Overcoming Fear

When we think of the archetypal warrior, we will almost certainly be sure to think of someone that is brave, courageous and seemingly fearless. This is the kind of person that will walk into the line of fire. That will speak out against injustice, that will take on enemies that are much greater than them. In our personal lives, there are no real dragons to slay. Rather, they take on many other forms, whether they be illness, whether they be debt, or whether they be the struggle of going to the gym every day…

How to Use ‘Fear Setting’

If you’re a fan of reading self-help literature than chances are that at some point you will have written down your goals. This is something that almost every guru seems to advise and that many claims can help you to accomplish your dreams by better defining and visualizing them. But in Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Workweek this advice is turned on its head somewhat. While Tim doesn’t necessarily have a problem with goal setting per-say, he also recommends doing essentially the opposite by ‘fear setting’. And he claims it can do a great deal more than goal setting when it comes to realizing your aims and getting more from life…

What is Fear Setting?

The general idea behind fear setting is that you’re defining the fears that are holding you back so that you can face them. In most cases, Tim postulates that after doing this you’ll find that your fears are actually relatively unfounded and thus will move forward and past them. Normally, our fears are of ‘irreversible’ negative outcomes, but actually, these are rarer than you might think… So what you do is write down the absolute worst possible outcomes for doing whatever it is you want to do, and then write down all the ways you’d cope with the situation or possibly reverse it.

An Example: Changing Careers

Let’s take changing careers as an example. This is something that a lot of people want to do, but feel held back by fear of the potential repercussions. By defining those fears though, you can minimize their potency. So if you were going to write down the worst possible outcomes for changing careers, it might well look something like this:

  • I might leave my job only to fail to find another job
  • I might be unable to pay the mortgage and thus be forced to move home
  • This could upset my partner so much they leave me
  • I might get the job I think I want and find out I hate it more than my last job
  • I might apply to other jobs only to get rejected by everyone and end up damaging my ego

These are all real concerns, but now if you think about all the ways you can manage risk and reduce the impacts of those negative outcomes you’ll find your fears aren’t all that founded…

  • I can look for jobs without leaving my current job to avoid the risk of unemployment. No one has to know.
  • This will also be a lot less reckless in the eyes of my partner.
  • Alternatively, I could speak to my boss about my problems and see if there are other positions within my organization.
  • If I end up out of work I could always speak to my old boss about getting my job back, work in a supermarket while I look for other work, live off of savings for a couple of months, or move back home with the parents!
  • If my partner leaves me for trying to become happier than I need to reassess that relationship.
  • If I don’t like the job I find next then I will feel more confident about job hunting again in the future.
  • If I struggle to get accepted by anywhere, I can work on my interview technique/improve my resume or CV/seek career guidance. All of which, will be useful experiences anyway.

As you can see then, the very worst scenario is probably not as bad as it seems, it may just mean living out of savings for a while or taking a small step backward in order to take two forwards. Likewise, as there are so many ways to minimize the risk of things going wrong, it’s actually quite unlikely you’ll end up in those positions anyway.

In The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim also gives one other piece of advice, that I feel is very relevant here: Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness. Take that attitude and outline your fears and you’re on track to a happier version of yourself as well as to accomplish much more.

Stoicism and the Warrior Mindset

Tim Ferriss’ ideas might seem unique but actually, he says himself that he is inspired by ancient philosophy and specifically, by the ideas of the ancient Stoics. Stoicism is a school of philosophy that dates all the way back to the 3rd Century BC. Its principles were founded and practiced by historical characters such as Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. And in many ways, Stoicism was an early approach to a ‘warrior mindset’. It was all about mental hardiness and about learning to expect and then live with things going wrong. In fact, many of us describe someone who is brave and courageous as being Stoic.

So, what precisely does it involve?

The Power of Pessimism

If we tell someone that we don’t think things are going to work out as we hoped, then you’ll often tell us that we need to be ‘more optimistic’. There’s even a song that tells us to ‘accentuate the positive’ and ‘eliminate the negative’. The consensus is clear: being positive is a good thing and being anything other than positive is unacceptable. But is this really the best way for us to approach our problems? Or is it perhaps actually quite damaging to constantly be blinded by optimism? Does it leave us vulnerable to disappointment and potentially easily caught off guard? Is expected life to be constantly ‘sunshine and rainbows’ the precise opposite of a warrior mindset?

Wouldn’t a warrior accept and embrace the fact that life is going to be hard? And then toughen themselves up to deal with it? That’s the view held by stoics at least and when you delve into the philosophy a little, you might find that they actually make a very good case for pessimism.

