwise (such as? Provide examples and not what you want to see/hear)

Example 3

X – Has limited employment options due to education, experience, and age. Uses this as a weapon against 0 who has more opportunity once the situation arises.

0 – Is selective in what they want to have something long-term over temp, views all available options, and uses what they learned as a way for better employment.

X – Continues to ridicule 0 because X can find employment; yet chooses not to for personal reasons.

0 – remains silent because X doesn’t ask the right questions and instead assumes based off what they want to see/hear.

Example 4

Y is heavily influenced off of X, and due to certain incentives off of X, Y decides it’s time to let 0 go and seek shelter elsewhere. 0 proves with documentation, and answering the right questions correctly that effort is put into what X is debating otherwise; yet Y is stuck between a rock and a hard place while 0 and X are within the same area. So X wins the battle for Y due to incentives 0 can’t dispute. What X and Y doesn’t realize, however, is 0 knows the war will be won because there’s something X and Y hasn’t thought about –

Where’s the mistakes?

1 – X and Y are in a semi-financial situation, as well as limited space. Therefore, they’re only making their financial situation worse. 0 knows this, and they don’t know 0’s financial situation, and knows 0 can live on their own in limited space(s).

2 – X and Y combined intelligence doesn’t equal what 0 knows, and what 0 is capable of. Granted there’s certain skills X and Y do know that 0 is limited on, at the same time X and Y are limited on what employment opportunities are available, as well as having financial responsibilities for offspring; while 0 doesn’t have to worry about anyone but themselves.

3 – X and Y have a limited friend pool, and X has an even smaller pool of outside resources. 0 made some new friends in a short amount of time who offered to help because 0 proved to be a good person who keeps their word. 0 also knows how to read people (within reason) and can make legit, unbreakable bonds by proving to be different and not follow society and/or the stereotypes.

4 – 0 also has an ultimate goal, while X and Y just live day by day instead of having a goal/dream in mind. Due to some decisions influenced by X, Y has limited choice on what’s available and what can be done to fix their situation.

5 – Y has expressed multiple times X is a problem, yet can’t do much because there’s a certain tie they have that can’t be broken at the time. So Y is stuck with X in an unhappy situation.

6 – 0 has 2 ears and 1 mouth, so 0 listens twice as much as speaks. This gained knowledge helps understand what’s going on, and keeps to themselves so when the time is right, all is exposed, and 0 will be there to watch the fireworks.

What to learn from all this?

If you’re X and/or Y (and be actually honest and truthful), you need to find a way to not bite the hand that helps you. Someone goes out on a limb, risking life and lost time to help in a situation that can benefit everyone; there should be a much better situation so everyone comes out ahead. Behaving like this, only shows your true colors at the end, and makes you the fool because what was good is now bad, and recovery might not ever happen. Can X and/or Y be considered toxic? It’s up for debate.

If you’re Y specifically, remember while you have an obligation under certain circumstances, keep in mind that you have to keep peace at the end of the day. Just because you belong to one person, and the other is someone you’ve known for a long time, doesn’t mean to pick sides either. If there’s conflict between you and your other half, resolve that conflict first before trying to resolve conflict between others. Because what will matter the most is who’s there at the end of the day after everything is said and done.

If you’re person 0, staying quiet, and out of the way is the best option. Ignoring the negative behavior only makes people like X and Y go desperate which then exposes the kind of people they really are. Also if you have goals and dreams in mind, keep them regardless of what anyone says. Those who laugh, ridicule, talk down, etc, are the ones who gave up on theirs because they followed what others said instead of going off what they wanted to do, and/or they put themselves in a situation where what they want in life can’t be accomplished because again they made the wrong decisions.

At the end of the day, regardless of what the situation/issue(s) is/are, the biggest take a way is respect for each other. Karma is a real thing; and what goes around, comes around at the wrong time.

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