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33: Retreat


All worthy goals meet resistance of some kind. When negative forces predominate, a well-timed retreat is a good way to stay on the path to ultimate success. Tibetans know this.

Strategic retreat is not to be confused with escape or surrender. Successful retreat demands quick and nimble movement — taking up a new position before you are damaged by the current situation. You are not admitting defeat by temporarily retreating, but simply increasing your options, and preserving your resources. Sometimes it is necessary to slow down, let go or move back in order to develop countermoves for the future. Timing is critical, as is how well you position yourself after realignment. Considerations of personal security are critical.

Periods of withdrawal or retreat call for cool-headedness. It is necessary to keep your wits about you. Attend to small details while allowing yourself time to contemplate the whole picture. Be creative; not all progress follows a straight line. Self-confidence is also essential; small setbacks can easily become defeats if we allow ourselves to become mired in self-doubt or self-pity.

Waves of progress are, by their nature, short-lived. Learn to attune yourself to the up-and-down cycles of life. When the wave is behind you, ride it in; when it's not, lie low. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can 'fix' any situation whenever you feel like it. Some things are bigger than you are. Hold your pride in check and you will be better prepared to find creative openings.

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