Tung-yeh Chi was displaying his carriage driving before Duke Chuang. He drove back and forth as straight as a measuring line and wheeled to left and right as neat as a compass-drawn curve. Duke Chuang concluded that even Tsao Fu could do no better, and ordered him to make a hundred circuits and then return to the palace. Yen Ho happened along at the moment and went in to see the duke. "Tung-yeh Chi's horses are going to break down," he said. The duke was silent and gave no answer. In a little while Tung-yeh Chi returned, his horses having in fact broken down. The duke asked Yen Ho, "How did you know that was going to happen?" Yen Ho said, "The strength of the horses was all gone and still he was asking them to go on - that's why I said they would break down."Regardless of a person's knowledge, experience or expertise, when we try to force things, they have a tendency to go off the rails. We see this in the world of sports all the time. When an athlete is "in the zone," they tend to be successful as if by magic. However, when all the chips are riding on a particular play or action and the athlete begins to press, their chances of success are greatly diminished and, in many cases, utterly impossible.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
To view the Index page for this series, go here.