To win a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the hallmark of skill. The acme of skill is to subdue the enemy without even fighting.
—The Art of War
One who excels in warfare does not await the deployment of forces.
One who excels at eliminating the misfortunes of people manages them before they appear.
Conquering the enemy means being victorious over the formless.
The superior fighter does not engage in battle.
Thus one who fights and attains victory in front of naked blades is not a good general.
One who makes preparations after the battle is not a superior Sage!
—The Six Secret Teachings
You start with an idea—a notion—about
something you want to do or something you want to get or someone you want to become.
Before you take action or even make an action plan, you should first take a moment and see if it’s worth it.
To borrow a business term, you need to do a “feasibility study.”
You need to gather as much quality information as you can roughly estimate the feasibility of the project.
Or in terms of conflict, this is an initial “sizing up” of the opponent in the environment.
For instance, the annoying loudmouth at the bar often has a crew to back him up, so you might want to think twice before telling him that he is an annoying loudmouth.