32. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners are in perfect order, to refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm and confident array: this is the art of studying circumstances.


Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu is advising against attacking an enemy who is organized and prepared for battle. He suggests that it is better to avoid confronting such an enemy, as they will likely have the advantage and the battle may not end in the attacker’s favor. Instead, Sun Tzu advises looking for opportunities to attack the enemy when they are unprepared or disorganized, in order to gain the upper hand.

To refrain from competing with well-established and strong competitors is the art of studying circumstances.

If a market is well-established with strong competitors, it may be wise for businesses to avoid entering that market. However, this can sometimes be difficult for businesses to do, as the prospect of entering a new market and potentially gaining a share of the market can be attractive. A well-run business will carefully study the circumstances of a market before making a decision on whether to enter it. By using this information to inform their decision-making, businesses can determine if entering a particular market is likely to be successful. In some cases, the best decision may be not to enter a market, in order to avoid wasting time and resources on a potentially fruitless endeavor. Instead, businesses can focus on entering other markets that may be more favorable and offer better opportunities for success.