Nov 302011
Flowing River by Joel Davies

Everything has a Tao. A situation may have a Tao, but how the people involved manage and deal with it is unique to them. The best way to act in accord with the Tao of a situation depends on the person involved. Factors such as goals, interests, beliefs, circumstances and creativity affect the choices open to them. What is the best choice for one may not be in the best interests of another.

Even so, when it comes to managing any situation, there are a few key steps. It does not really matter whether the situation is simple or complex. When you break it down, these are the basic steps to manage any situation.

How to Manage the Tao of a Situation

1. Define Goals

No matter a situation and its Tao, it will have no meaning for you without realistic goals. Goals give you clarity about how to act in any situation. With this clarity, you will know what to do and what not to do. You will know what you can and cannot do. In the process, you become more aware of the Tao of the situation. It will place the situation in the context of your goals and from there, you will know how to manage and proceed.

2. Identify Challenges

The next step is to identify the challenges that hinder you from reaching your goals. Here, this step provides further clarity in a given situation. You will know what your strengths and weaknesses are and where you should focus your efforts. Focus is vital because you cannot take on everything at once. You must marshal your resources to tackle the most pressing problems in a given situation to manage it well.

3. Create Solutions

Once you are clear about your challenges, you will have to find ways and means to resolve them. Here the more creative you are, the more choices you have. It is often by thinking out of the box or turning it inside out into another shape that you find the best answer. If you cannot think of a good way to resolve your challenges, find someone who can. It is not possible to be an expert in all areas and getting help when you face problems helps. Others may have vital insights that you might otherwise miss.

The key point about challenges is choice. You have to decide which course of action to take and which path to follow. The right choice leads to success, the wrong one leads to failure or worse. Here, it is also a good idea to have a backup plan in case the first one fails.

4. Execution of Plan

The best-laid plans rarely go as planned. Success therefore, relies on refinement through trial and error. When things do not go as you wish, you have to find out why and adapt as needed. The key is to consider and prepare for the outcome of your plan to ensure you are ready no matter what happens. Failure, as they say, is the mother of success.

Map Reading by Joe Flintham

Simple Situations

Under ideal conditions with low stakes, you will manage without too much problems. On the one hand, you may have the direct or indirect experience needed. On the other hand, you may be able to gain enough information to assess the Tao of a situation. This will give you an idea of what to do. But even in the worst-case scenario where you fail, the price is not too high to pay. You can afford to fail until you succeed.

Complex Situations

But what if the situation is complex? In fact, many situations are rarely ideal or simple. They can be of the crisis variety where you have to struggle to survive. Here, failure is not a welcomed option and it can have catastrophic results when it happens.

Few people make good choices in a crisis especially when the stakes are high. This is due to fear, stress, and the unknowns that makes a crisis complex and obscures the Tao. It does not matter whether it is personal, national, regional or global. The struggle to grapple with the unknowns is the same. The key difference of these situations is the resultant impact of a poor choice. The bigger the crisis, the more people it will affect.

It is hard to discern the Tao of a crisis based on logic and intuition alone. You may be able to see part of the picture, but you may miss the crucial bits. Because of this, you may not act as quickly or as decisively as you should. Or you may be too hasty and reckless by not thinking things through carefully. Despite having some of the most brilliant minds in their cabinets, world leaders rarely make wise choices for many reasons. This usually has devastating results if the crisis is global.

What If?

But what if you know the outcome of the choices you make in advance? What if you know the Tao of a situation and the possibilities open to you at any given time? How would you manage differently? Chances are you would make the best choice and take the best path available to you.

When facing any crisis, it helps to know the answers beforehand to these questions. “What is the outcome of each action and choice that I make?” Knowing the answer to this question reveals the Tao of the situation as well. It becomes clear, even if I have imperfect knowledge, what I can and cannot do.

Job Interview by Bpsusf

Choosing the Best Course of Action

In the end, it all boils down to making the best choice. Creating solutions is only part of the process. You must also know how to choose the best one from the lot. This ability to discern the best choice will reduce mistakes and needless problems to a great degree. Yet if you knew the outcome of your actions in advance, this is not a difficult process at all.

To do so, I usually rely on the Yijing to discern the Tao of a situation. I also use the Yijing to assess my solutions. By knowing the outcome of my actions in advance, I am able to make the best choice I can. It is not possible to know exactly what will happen, but I can get an idea of how things will go.

For example, I can use the Yijing to see how an interview will go for me after I have prepared for it. From the reading, I will be able to grasp the Tao of the interview. I will also know how adequate my preparations are and what the interviewers want. Should I be forceful or deferential? Should I be dynamic or receptive? I will know how to pitch myself according to the demands of each interview.

Additionally, I will also be able to see the key incidents in each interview. For example, an incident might occur where it is not advisable to go too far. With this in mind, I will keep a lookout for this event and then ensure that when it happens, I resist the urge to press my point strongly. In this manner, I am more likely to leave a good impression. Had I been unaware, I might have ended up pressing my point strongly as I normally would. Otherwise, this incident would never have appeared. It takes insight and discernment to avoid acting by default and as the times demand.

