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You’ve got to respect your enemies

Oscar Wilde had once said, “I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies!”

The fact is, many times, enemies are not created intentionally. But the reality is that they will exist despite us not wanting them—whether in battle or business.

But while we may not have a choice with our enemies, we can surely choose how to deal with them. It is like playing any sport: you need to have a strategy in place to win the game with the competitor.

Chanakya also respected his enemies. His advice was,  “He should enter the enemy’s residence with permission” (1.16.10)

In other words, always show respect to your enemies. Even though we may fight, let it be a ‘good’ fight and in the right spirit. But how do we do this? Here are some tips to deal with your competitors and enemies:

One of the reasons for the success story of the Australian cricket team is that they spend a lot of time closely studying the players of the opposite teams.


Never take them for granted

The competitor is as intelligent as you are, if not more. So do not take him for granted. Be alert and very careful about his moves. You never know when he may attack. On the other hand, you should not attack him—certainly never if your thinking is that he will definitely lose.

Study him totally

One of the reasons for the success story of the Australian cricket team is that they spend a lot of time closely studying the players of the opposite teams. They watch video clippings, find their weaknesses and identify strengths. With such a perfect analysis, making a game strategy for beating the opposition becomes very easy.

Practise, practise and more practise

Just because I have a good weapon in hand does not mean I will win the war. I should be able to use it well off the field before I use it in an actual war. The best warriors practise for hours together daily, even during peace times. You should too, may it be a presentation or just a demo at a programme.

Be cool

Being prepared for the war does not mean you should go to fight. War should always be the last option as it’s destructive and expensive. Therefore, even if your competitor tries to provoke you, be cool-headed. Never hate your enemy as it kills your logical thinking. Even in the political field, there are ‘peace’ talks before the war. So give room in your life too. It’s all about being like the defence force of any nation—being prepared for an attack at all times. But, if war doesn’t take place finally, do not hesitate to fight it to the last!

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.

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