Miyamoto Musashi was a strategist, warrior and philosopher that lived in Japan in the 16th century.
His writings have influenced martial artists, business leaders and entrepreneurs to improve their performance.
In his classic work The Book of Five Rings, he outlines 9 ways or principles of strategy that one can use to be successful in any endeavour.
Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world ~ Miyamoto Musashi
The 9 Ways of Strategy by Miyamoto Musashi
Here I use these 9 principles and apply them to a personal or business website project.
1. Do not think dishonestly
Approach your website with authenticity and transparency. This is especially true if your blog is a personal one but many business websites actively violate this rule out of the misguided idea that they need to build their ‘brand’.
This willingness to be honest and open is the main tool you have to overcome people’s natural skepticism and wariness online.
Face to face people can see your reactions and hear your voice to gain a quick idea of your character. On the web you need to go the extra mile to even get close to this effect. This is one reason an effective about page is so important.
2. The way is in training
To create a successful website you need to have enough skills in publishing, marketing, WordPress, SEO, writing and an understanding of what will be effective for your target audience. You owe it to yourself to be proficient enough with the basic skills so that your efforts are not undermined.
The essence of strategy is that you must train day and night. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
3. Become acquainted with the arts
Synergy is the way of nature. A fully integrated approach must include an awareness of interdependence and of the subtle things in life. People don’t just need information, they appreciate art, and have lives outside the internet.
Having many interests makes you a more rounded human being and allows you to be more creative.
4. Know the ways of all professions
Don’t be isolated. Generate an understanding of the inner workings of others. A true marketer is always curious to find out more about what makes people tick.
Asking the right questions opens up opportunities that others would ignore.
5. Distinguish between true gain and loss
Having your compass set accurately for your industry means you know what to pay attention to and what to ignore.
When you experience a loss make sure it’s something critical before you mobilize your emotions or physical resources. If it’s a true gain then be sure to reinforce what you did to create this win so you can build on it.
6. Develop intuitive judgement
Self-control and and an intuitive sense of what is important will serve you well on your journey. While other people are rehashing content and commenting on old news you can be helping others on their path.
Stick to what you know well and serve those that resonate with your story instead of trying to appeal to everyone.
7. Perceive things not seen
Successful people have the ability to consider the intangible in their dealings with others.
As human beings we value more than the purely practical. We crave something special that brings order, clarity and togetherness.
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
8. Pay attention – even to trifles
Attention to detail is of the utmost importance. No one element makes a singular impression. Put together though, the effect is one of harmony and symmetry.
The line-height of your body copy in relation to the font-size is a good example of this. More on typography here.
God is in the details. ~ Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
9. Do nothing which is of no use
In the internet age it’s easy to get caught up on Facebook, reading the news or watching YouTube.
Those things can certainly be fun and even informative but it’s time you could also be investing in asking the bigger questions, publishing or discovering more about who your audience is.
And if it’s none of the above perhaps you could do with a walk and some sunshine!
The way of strategy is to be self-reliant, to gain benefits and honor, and to make peace with others.
I hope these tips can help you and your readers/customers have more of the fulfilling experience of honor and harmony that Miyamoto Musashi lived for.