Opinion / Blog

What we can learn from ancient China?

By enlighting ( Updated: 2015-04-29 17:06

In the previous blog post, I have talked about multiple skills and Chinese connection. Today, I will share my observation about some of the people from ancient China and why they were able to do multiple tasks. A caveat: my observation could be totally wrong or irrelevant 

So, let me go back to my previous post and continue where I left off. The first person who comes to my mind is 'Zhuge Liang'. I got to know about him while watching the movie 'Battle of Red Cliff'. Although a lot of things depicted in the movie are fictitious, yet they do not take away the credit that he deserves for his command on various state affairs. An honorable person of his time, modern China gives him the same respect he got in the ancient time. So who is this person? And why I am talking about him? To get an answer, just go last of this post and then jump back again here. 

So, I tried to get back into history and put my own thoughts on what made him master of so many different skills. Here are some of my observation based on studying his life, my own knowledge of Chinese history and definitely some imagination. 

- Loneliness: He was orphaned at an early age and some of the historical documents suggest that he self-learnt many of his renowned skills. Being lonely is not a good thing at all but I believe that at times it can be good. In early days of his life, he used solitude to rely on himself for many things. May be that is the reason he mastered so many different skills on his own. This can be true for many other people of ancient and current time. When we rely on self-learning, we master different things with much more proficiency.  

- Responsibility and Trust: He was a military commander or strategist for 'Liu bei', one of the famous landlords of that era. But going back to history, Liu bei was not powerful when Zhuge Liang started to serve under him. Liu bei gave him responsibility and put full faith on his abilities (many of which were untested at that time). I guess that improved his ability to apply many of his skills into real situation. One by one, he was able to master them and helped his master gain foothold in many battles. I believe this can be true even today, if people are trusted and made responsible for their tasks, even amateur person can do different things with great efficiency. 

- Loyalty: This may not be that much relevant today due to the change in thinking process. Loyalty in that period meant 'Zhuge Liang' could ask for as many state resources he wanted to implement his ideas or plans. His earlier success meant that further plans were never doubted by his master.  Does this hold true today? I guess, yes, but in different forms. 

Hopefully, these observations allowed you to understand some of the reasons why people were able to master multiple skills. I am not an expert, only curious to learn from past and apply it in present. Hopefully you will like it too.

In my next blog post, I will try to understand another person from Chinese history. 

Short profile of Zhuge Liang from the website:

Historically, Zhuge Liang was also known as Zhuge Kong Ming (ZKM). He was nicknamed "The Hidden Dragon" due to the fact that people around him underestimated his capacity to achieve great things. Other translations of his nickname were "Crouching Dragon" and "Sleeping Dragon."

The original blog is at:


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