The Central Ideas of Stoicism

The general gist of stoicism is not to try to ‘shut out’ negativity and pretend that bad things don’t happen but rather to embrace it and even to use it as a tool. Hope, according to the Stoics, is the enemy, precisely because it means we’re unprepared for things going wrong, and we’re likely to be disappointed. Instead, stoicism advocates the notion of the gritty realism of recognizing the negative aspects of life and accepting that a lot of what happens is out of our control and is probably not going to be very pleasant!

Using Stoicism in Your Own Life

This might not sound like a particularly helpful stance to take on things, but then that’s because most of us are highly trained in only accepting positive viewpoints. This is the general conceit of countless self-help books and even Hollywood films. Dream big and you can get what you want! In fact, it’s pretty much the driving force behind capitalism. But the Stoics take the opposite approach. They prepare for the storm. They learn to enjoy life even when things aren’t going their way, and they recognize hardship as a challenge and an opportunity for growth.

So how does rejecting this incessant positively help? How do you practically apply stoicism in your own life?

Negative Visualization

One suggestion from stoicism is something called ‘negative visualization’ – the idea that you visualize your fears rather than your goals. Instead of picturing things going perfectly to plan, instead, picture things at their worst. Imagine how your plans can fail and picture what life would be like if all your worst fears came true. What these do are to first help you to prepare for those worst case scenarios. Once you know what your fears actually look like, you can then think about how you would cope in that scenario. Often, you’ll find that this worst-case scenario is not as bad as you at first thought it would be. And in other cases, you’ll find that you can actually find ways to cope with that situation.

This removes fears that could otherwise hold you back and means that you aren’t blindly ignoring what could potentially go wrong. If this sounds (familiar) than that’s because it’s precisely the same concept that helped Tim Ferriss to come up with his Fear Setting technique.

Be Content With the Scantiest and Cheapest Fare

In one of his letters to Lucilius, Seneca said: Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with a coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: is this the condition that I feared?

The general idea here is that you should not only visualize your worst-case scenario but also try living it. That might mean spending a week living off of minimum salary, it might even mean sleeping rough. In either case, this teaches you not only that you can handle your worst fears and therefore have less reason to be afraid but also that you actually don’t need material possessions in order to be happy.

This is actually something that is very important to cultivate. It takes great discipline to part with your possessions and belongings but the results are freedom from fear and also from many physical restrictions. If you are weighed down by possessions and belongings, then you will not be able to move home freely. You will spend a lot of time cleaning and attending to things that do not help you further your goals. And ultimately, you will have much more to fear. The more you own, the more you have to lose. This creates a sense of fear.

So, try to declutter and live a more focused and minimalist life. At the very least, learn to detach yourself from physical possessions and remember that they are indeed ‘just things’. They are means to an end and if you must sacrifice them, so be it. Selling your widescreen TV or turning down a holiday in order to pay off debt or pay for your child’s tuition, those are warrior-like choices.

Wear Ugly Clothes…

Another classic Stoic move is to wear ‘ugly’ clothes in order to teach yourself not to be ashamed. People might stare at you, but this will simply teach you that it doesn’t matter at all what others think, only what you think. This is an important aspect of the warrior mindset: caring what other people think makes you vulnerable to peer pressure and to vanity. Sometimes, to do what must be done, you must be willing to sacrifice your reputation.

Expect the Worst

Think about the last time you swore with anger. Chances are that it was not because it rained or because you found you were in debt. More likely, it was because you dropped something on your toe, or because you broke your favorite possession. The point is that the anger comes from the surprise, not the disappointment. You don’t swear when it rains because you know that rain is a possibility. Therefore, if you are angry, this then suggests that you don’t expect whatever happened to you and this is arguably your own fault. If you accept that bad things happen and if you accept that sometimes things won’t go to plan, then you will have no need to be angry, because you will have accounted for it and prepared mentally for it.

Now, when your partner cheats on you, or when a service provider doesn’t deliver a good service, you will think of it as being simply a part of life – just like the rain.

Control Your Reaction

Stoicism means submitting to the fact that you have scant-to-no control over reality. But at the same time, it also means taking solace in the knowledge that these outside factors can’t hurt you – only your reaction can. You can’t control what happens to you but you can control what you make of that event and your own interpretation of it. Being mentally prepared for things that could go wrong is one good example of this in action. Likewise, though, you might also simply decide not to let things affect you – to take a step back from them and to deal with the consequences rather than thrashing against things that you cannot change.

Mindfulness and the ability to decide how you want to react to the things going on around you.

But simply by remembering that tough things happen and it’s your job to deal with them, you should find you can.

