The Seven of Swords represents the application of mental energy toward what is called guile.This word caused me to look up it's meaning, which is often defined as having a negative connotation, related to treachery, lies, deceit and dishonesty to gain a desired end.
This card shows Orestes creeping into the palace at Argos, and about to commit matricide.
That said , the Seven of Swords gives a more accurate portrayal, and embodies the word guile. Here it is ambivalent in it's meaning, neither positive nor negative. Depending on the situation, and the individual's intentions, this is what the definitive answer is based upon. The Seven of Swords is calling for using brain over brawn.
I tend to like this definition of the word guile, from the Oxford Dictionary.
"Sly or cunning intelligence: he used all his guile and guts to free himself from the muddle he was in."
Most everyone at one time or another has had to use their guile and guts to free themselves from their muddles. I know I certainly have, on more than one occasion. Life can often require us to do this, where we need to be cautious, and sometimes the means can justify the ends, regardless if there exists a question of whether it is wrong or right. In some instances it may very well save our lives, or possibly the life of someone else.
I am not referring to destructive or immoral, manipulation, using or taking something good, and making it bad for our own purpose, especially when it involves taking advantage or victimizing others who are innocent.
We may find ourselves feeling uncomfortable and conflicted ethically, but sometimes life may require that we develop the attributes of compromise, in order to survive, or to be successful.
Taking the tactic of bullying our way through, will guarantee that we will achieve nothing. Or we can choose diplomacy, tact and wit, as being the better option, that will likely prove to result in a best outcome.