7: Organized Discipline

Discipline is symbolized by water under the earth — a vital resource that is available but hidden, requiring effort to access. This potential can be drawn upon in times of need. Once it is accessed and applied, great things can be accomplished with organized discipline.

The most successful leader is not the one who triumphs on the battlefield, but the one able, through strength of discipline and inner power, to achieve conciliation without spilling blood. Likewise, in any large organization, key virtues are discipline and conscientiousness. The most effective team marches with a single purpose — a dedication to a lofty goal that is held dear by all. Even with an excess of external discipline, unpopular wars are seldom winnable.

Let power be held in check by the willing acceptance of a common discipline, and the submission to a higher authority for the common good. When life is in balance, evil impulses are checked by human decency; parents die before their children; leaders lead and followers follow. If you hold or aspire to a position of leadership, remember that the true leader captures the hearts of the people, and articulates a clear vision that binds them together.

In the realm of government, a good relationship between army and state is critical. Only when the state is economically prosperous can the army be strong. Only when the army is disciplined can the state be protected from disruptive outside forces. For this balance to be preserved, government must be steady, and benevolent toward its own people. When balancing strong complementary forces like this, modesty and generosity in the leadership can be a magnetic force that keeps the relationships intact. Solidarity is essential for success.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

At the beginning of any major movement, establishing good order is essential. Get your ducks in a row before you start quacking orders. Nothing good can be achieved without organizing your assets and coordinating your troops.

Line 2

Good fortune results when a general works in the midst of his troops. Then, when honors are bestowed, the entire army is proud to see their leader rewarded on their behalf.

Line 3

Misfortune follows if you overestimate your capabilities or underestimate your weaknesses. Be certain that you and those around you are playing the role for which each is best suited, and you will overcome challenges.

Line 4

A strategic retreat is called for. This is not a final defeat, but an opportunity to gain strength by removing yourself from the field of conflict. Retreat is a disciplined disengagement from all response, into neutrality and acceptance of the situation as it is.

Line 5

It is time to resist an invasive force. Strengthen your position by making sure that relationships and roles are in alignment as they should be. Do not allow your defense of the boundaries to deteriorate into a free-for-all, which would only make things worse. Wise leadership is called for now. In a time of combat, those who are experienced should lead; otherwise, just be supportive.

Line 6 (top line)

In times of victory, generosity is the cleanest reward to those who have helped you achieve success. Avoid making complicated promises in exchange for good work on your behalf, and never give rewards based on feelings alone. Rewards have as much to do with the future as with the past.