It is my experience that the more complex a situation is, the more questions I will have to ask. My questions usually focus on the unknowns. I ask myself what answers I need to know what to do and then formulate my questions from there. As such, clarity of goals is very important as I stated early on. By being able to make the best choice in any given situation, I am always able to align my actions with the Tao to my benefit.

Taking Action

Knowing the best choice to make in any situation has changed my life forever. In the past, I used to worry about my actions and choices. As a result, I was always on edge, full of fear and worry. Because I could not sense the Tao of a situation, it is no surprise that I did not make good choices. I usually walked into crisis after crisis and pitfall after pitfall.

All that changed when I started using the Yijing to discern the Tao of a situation. My life has less unnecessary surprises and there is less worry. After all, if I know what will happen in advance, it is just a matter of taking the needed steps to deal with it. Having the will to see hard choices through over a long period is another story.

The good thing about my approach is its universal application. I can apply it to any area or problem in life that involves choice. If people acted in accord with the Tao of each situation, life would be smoother, simpler, happier and more satisfying. I cannot help but wonder how this would change the world if world leaders knew the best choices to make. Because of our interdependence, the best choice usually involves the greater good.

In my next article, I will do case studies of real life examples. I will show you the approach I take in detail to make better choices. Is there any particular example you wish to see? How will knowing the outcome of your actions and choices beforehand change your life? Do share your thoughts and comments below! :)

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  16 Responses to “How to Manage the Tao of a Situation”

  1. Hi Irving! I have been waiting for this follow-up post to the previous one. The section “choosing the best course of action” has captured my attention and now I am following your all of your links in the section. I had to page back just to leave a quick comment before studying your notes. It all very fascinating! Thank you for posting this!!!
    Ajen recently posted..Facebook Friends and PerceptionsMy Profile

    • Hi Ajen,

      I am glad you found my article fascinating. :)

      Choosing the best solution is the most important component in managing the Tao of a situation. But this is the part where many people make mistakes in. I hope it has helped you somewhat to resolved the problems you face.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  2. Thanks for another great insight, or series of insights, Irving. I always feel uplifted when I visit your site.

    Re this matter of making the right choice, I find in my own life the essential precursor here is to want passionately to make the right choice. Unseen forces then come to our assistance, in my experience.
    Christopher Foster recently posted..Why I am happy and fulfilled at 79My Profile

    • Hi Christopher,

      I am glad you fine my writing uplifting! Thank you for your kind words! :)

      Yes it is indeed true. When we want to make the right choices and flow in accord with the situation or Tao, unseen forces come to our assistance and inspire us to make the right decisions at the right times.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  3. Hi there Irving!

    So the clue here is to expect the unexpected, hmm?

    It’s interesting how you use diviniation to discover things. I must admit I can’t understand half of it, though I probably would if I tried.

    Well, we are all different beings and each situation are unique to us, so… I was supposed to write something smart here, but it fell away. Damn it :(
    Sol | Some Insight Required recently posted..Using Your Emotions When WritingMy Profile

    • Hi Sol,

      I feel that when it comes to managing the Tao of any situation, it is best to prepare for the unexpected. It is usually the unexpected that derails all our carefully laid plans so identifying and preparing for them in advance is best. If it is not possible to pre-empt the unexpected then the next best alternative is to face them with our eyes open and to make the best of things.

      From what you write I believe you have greater potential than I do intuitively. It is merely a matter of finding a divination system that appeals to and works for you and practicing. It will also help I feel if you have a philosophy of managing life. For me, the Yijing provides these 2 things which is why I chose to devote my practice to it.

      We are indeed different beings and each situation we face is unique because of this. But here it is important to note that we can all make better choices if we are more aware of how to manage.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! You have enabled me to expand on the points you made and that is a great contribution to this article! :)

  4. Vizier Irving,

    You distilled the process of handling any situation really well with the four steps to handle any situation – goals, challenges, solutions and execution. This is a very logical sequence of action to take and it will cut out lots of confusion in the process.

    I am for a little bit of intuitive injection at the the solution stage. In other words, during the creative process would it be good to tap into our inner senses for better solutions for us to choose subsequent. Do you use your yijing during this process at all?

    This whole process reminded me a lot about how we conduct planning in NS. When all the options are presented by all the staff officers, the commanders can still choose the least favored option because of some hunch or his gut feel. This is exactly what you are talking about when it comes to using yijing to confirm things further.
    Jimmy recently posted..The Needs of Our Souls for Inspired LivingMy Profile

    • Hi Jimmy,

      Logic does have its uses in life. After all, the world has advanced the way it has based to a large extent on logical thinking. So it is important to use logic as part of the process to manage the Tao of a situation. But as you rightly point out, logic is just part of the process. We need to include intuition to have a holistic approach.

      This is an excellent question you have raised. Do I use the Yijing during the creative process.

