Overrating One’s Own Strength

Overrating One’s Own Strength
Bu Zi Liang Li

This is another idea that should we ever lose site of, could prove to be fatal.

This is said of someone who is not able to realistically estimate his own strength or ability.

The Story is of Lord Mengchang. Mengchang was an aristocrat of the state of Qi in the Warring States Period. Once, his land of Xueyi (southeast of today’s Tengxian, Shandong Province) was threatened by the approaching Chu army.

At the moment, a ranking official of Qi, Chunyu Kun, was passing Xueyi on his return from a mission to the state of Chu. Lord Mengchang said to Chunyu Kun, “The Chu army is about to attack Xueyi. Could you share my burden and secure help for me?”

Chunyu replied, “Don’t worry. When I return to the capital Linzi and see the King, I’ll ask his help on your behalf.”

After Chunyu Kun later returned to the capital, the King of Qi asked him what had he seen in the state of Chu. Chunyu answered, “People in Chu are behaving unreasonably. But our Lord Mengchang is overrating his own strength.”

“What do you mean?” the King asked.

“Lord Mengchang didn’t calculate if he’s powerful enough to defend his land before he built the ancestral temple of the former king,” said Chunyu. “Now that the Chu army is about to attack Xueyi, the ancestral temple of the former king will soon fall into the hands of the enemy.”

The King was very alarmed. He exclaimed: “Ah, so that’s where the ancestral temple has been built.” He immediately ordered his army to march overnight to the rescue of Xueyi. When the king of Chu heard that the king of Qi had sent reinforcements, he ordered his forces to withdraw and Xueyi was saved from disaster.

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Matt Shannon

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