Surround yourself with an air of calmness before a great event is about to happen

The true power of calmness lies within reach for everyone.

Bond Wang
4 min readMay 20, 2024
Photo by British Library on Unsplash

“Calm is a super power,” said Bruce Lee.

It’s the theme of the workshop I attended this past weekend. The full quote is,

“One of the best lessons you can learn in life is to master how to remain calm. Calm is a super power.”

Bruce Lee’s ability to stay calm helped him win countless combats in his career. And as I learned, calmness can even set the fate of a nation. The host shared a captivating story about staying calm in the war.

Two thousand years ago, a nation was led by King Zhuang and his war advisor Gui. Their kingdom was constantly under threat from a neighboring nation. One day, the formidable enemy massed at their border. King Zhuang summoned his army and marched to the border. Gui was riding alongside him in the same chariot.

The two armies approached each other. They stood at the borderline, each waiting for the other to make a move. King Zhuang grew anxious and wanted to order an immediate strike. However, Gui, renowned for his calmness and patience, advised his king, “It’s not time yet.” The enemy beat their war drums first. Once, twice, … only after the third round did Gui give the order to attack. Having exhausted their initial surge of energy, the enemy was caught off guard and instantly defeated. They turned their horses and retreated in panic.

King Zhuang was emboldened by the victory and wanted to order a chase. Yet again, his advisor said, ”It’s not time yet.” Gui then dismounted, crouched to the ground, and examined the wheel ruts left by the enemy’s carts. Under King Zhuang’s watchful gaze, Gui climbed to the top of their chariot to observe the enemy troops. The tracks behind them were disheveled. Their flags were drooping and trampled. He came down and ordered the pursuit of the enemy. This led to a complete victory and many years of peace along their border.

Baffled, King Zhuang later asked Gui for the secret to his success. Gui said, “Winning a battle is more about the morale of your troops. The enemy’s morale is highest with the first drumbeat, diminishes with the second, and falters by the third. We struck at the peak of our excitement against their waning energy. As for the retreat, I wanted to be sure it wasn’t a trap. The disarray of their wheel ruts and the fallen flags confirmed their collapse. Only then was it safe to pursue.”

“A Chinese proverb says, surround yourself with an air of calmness before a great event is about to happen,” the host explained. “This proverb is beautifully illustrated by a Western art, the sculpture ‘David of Michelangelo’.” David’s eyes, his posture, and the stone weapon in his hand all emanate profound calmness and readiness before a battle. Calmness is a powerful weapon, especially in critical moments. It allows us to focus, to see beyond the noises, and to make wise decisions.

In our modern lives, we often face battles of our own — career, relationship, and personal goals. Maintaining calm amidst chaos can be our greatest strength. The true power of calmness lies within reach for everyone, whether you are in combat or a war. It’s in your mind. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius advised, “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Another war advisor in Chinese history, Zhuge Liang, since said, “There are two ways to become a better man: being calm to build your mind and being simple to build your virtue.” We can find plenty of Western stories to illustrate this, too. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced immense adversity throughout his life. His ability to remain composed and focused in the face of violence gave him super power. This calmness not only inspired his followers but also led to significant progress toward his goals. He said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Whether it’s on ancient battlefields or in the complexities of modern life, calmness can indeed win the world. It empowers us to act with clarity, to wait for the right moment, and to make decisions that lead to lasting victories. Surround yourself with an air of calmness, for it is the key to overcoming our challenges and achieving our goals.



Bond Wang

Forget injuries, never forget kindness. Hey, I write about life, culture, and daydreams. Hope I open a window for you, as well as for myself.