The failure of Guan Yu and Zhang Fei is related to their character defects

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Act knowingly

Han Yun was born in the Tang Dynasty. His father was Han Xiu, the Prime Minister of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty. He served successively as the governor of Jinzhou in Tang Dynasty, the observation envoy of the eastern and Western routes in Zhejiang Province, the Jiedu envoy of Zhenhai, the Du commander, the Jianghuai transport envoy, etc., and became the prime minister in his later years. He is strong and serious. He is an official with a father’s style and does not attach himself to power. As a local official, he was famous for his good governance of the money Valley in the imperial court. Tang Dezong entrusted him with the important task of managing the national financial expenditure.

Han Yun has wisdom to learn from and knows people well. “Zizhi Tongjian” records: “he has been in the second Zhejiang Province for a long time, and he has set up a staff assistant. Each of them has his own merits, and everyone can get people. He has tasted that an old friend’s son paid a visit to him, tested his abilities, and had no merits. He had a banquet with him, and never looked left or right and sat down with him. In the next few days, he was appointed as an officer with the army to supervise the Treasury. He sat in danger all the days, and no official or soldier dared to enter or leave.” Translated into vernacular, this passage is as follows: Han Fu has served as the observer of the eastern and Western routes in Zhejiang for a long time. He is a talented person and uses his strengths to arrange everyone in the most appropriate position. Once the son of an old friend came to apply for a job. Han Yun assessed his talent, but he was not good at anything. Han Yun invited him to dinner and found that from the beginning to the end of the banquet, the man never looked left or right, nor did he say a word to the people sitting next to him. At this time, Han Yun knew how to use this person. A few days later, Han Yun asked him to serve as an army follower, specifically responsible for supervising the gate of the material warehouse. After he took up his post, he sat upright all day, never left his duty, and strictly checked the pass. No one dared to go out of the warehouse.

Character knows people



Guan Yu, the word Yun Chang; Zhang Fei, a great general of Shu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms period, was named Yide. Although Guan and Zhang were brave enough to lead the three armies, they both died miserably. Guan Yu was defeated in Macheng and killed by Mazhong, a general under Sun Quan; Zhang Fei was killed by his subordinates Zhang Da and Fanqiang. The failure of both men is related to their character defects. How are Guan Yu and Zhang Fei? It is said in history that “(Guan Yu is proud of the scholar bureaucrats because he is good at treating his soldiers and soldiers, and (Zhang Fei) loves courteous gentlemen rather than soldiers”.

Liu Bei often warned Zhang Fei, “you are too bad at punishing and killing people. You also say that you can whip Lao athletes around. This is the way to take trouble.” It means: “you are too strict with the punishment, sometimes you kill the wrong people, and you flog the wrong officers every day. After the beating, you arrange these people around you without any precaution. If you go on like this, you will inevitably get into trouble.” However, Zhang Fei never came to his senses and was unfortunately told by Liu Bei. So when Zhang Fei was killed by his subordinates in Langzhong, when Liu Bei heard that Zhang Fei’s camp commander had something urgent to report, he guessed what it was. Liu Bei said, “Gee, Fei is dead!”

In the autumn of the 24th year of Jian’an (AD 219) of Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, Guan Yu led his troops to attack Fancheng and Xiangyang. He ordered the Nanjun prefect Mofang to guard Jiangling, and general fushiren to guard public security and be responsible for logistics. At that time, there was fierce fighting ahead, and Guan Yu was victorious day by day, but the supply of military supplies was often insufficient. Guan Yu thought that the two men were seriously derelict in their duties, and threatened: “return it, and treat it!” Mofang and fushiren are dissatisfied with Guan Yu’s contempt for themselves at ordinary times. When they hear that Guan Yu will punish them after returning to the army, they are naturally very afraid. Therefore, when LV Meng sent Yu fan to persuade him to surrender, he did not hesitate to hand over Jiangling and the public security to Yu fan, which made Guan Yu lose ground and die.

Chen Shou, the author of the annals of the Three Kingdoms, commented on Guan and Zhang: “both Guan Yu and Zhang Fei are enemies of all men and ministers of the world. Yu serves Cao Gong, and Fei interprets Yan Yan with righteousness, and has the style of a national scholar. However, Yu is just and arrogant, violent and ungrateful, and defeats him in a short time. It is common to reason about numbers.”

Good looks

Mao Zedong in his youth once said, “if you are foolish enough to be close to others, you should obey Zeng Wenzheng alone.” Zeng Wenzheng was Zeng Guofan, a famous official of the Qing Dynasty. Zeng Guofan was not only good at running the army, politics, learning and family, but also had unique research on how to identify talents, and his skill of identifying people was almost perfect.

Xuefucheng recorded two examples of Zeng Guofan’s correct judgment of talents in his notes on Yong nunnery. Example 1: jiangzhongyuan went to the capital to meet Zeng Guofan on business. Zeng Guofan talked with him for a long time. After the talk, he watched Jiang Zhongyuan go out and said, “this man will certainly be famous all over the world, but it’s a pity that he will die a heroic death.” More than ten years later, Jiang Zhongyuan was indeed famous for his outstanding military achievements and died in Luzhou.

Example 2: when the Huai army was just established, Li Hongzhang took three people to visit Zeng Guofan. He happened to meet Zeng Guofan for a walk after dinner. When Zeng Guofan returned, Li Hongzhang asked to see the three men. Zeng Guofan said, “no need.” When Li Hongzhang asked why, Zeng Guofan said, “the first man bowed his head and dared not look up at me. He must be a prudent, mature and prudent man, who can hold ordinary official positions. The second man is respectful to his face, faces things squarely, and looks around behind his back. He must be a man who obeys the sun but disobeys the sun. He cannot be appointed. The third man is as powerful as King Kong. His spirit is always upright and unremitting. He is a loyal and righteous man, a general, and his fame is not below you or me.” The third person Zeng Guofan mentioned was liumingchuan, a famous general of the Huai army.

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