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Building Your Empire: One Brick At A Time

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Build Your Empire. One Brick At A Time

In the ancient annals of strategic warfare, Sun Tzu's wisdom reverberates through the ages. But can this military philosopher's teachings apply to the seemingly tranquil domain of a painting contractor? As one delves into his teachings, the answer becomes resoundingly clear: the art of war is much like the art of painting — both require precision, foresight, and a steady hand.

1. Commitment & Focus: The Unwavering Brush Stroke

"In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity."

As Sun Tzu highlights the possibility amidst disorder, so must a painter recognize the chaos of distractions. Painting, like warfare, is a task of finesse and focus. When one flits from one spot to another without completing, the canvas remains marred with unfinished strokes. Such is the peril of multiple uncompleted tasks in our lives.

A general who splits his forces risks defeat. Similarly, a painter dividing attention between many tasks may end up with none completed to satisfaction. Stick to one mission, one brush stroke, and see it to its flawless completion.

2. Reaction vs. Intention: The Battlefield of Distractions

"The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought."

Our daily battleground is riddled with immediate demands, beeping notifications, and unending tasks. Living reactively is akin to a general entering battle without a plan, reacting only when arrows fly.

Strive instead for a life of intention, much like a painter who visualizes the finished artwork before the brush even touches the canvas. By taking proactive steps, one not only deflects the arrows of distractions but also creates masterpieces of their days.

3. Planning & Prioritizing: The Strategy on Canvas

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."

The Eisenhower matrix, much like Sun Tzu's own stratagems, is a tool for prioritization. As Sun Tzu emphasized preparation, so must a painter (or anyone, really) allocate dedicated time for plotting out their course of action. To see the big picture, one must sometimes step back from the canvas and evaluate.

With such tools and dedicated planning sessions, clarity emerges from chaos, and the road ahead becomes a clear path rather than a labyrinth of distractions.

4. Thinking Time: The General's Retreat

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."

Sun Tzu emphasizes the seizing of opportunities, which often spring from moments of quiet reflection. This “thinking time”, whether amidst the aroma of fresh paint or the solitude of a quiet room, is the crucible of innovation.

Just as a general must retreat to strategize, so must individuals take time to introspect, rejuvenate, and envision their next move. This reflection time becomes the bedrock upon which grand visions are built.

5. Power of Finishing: The Victory Cry

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."

There's a euphoria in placing the final brush stroke, an exhilaration akin to a warrior’s victory cry. Sun Tzu emphasized preparation and foresight, but also the importance of seeing the battle to its conclusion.

Reflect upon tasks left halfway, projects begun in zest but lost to procrastination. The power isn't just in starting but in crossing the finish line. Every finished task is a conquered battleground.

5. Community Engagement: Rallying the Troops

"The strength of a wall is neither greater nor less than the men who defend it."

The final brushstroke, though crucial, is but a part of the masterpiece. For its value is truly recognized when it resonates with others. Engaging with peers, much like rallying troops, fosters a sense of belonging, amplifying individual efforts.

Encourage commentary, invite insights, and most importantly, be open to feedback. In the world of painting and beyond, it’s the community that adds color and depth to any endeavor.


The strategic wisdom of Sun Tzu is as applicable to the strokes of a brush as it is to the moves on a battlefield. As the ancient strategist might say if he were a painting contractor today: “In painting as in war, precision, strategy, and finishing are paramount. Paint with purpose, plan with foresight, and always complete your masterpiece.”

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