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There are events in your life that keep playing on repeat.

You think you just have bad luck.

But, here's the truth:

"... instead of responding to present circumstances, they were repeating formulas that had worked in the past." - Robert Greene

The quote above is taken from The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene, specifically from the chapter called Don't Fight The Last War

Here's a short animated summary of it:

However, I'm not here to discuss war strategies at length.

It's just that, in my opinion, this concept of Don't Fight The Last War can also be applied in our daily life, especially at the workplace and in relationships with other people.

Here are the lessons:

#1 Not thinking or being nostalgic about past successes / failures

Move on and face new challenges without being influenced by previous experiences. 

This is especially true when we enter a new workplace or move to another industry. 

Empty your cup, which means that you clear your mind from all past knowledge and experiences.

Be open to receiving new ones.

It can also be applied when you assume a leadership position and are managing a team. 

Don't be stubborn in doing things your own way. 

Most people are prone to this when they are the seniors and accustomed to certain habits.

Robert Greene says that it's because, as we grow older, we become rooted to the past.

When you repeat something, you hinder creativity. 

Rapper 50 Cent had applied this technique during his hustler days, by adapting to the environment.

This hustler's flow takes a more feminine approach (no resistance), which mimicks the flow of water. 

It simply means that, at work or in your business, you observe the current trends and adapt to it, instead of forcing old methods to produce results.

To start, you must be okay in learning from your younger team members or subordinates.

You must also ensure that learning is a lifelong journey for you. 

There is no destination in education.

#2 If divorced, start a new relationship without bringing 'baggage' from previous marriage

This is important if your past relationship was with someone who cheated, has narcissistic traits, or has abused you. 

No matter how toxic it was, don't suspect or expect the worst from your new boyfriend or husband. 

Not everyone is a cheater or a narcissist.

However, your past experiences with these men serve as a guide for you to observe similar destructive patterns that may repeat themselves in your new relationship.

It is because people hardly change.

From there, you will decide whether what you have observed is a red flag that should make you run.

Additionally, don't fight the last war strategy also applies if you were the one who messed in in your relationship. 

Once you have decided to change and become a better version of yourself, throw away the shame and guilt.

Move on with your life and start fresh with a clean slate.

#3 One successful technique may not be suitable for all situations 

A great samurai named Miyamoto Musashi had won many battles that he was respected by the masses. 

He was smart in reading any situation, which allowed him to have the upper hand and take advantage. 

He had once won a duel just by arriving late to the venue. 

His opponent was so angry that he couldn't focus on the match, which costed him his precious life. 

Related article: Be independent at work

Nonetheless, he used a different technique for another duel, 

He decided to arrive early and hid behind the bushes to study the behaviour of his opponent. 

He was one of the most respected swordsmen in Japan because he was never tied to any specific technique or skill to win a battle, no matter how effective it was. 

Here's a quote from Miyamoto Musashi from his book The Book of Five Rings (as quoted in the 33 Strategies of War):

"When you and your opponentare engaged in combat, which is dragging on with no end in sight, it is crucial that you should come up with a completely different technique. By refreshing your mind and techniques as you continue to fight your opponent, you will find an appropriate rhythm-timing with which to defeat him. When you and your opponent become stagnant, you must immediately employ a different method of dealing with him in order to overcome him."


In history, there were many generals who lost their lives because their minds were not focused on reality.

Instead, they were influenced by the success or failure from the past or the uncertainties of the future

In whatever situation, the most dangerous thing for us to do is to solve today's problem using yesterday's solution. 

Robert Greene states that:

"Strategy is not a question of learning a series of moves or ideas to follow like a recipe: victory has no magic formula." 

Past experiences are meant to be lessons to learn, not the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

The same goes with us. 

According to Lao Tzu, we become depressed when you are overwhelmed with sadness, anger, regret... 

This is because you are unable to let go of the past. 

When you are anxious, you are usually consumed with worry, fear..., which usually originate from events that have not happened yet. 

Be in the now / present moment.

This is one of the traits of a feminine woman.

Based on Eckhart Tolle's teachings, you can learn about how mindfulness brings balance and a sense of inner peace in your life

While many people benefit from meditations, in Islam, focus is taught through the concept of khusyu' in our prayers

For me, this is the only way for us to face new challenges with a sharp mind. 

And win battles!

Hope it helps!


I'd really appreciate your support!

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