In order to defeat an enemy, one should try to understand their motivations and tactics, and to force them to reveal any weaknesses they may have. By “rousing” the enemy, Sun Tzu is likely suggesting that one should take action that will provoke the enemy into revealing their true intentions and capabilities. By learning the “principle of his activity or inactivity,” Sun Tzu is advising the reader to carefully observe the enemy’s actions and inactions in order to gain a better understanding of their overall strategy. Overall, this quote suggests that Sun Tzu believed that a key element of military strategy is to thoroughly understand one’s enemy in order to anticipate their moves and exploit any weaknesses.
Prod your competitor, and learn the principle of their activity or inactivity. Force them to reveal their strategies, so as to identify their vulnerabilities.
It is important to carefully study and analyze your competitors in order to gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. This can be accomplished by “prodding” your competitor, or taking actions that will prompt them to reveal their strategies and motivations. By doing so, you can learn the “principle of their activity or inactivity” and gain insight into how they operate and what drives their decisions. This knowledge can then be used to identify any vulnerabilities they may have, such as weak points in their business model or opportunities for you to gain a competitive advantage. Overall, this quote suggests that by thoroughly understanding your competitors, you can develop strategies that will allow you to outperform them and achieve your business goals.