      In fact, the very first question I always ask when facing any situation is what lies ahead for me. By knowing the answer to this question, I can immediately assess how adequate my abilities are to manage. I will know whether I can score a big victory or if I have to escape with my life. The answer to this question will also determine the direction of my plans and solutions as I can a sense of what is possible and what is not. The answer to this question only shows the possible outcome by default and it is not set in stone. As I have always maintained, the more creative I am, the more likely I will find a solution to resolve the issue. The limits are defined by our creativity. If we lack creativity, then seek help from others who are more creative.

      Also, if I am unsure of how to proceed exactly, I might ask the Yijing what I can do or how best to manage to gain some ideas. The problem is that the answer may be too general for it to make sense or for me to apply. Usually it serves as guidelines of the direction for me to take.

      This is why I prefer to create or find a logical solution first and then assess its feasibility with the Yijing in most cases. Knowing which plan will have a higher chance of success and which one will meet with difficulty is usually enough for me to know what I should and should not do.

      The reason the whole process reminded you of the way planning is conducted in NS is because I am a history/military buff haha! I usually plan for important situations the way military commanders do. And it helps that the ancient Chinese relied on divination to assess the feasibility of their plans as well. Although I am not sure if they were as meticulous as I am. Maybe they were wiser so they did not have to ask so many questions.

      But yes, gut feel or hunches might be wrong because we are unable to grasp the full picture or the full Tao of the situation. Instead, we come to the wrong conclusions because we focus on the wrong things when we have only a partial view. This is why it is important to divine with the Yijing. The thing I really love about the book is that you can apply it to any decision you make in daily life when the outcome matters.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. Thanks for the continuation of your series blogs. You points are very relevant in taking some risks into business. But because you already expect and had identified the challenges and other problems it may cause, you can probably get some solutions too.
    Francoise recently posted..My Arowana Is Not Eating No Matter What I Do !!!My Profile

    • Hi Francoise,

      The beauty of the Yijing is that you can apply it to any area of life.

      If we all realized that we can know the unknown and unexpected in advance, we will make decisions very differently.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. It is interesting that you say that having a yijing reading can help with the reduction of stress. It sounds very much like a tarot card reading, something of which I am learning currently.

    Much of what you have shared makes sense. It will be interesting to see how the yijing can enhance our ability to experience life more smoothly. I am looking forward to reading the case studies.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..How To Create Magic Every Single DayMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      I believe that all forms of divination share some similarities. After all, no matter what type you use, you are trying to find answers to the questions you have. I think what matters is to find the type of divination that appeals most to you and then to focus and study it. I actually heard of Tarot cards before I discovered the Yijing.

      I recall my first divination reading was by someone using Tarot cards. Being young and impressionable, I was rather unnerved by the insights that the Tarot reading provided. The real reason I learned divination was because I understood how easy it is for a diviner to come to the wrong conclusion when doing a reading. In divination, no one understands the situation better than the querent. A diviner who lacks sufficient skill or insight may well lead the querent to the wrong conclusion. This can have fatal consequences when so much hinges on the advice the diviner provides.

      This is why I always strive to blend logic with intuition. If it doesn’t make sense logically, I won’t suggest the advice. Even today, I am still amazed by how events can be foreseen through divination over a year in advance. It is as if the forces have been set in motion long before we become aware of it. In fact, many of the insights I have about divination come from other areas in life. I generally apply my love for history and strategy to divinations. Such is the interconnectedness of life.

      One way of improving your divination ability is to challenge yourself to foresee events through divination. I recently read that a plane crashed into a residential area in the Philippines. If you had been one of the people living in that area, how would you have foreseen and pre-empted this event through divination? These are the questions I like to ask myself to improve my ability to divine and to keep it relevant in the world today. So much of the insights gained through divination depends on the skill and creativity of the diviner.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! I hope you divination journey is fruitful! I know it will be something I will devote the rest of my life to perfecting my skill. :)

  7. nice text Irving! I wouldn’t have thought that a situation can have a Tao, too. I like your Tao-interpretation in this context. It is very inspirational. Sometimes it is the only way to get things forward to see them from an other aspect. (or out of the box, or inside out). Sometimes we only have to cross our artifical borders to solve that problem.
    Cindy recently posted..Toothache home remedies and natural curesMy Profile

    • Hi Cindy,

      I am glad you found my article inspirational. :)

      Indeed if we can open our mind to possibilities, we are more likely to find creative solutions to our problems.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  8. Well, I will be putting some of your steps to good use as I am in one big Tao of a situation. Getting my steps in order and priorities in place and will start moving forward.
    Thanks for the great points!
    Barbara recently posted..Has your world ever been turned up-side down?My Profile

    • Hi Barbara,

      I hope you are managing better now from when we last spoke.

      Your situation is clearly not easy to manage, but getting your steps in order and your priorities in place will help to create some order in the chaos and that is important in the rebuilding.

      I wish I could do more to help other than just giving advice. Do take care of yourself!

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