Friday, 28 October 2011

The Need to Win

Hi everyone been a bit busy so only a short one this month.
Being devils advocate on this one:

The Need to Win.
Chuang Tzu (~300 BC.) (as translated by Thomas Merton).

When an archer is shooting for nothing
He has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle
He is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind
Or sees two targets--
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed.
But the prize divides him.
He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting--
And the need to win drains him of power.
It also affects other areas of life, not only for the individual involved but also for others around them.  Concentrating all their energies to win, to be the best, can be a very positive activity.  It can be very empowering, a massive ego boost as you succeed in your goal.  The approbation of your peers, a reputation for success and the acquisition of the ‘prizes’ associated with success.
A positive, powerful person fully focussed on a single goal – to beat everyone else, to be top dog.  A ‘winner’ is usually a very attractive person.  After all, competition is an integral part of life.

It has long been known that the single minded ‘need’ to win actually detracts from a persons potential to win. 

So does this mean to ‘not try so hard’ may produce better results? 

Or maybe just to enjoy the game instead of ‘trying’ to win the game?

Or maybe like the Samurai, ‘No win’ – ‘No lose’ – ‘No thought’, just do!


To find out more about Sensei Seth's club visit
You can e-mail Peter at

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Way – Path – Direction through life.

A book to read:    Lao Tzu: Te-Tao Ching - A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-wang-tui Texts (Classics of Ancient China) (Paperback)
by Robert G. Henricks (Translator)

Tao (pronounced ‘Dow’) means ‘Path’ or ‘Way’ of/through life.

Some quotes:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.

Achieve results,
But never glory in them.
Achieve results,
But never boast.
Achieve results,
But never be proud.
Achieve results,
Because this is the natural way.
Achieve results,
But not through violence.

Force is followed by loss of strength.
This is not the way of Tao.
That which goes against the Tao
comes to an early end.

Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.

He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is, endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.


The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

Hence it is said:
The bright path seems dim;
Going forward seems like retreat;
The easy way seems hard;
The highest virtue seems empty;
Great purity seems sullied;
A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate;
The strength of Virtue seems frail;
Real Virtue seems unreal;
The perfect square has no corners;
Great talents ripen late;
The highest notes are hard to hear;
The greatest form has no shape.
The Tao is hidden and without name.
The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfilment.


The softest thing in the universe
Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.
That without substance can enter where there is no room.
Hence I know the value of non-action.

Teaching without words and work without doing
Are understood by very few.

Modern interpretation:

If you want to be a leader
who's in touch with Tao,
never use violence
to achieve your goals.

Every act of violence backfires.
An army on the move
leaves a trail of tears,
and a military victory
always lies within ruins.

The Masters do what needs doing
and that's all they do.
Do what you have to do
without arrogance or pride.
Get the job done
and don't brag about it afterwards.
Do what you have to do,
not for your own benefit, but because it needs to be done.

And don't do it the way
you think it should be done,
do it the way it needs to be done.


The mighty will always lose their power
and any connection
they ever had to Tao.
They will not last long;
If you're not right with Tao,
you might as well be dead.

Weapons are terrible things.
If you want to get right with Tao,
reject weapons.

The Master,
knowing all things came from Tao,
recognizes what he has in common
with his enemies
and always tries to avoid conflict.

But when there is no other choice,
he uses force reluctantly.
He does so with great restraint,
and never celebrates a victory;
to do so would be to rejoice in killing.
A person who would rejoice in killing
has completely lost touch with Tao.

When you win a war,
you preside over a funeral.
Pay your respects to the dead."

The Tao Te Ching
a modern interpretation of Lao Tzu
perpetrated by Ron Hogan
copyright 2002, 2004

To find out more about Sensei Seth's club visit You can e-mail Peter at