Mark Blasini


Seek the conditions first, then take direct action


"Therefore the skilled warrior first seeks to obtain the conditions for victory first, then do battle. The unskilled warrior first seeks to do battle, then seek the conditions for victory."

- Sun Tzu

This is one of the most important quotes from Sun Tzu that I can recommend. So many times, we think only about competing. About taking action, about starting, about moving forward.

But probably one of the most important questions you can ask yourself before starting an endeavor is:What are the conditions that would lead to success?

For example, let's say you are a singer-songwriter and you want to create a popular, high-selling album.

You could start by just writing songs and building an album from there. But that isjusttaking action. It doesn't at all guarantee that you'll have a popular, high-selling album.

Instead, you have to ask yourself: "What conditions will lead to a successful album?"

One condition is an audience - a large group of people who would be interested in buying what you have to sell. Another condition is promotion, in particular, word of mouth. Another condition is a place - a store, a website - to sell your album.

As a strategy, then, one thing you can do is to start by building an audience. You can start creating little videos of songs you can sing to get people interested.

Then, as you start building an audience, you can start writing little songs of your own. See which songs get the most interest, use feedback to improve the songs, and then put an improved version of that song on the album.

Next, find a place where you can sell your album, preferably somewhere that makes sampling and buying the album easy and gives you a good royalty.

Lastly, develop a promotional strategy. With your audience, think about what concept or idea will make your audience not only be interested in buying your album, but in sharing it with other people.

Once you have these conditions in place, then you can start developing the album, getting album artwork, doing press releases, booking shows, and more heavily promoting the album.

This is, of course, an overly simplified strategy, but hopefully the point is clear: find out what conditions need to be in your favor in order to win, and then seek to obtain those conditions first. Then you can take direct action towards winning.