Even a great man like Cao Cao (曹操) needed some motivation at times.
In the Battle of Guandu (官渡之战), Cao Cao was contemplating a withdrawal after failing to break down Yuan Shao (袁绍) ‘s huge army and was running low on food supplies.
Cao Cao wrote to his top advisor, Xun Yu (荀彧), for his opinions on the matter. Xun, in his reply, urged Cao to stand firm and believed Yuan was no match to Cao’s military brilliance .
Encouraged Xun ‘s words, Cao Cao was able to rout Yuan Shao in that decisive battle, despite of numerical disadvantage, and eventually gained total control over China’s northern territories (河北).
Below is the letter by Xun Yu, reproduced from The Romance of 3 Kingdoms 三国演义, which I think is a most inspiring piece of writing.
(Yes, I know some of you can’t read Chinese, but I just want to leave the orginal words as it is…)