The Art of War by Sun Tzu is widely recommended by many as not only a book of war strategies, but also a great source of life lessons.
The Art of War can also be a great source of inspiration and guidance to web designers and developers in their daily tasks problems and client servicing.
I’ll write down here my readings from The Art of War that you can apply in your personal life, work, and self-improvement.
Life and The Art of War
Web designers and developers are easily replaceable. Every day there are hundreds of new people entering the industry. The competition is growing bigger and the only way to ensure success is by keep on training yourself and strengthen your skills. Never stop learning.
In our work, there are a lot of cases when clients would ask for several revisions, tweaks, and minor requests that just accumulate and take away days to weeks of our time. And in our line of work at Triangle Mena, every second truly counts. Learning how to say no, or at least how to renegotiate the details, will come a long way.
Other times several projects will present themselves and you will have to make the hard decision to choose which one to accept, or risk burning yourself, which is harder. This is also a good way of saying that you need to balance your work life and personal life. Is it really a victory that you completed several projects in a week if you missed your nephews’ birthday?
For practically anyone, every action counts. It’s important to be careful, to think twice, and to plan carefully. Even the smallest mistake could prove costly, and what you may lose might be something you could never get back.
This is a good way of saying never burn bridges, both in your personal and professional life. Particularly with web designers and developers who mostly thrive through their clients. It doesn’t matter if you had a hard time dealing with a specific client, try not to lose contact with them. Who knows, maybe your calm interaction with them even when they were totally aggressive can go a long way into the future.
Before making any kind of decision, consider the pros and cons, as well as the consequences that each possible decision could bring forth.
This is particularly helpful when dealing with people around you. Another version of this is, “think before you speak” or “measure twice, cut once.”
Work and The Art of War
Make sure to devote a significant amount of time to planning for any project. The importance of a sound plan cannot be overstated; however, without solid action, a plan is just a plan, and nothing more.
This particular quote is of great significance to team leaders. A web design and development team doesn’t need to have all the advantages just to ensure success. Learn how to manage people, set expectations, and more importantly, develop skill sets.
A balance of proper training, initiative, and cooperation will take your team places – you don’t need to be a multi-billion-dollar team of experts to come up with a quality website or award-winning design. Remember, it’s not how you start, it’s how you end.
It’s not in the quantity of tools you have; it’s in how you use them. This quote, which curiously has “design” written all over it, should remind web developers and designers that what truly matters is learning to work with what you have.
Apart from learning how to use your tools properly, you also need to learn to manage risks. Don’t be afraid to try new and unfamiliar things. No one could have known that blue and red make violet, or that mixing red and yellow would result in orange, if no one tried mixing the colors. who knows, a brighter future might be waiting for you, situated where you can’t see it by if you stayed in the same place.
Learn to spot opportunities as they arrive; these may be in the form of a new idea for process improvement, catching the attention of a potential big client, or even going to drastic measures such as quitting your day job in order to start your own web design and development agency.
The point here is to always aim high and play to win. Capitalize on every opportunity to get ahead, as long as it doesn’t involve stepping on other people. Think about it. People who have succeeded much in life fought and pushed hard when they saw the opportunity.
Focus is important in order to succeed. Concentrate on key areas of improvement, and don’t try to be everything and anything at once. It is not reasonable to expect designers to be content writing experts, for example, or web developers to be social media strategists.
This is another mistake many of us commit. We tend to think of ourselves as experts in many fields, and in some instances it may be true, but there is only so much we can do with our limited time. Furthermore, it is also proven that spreading yourself across many things, known as multi-tasking, is bad for your well-being and career.
Personal Improvement and The Art of War
As is in everything in life, it is important to have a good understanding of everything. Knowing yourself, how you react to certain things, will go a long way. Especially as a web designer or developer, dealing with clients every day is unavoidable. Knowing their personality will save you from so much trouble.
For example, during my early days as a managing director, I failed to realize that my client then didn’t have an understanding of how websites worked, and I loaded him with details about hosting, php, CMS, live streaming… Safe to say, I didn’t become his favourite.
Whether it’s for work or for personal satisfaction, jump in because of passion and because you want to do something, not because you’re expecting some form of compensation or glory at the end. While it’s true that every journey has a destination, you’ll quickly find that there is more to be gained along the way than at the end.
Keep in mind that true victory lies in making decisions that you feel no regret for. If you pursued something that ultimately did not succeed the way you wanted it to, it still counts as a victory, for the sole reason that you put hard work into it and received valuable lessons in return.
Strike efficiently, and strike quickly. If you have ideas for self-improvement or projects that you truly believe in, don’t act tomorrow or next week. Act now. Clients won’t wait for you; you need to catch up with them. The same is true for your dreams. Why delay the implementation of your awesome idea? If you wait long enough, someone else with the same idea will build it.
I am talking about learning from mistakes and chaos. No one has reached a great deal of success without experiencing their fair share of problems.
There is always a lesson to be learned in the midst of chaos. It may be difficult to deal with now, but if you push yourself to fix the issue, you won’t have to deal with it again in the future.
For everyday people like you and me, a career change can go a long way. In fact, right now, there are a lot of people founding their own start-ups. This rings particularly true for me. I left my job 4 years ago in order to establish Triangle Mena, which was the second best decision I made.
The best decision I made is partnering up with ITWorksMe. Be it a new skill, new project, or new career you are thinking of, if it makes you lose sleep at night and makes you all excited in the morning, you might want to consider pursuing it!
Here’s one more passage from The Art of War for everyone to remember: “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” Overall, what The Art of War tells us is that we need to be aware of ourselves and of others. By keeping an open mind to the things that are happening around us, we can make informed decision that will not only help us in our personal lives, but also at work.
Prepared by Nadim Bou Yazbeck