The Stages Of Thick And Black
In the first stage, your face is as thin as paper. With friction, it becomes like leather, and at last it becomes as thick as a brick wall. Your heart starts off red. As you endure, it gradually becomes white, then grey, then black, and finally black as coal.
Han Xin is widely considered to have been one of the most capable men in history. But when he was young, before he had made a name for himself, all he did was loaf about the city.
One day, he ran into a local thug in the city’s busiest market. The thug said to Han Xin, “I hear your pretty tough. Well, let’s see about that. Get down on the ground and crawl through my legs or I’ll take this knife and kill you”.
Hearing the commotion, a crowd started to gather, wanting to see how this scene would play out. Han Xin thought for a moment, got on his hands and knees and crawled through the thug’s legs, right in front of everyone.
In ancient times, that was an incredibly humiliating thing to do. A big loss of face.
But Han Xin’s thinking on the matter was quite simple. He knew that he wanted to accomplish great things in his life and if he would have killed that thug, then according to the strict Qin laws, he would have had to replace that man’s life with his own.
So, after weighing the costs and benefits, he realized it was much better for him to just take the insult, no matter how embarrassing i was at the time.
At this time, Han Xin’s face was obviously not as thin as paper. He had already attained the first level of Thick Black Theory.
Later on in life, Han Xin did end up accomplishing some great things. During the war between the kingdoms of Chu and Han, there were three exceptional people.
Liu Bang and Xiang Yu were the strongest, but Han Xin was in the middle. If Han Xin was to help Chu, Chu would win the war. If Han Xi was to aid Han, then the Han kingdom would win.
Han Xin’s strategic advisor suggested that Han Xin himself could take the throne if he would try for it.
But at this time, Han Xin’s face wasn’t thick enough and his heart wasn’t black enough. He didn’t take the advice and he decided to help Liu Bang.
Many years later, Liu Bang won the war and established the Han Dynasty. May of the generals that helped him win the war felt that Li Bang hadn’t given them what the deserved so the planned a revolt.
Han Xin felt the same way and regretted the fact that he hadn’t tried to take the throne himself when he had the chance. Han Xin and the generals staged a coup.
He hoped to become the Son of Heaven but, he had missed the opportunity. The revolt that Han Xin and the generals staged failed an Han Xin was assassinated.
We Don’t Come Across Many Great Opportunities During The Course Of Our Lives
When an opportunity shows itself we must grasp it without hesitation.
Han Xin was a smart man. When he encountered that thug, he knew that he needed to choose his battles, but at the crucial juncture when he had a chance of becoming emperor, he didn’t take action.
Instead, he deferred to Lu Bang. He failed to do what would have benefited him the most.
From this we can see that Han Xin reached only the first level of Thick Black Theory.