“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
The Chinese Spring emerged in 520 BC; Sun Tzu was twenty-four years old at that time. He held a degree in political science from the University of Zen. Unemployed and hopeless like most of the youth in China at that time, he spent his twenties eating rice and thinking of methods to earn a living.
One morning, Sun Tzu was sitting under a lemon tree which he had known since he was ten years old. The tree knew all of Sun’s secrets and insecurities; he called that tree “Annchi”. On his twenty-fifth birthday; Sun Tzu sat beneath Annchi and cried for several days, then he spoke thus to her: “Children in China believed that they will one day grow up, begin to contribute productively to society, lead careers, and raise families of their own; this has been broken for an entire generation (if not generations) of Chinese youth, we are trapped in a tornado of doomed youth in which they call: the liminal period.” Annchi listened to Sun Tzu and nodded her branches sympathetically; after that Sun Tzu stared at the skies for another hour and eventually fell asleep. Annchi woke him up by dropping a lemon on his head; Sun stood up hastily and listened to the wise words of Annchi: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
At that point in time, Sun decided to cut down Wang Lei’s tree and use it for building a lemonade stand. Wang Lei was Sun’s neighbor and Sun didn’t like him, in fact no one did. The next morning, Wang Lei approached Sun’s lemonade stand with a heavy heart, looked him in the eye and said: “Thanks for cutting down my tree Sun!”
Sun Tzu stood calmly like a grasshopper and responded with: “Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems, I found an opportunity and I took it.”
Wang Lei: “I fell asleep for two hours in the afternoon and woke up to find that my tree was chopped down.”
Sun Tzu: “Exactly, even the finest sword plunged into salt water will eventually rust.”
Wang Lei: “You think you’re a wise guy for chopping down your neighbor’s tree?”
Sun Tzu: “It is more important to out-think your enemy, than to outfight him. The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
After listening to Sun Tzu’s nonsense, Wang Lei walked away and Sun Tzu remained selling lemonade for the rest of his life: the liminal period.