The Wisdom of the I Ching

28. Great Potential

In a time of Great Potential, change is imminent and unavoidable. The outcome will be successful, but only if one takes the necessary steps to bring it about. At such a time, existing means are insufficient for accommodating that which is coming into being, and new means or methods must be devised for the drastic change needed. Therefore, action must be taken, and it must be taken immediately. Such actions require an in-depth understanding of the Great Potential if things are to be accomplished efficiently and successfully. This requires the best efforts that a person has to give, but the opportunity is auspicious.

Times of Great Potential require a man who is steadfast and willing, if necessary, to stand alone. Such a man will dedicate himself to the great task that is before him, even if it means turning his back on the world itself. His joy is in fulfilling the opportunity which these times present, and the trivial cares and concerns of the world are of far less importance to him now.

The Lines
1. [6] The very beginning of an enterprise in a time of Great Potential is when great caution must be exercised, because the beginning determines the foundation upon which further progress will be built. If the beginning is faulty, further efforts will be difficult or impossible.

2. [9] During extraordinary times, extraordinary events occur and unusual steps are in order. Making an alliance with those of humble position may be unusual, but it has the potential for unconventional gain.

3. [9] The arrogant and unheeding meet only failure in a time of Great Potential. Such a man cuts himself off from others who could assist him. Because he must rely solely on his own resources, he is unable to cope with the opportunities presented and meets with disaster.

4. [9] By enlisting the aid of those from a humble station in life, broad support for the opportunities that Great Potential brings is possible. But if a man diverts this confidence placed in himself to his personal ends, he is discredited and meets with failure.

5. [9] If the potential appears great but is in reality only superficial, the energy expended may appear to produce results, but they quickly dissipate. While nothing is lost, little is gained.

6. [6] The difficulties encountered in a time of Great Potential may be overwhelming, and success may be beyond reach. But it is never wrong to expend great effort in a worthy cause. Even if success is not one's lot, to make such a heroic effort in a great cause can never be justification for censure.


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