I actually think that Rocky Balboa is one of the great modern stoics and one of his famous quotes summarizes the ideas of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius perfectly: The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place… and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life. But ain’t about how hard you hit… It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.

Those that fear death, fear life.

It is true that if you live life in fear of death, then you will be permanently cautious. You will not take risks and you will not live to its fullest as a result. So, what is the solution? Do we put death ‘out of our mind’? No, it would be better to come to terms with it and in Stoic fashion, simply accept it as a reality. And this mirrors the way that a Samurai would approach their lives too. Here is a quote from Edo Samurai Daidoji Yuzan, which can be found in the book Code of the Samurai:

One who is a Samurai must before all things keep constantly in mind… the fact that he has to die. If he is always mindful of this, he will be able to live in accordance with the paths of loyalty and filial duty, will avoid myriads of evils and adversities, keep himself free of disease and calamity and moreover enjoy a long life. He will also be a fine personality with many admirable qualities. For existence is impermanent as the dew of evening, and the hoarfrost of morning, and particularly uncertain is the life of the warrior…

Remember your goals and your vision. Work toward them. Stick to your code. Try to make a difference and focus on what you leave behind. That might mean protecting your family even when it means putting yourself at risk, or it might mean taking chances in order to chase after bigger goals.

The Fire Within

That line, the ‘fire within’ is one that speaks great volumes about the warrior mindset. And it calls to mind lyrics from another song.: ‘Hearts On Fire’ by the (excellent) band Survivor. A great line from the song goes:

In the warrior’s code, there’s no surrender

Though his body says stop, his spirit cries: “Never!”

So how do you gain this kind of iron will and determination? How do you develop the unstoppable ability to never give up? It starts by knowing what you want to achieve and by having a set of your own principles. To use yet another quote, Alice Copper and Xzibit sang:

If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything

And this is completely true. If you have no specific goal and no set of values that is entirely your own, then how can you be expected to stick rigidly to those values? If you haven’t defined who you are, what you’re about and what is important to you, then, of course, it will be easy to get tempted by good food, trashy TV or other ‘easy options’. Of course, it will be easy for you to be swayed by the influence and the politics of others.

Moreover, having a goal is what will give you the motivation and the energy to get up and work toward the things you are truly excited about. Think about someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Dwayne Johnson. These are people who have accomplished incredible things and part of the reason for that is undoubtedly their seemingly endless energy. Their ability to get up every single day and know what they want to do.

Can you imagine seeing the Rock look tired and dejected? Have you ever seen Arnold Schwarzenegger look indifferent or bored? These people have tireless energy but it comes from a vision and a goal. And so it is with all the most accomplished people throughout history.

Arnie said this of his burning desire and how it led him to accomplish his goals:

With my desire and drive, I definitely wasn’t normal. Normal people can be happy with a regular life. I was different. I felt there was more to life than plodding through a normal existence…I have always been impressed by stories of greatness and power. I wanted to do something special, to be recognized as the best. I saw bodybuilding as the vehicle that would take me to the top, and I put all my energy into it.

The point is: knowing what you want from life will fuel you with energy. Whether that is wanting what’s best for your family, wanting to reach a certain point in your career…etc. Think about a new parent. Parents have seemingly endless energy and will sacrifice their sleep, their finances, and their happiness to look after their children. They can accomplish anything because they have found something greater than themselves. A parent’s love will give them that warrior’s mindset but you can’t rely on just that. In order to accomplish the most and to build the best world for your family and friends, you also need something that is intrinsically motivating to you. In other words, you need a purpose and a goal that doesn’t rely on anyone else – so that even when no one needs you, you still have the strength to pull yourself out of bed and to refuse distractions and unhelpful desires.

Once you have your goal, you will find a passion. And once you have a passion you will find that you have endless energy and drive and that you even speak with more conviction and greater charisma. Did you know that we gesticulate more when we speak about something that we’re passionate about? That’s because we are now speaking with our entire bodies – our body language is congruent with what we are saying. And did you know that when people see us speak in that way, they actually rate us as more charismatic? More inspiring? And better leaders?

When we really believe in what we are saying, we will be more efficient at getting others to believe it. This is how movements are started and this makes us far more attractive and magnetic. And with your goal and your objective, you will better be able to make decisions and to avoid unnecessary distractions. You will be more decisive and you will be more impressive. Why? Because you can consider every decision through the following lens: ‘does this help me to achieve my goals’? If the answer is no, then you do something else. What career path should you take? The one that helps you achieve your overarching goals. What party should you vote for? The one that helps you to fulfill your vision.

Goals and the Warriors

The point of the goal is to have something that is greater than yourself – something worth fighting for. The single-mindedness is something that was central to the psychology of all of history’s greatest warriors, through it took a very different form. Historically, you had your samurai and your knights. A samurai’s training went to great measures to ensure their loyalty to a ‘shogun’ (a master samurai). They would be willing to die for their shogun, just as a king’s knight would be willing to die for king and for country.

Today though, this is dangerous thinking. We are all too aware that our politicians are flawed, and we’ve seen how blindly following a leader or set of beliefs can lead to terrible atrocities. So, what we need to do instead is to create our own set of values and principles. Rules to live by and a goal or vision to strive for. This can change, but we must never let others force us to act against our code. Unfortunately, there is no objectivity ‘correct’ way to approach life. We don’t know why reality exists, what is waiting for us on the other side (if anything) or what the meaning of life is. Therefore, it is up to each of us to make our own way by assessing our own values, principles, and rules to live by.

Finding Your Goal

So, let us start with finding a goal, something greater than yourself to strive toward. A purpose that you will be an instrument in accomplishing. So this might mean that you set about changing the world for the better. Maybe you want to put an end to world hunger, maybe you want to help slow down global warming, or perhaps you are interested in becoming a rock star or a musician. Maybe you just want to get rich. No goal is ‘wrong’, it is simply having a goal and something to be passionate about that will give you the fuel and the fire to keep going no matter what. Goals start with visions. So visualize the way you want life to be 5 or 10 years for now. Picture where you are, what your surroundings are, who you are with, what you’ve accomplished. This should be a vision that makes you excited and energized – your perfect life. For inspiration, consider the times in your life you were happiest, consider what you wanted to be as a child and picture some of your role models and what you can perhaps learn from them. This is what you will picture in order to drive yourself toward change and toward greatness. This is what will get you out of bed in the morning,. And then on top of that, you are going to structure yourself goals – smaller, more measurable steps that will help you to reach that point.

Creating Your Own Code of Ethics

On top of this, you will build your own code of ethics. Your idea of what you consider to be ‘living well’ and ‘doing the right thing’. Again, this doesn’t have to be your conventional set of rules. It might be that you don’t agree with some aspects of the law. Some well-known philosopher are known for views that stay from conventional ideas about ethics and morality. Take Ayn Rand for example, who believed that morality comes from what makes them happiest. She said:

Man has no automatic code of survival… His senses do not tell him automatically what is good for him or evil, what will benefit his life or endanger it, what goals he should pursue and what means will achieve them, what values his life depends on, what course of action it requires. Man must choose his actions, values, and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man – in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in itself, which is his own life.

She believed that individual morality should be based on what makes that individual happiest. That means working on things that you love, improving yourself and protecting the ones you care about…who in turn make you happier. Rand would suggest that we should look after our families and our loved ones, pursue our passions and our self-betterment and that way contribute to society. Whatever you believe your code to be, you write it down and then commit to stick to that code. That way, you won’t be persuaded by other people, you will be able to fight for your values and people will know where they stand with you. That said, you also shouldn’t be afraid to evolve and adapt your ideas over time. That is why it is so important to keep reading and keep learning. Keep up to date with politics and what is going on in the world, read philosophy and reassess your values.

There is no value in sticking to one set of goals or principles indefinitely and refusing to readdress them, as ultimately this becomes a ‘lie’ as mush as any other. You should not vote a certain way because you have always voted a certain way. And you should not be afraid to reassess the way that you feel about certain aspects of your code. The point that you will not break your code of conduct while it exists. You have standards to uphold and the simple act of upholding them will make you a stronger, braver, and more impressive individual.

And note that in the ideal scenario, there should be some interplay between what you believe, your personal code of ethics, your goals and your political views. Hopefully, you have a vision for where you think the world should go, what you think life should be like. Your goals are there to help you achieve that, while your code of ethics should also ensure that you don’t miss the trees for the forest. All this results in you becoming a person who knows what they believe and who knows themselves. And when you know that, you will be a greater and more powerful individual.

Pass the Intel – 1/18/2019


For what it’s worth, three GDP-forecasting models are consistent in their results that 2018’s Q4 annualized growth rate will come in at the range of 2.4 percent (Oxford Economics), 2.48 percent (New York Federal Reserve), 2.6 percent (Bloomberg Consensus), and 2.7 percent (Atlanta Federal Reserve). Bloomberg Consensus has downgraded its forecast for 2019 Q1 to 2.16 percent, which is expected. The general feeling among financial analysts is that 2019 will see an economic slowdown, but remain well short of a recession.

Shutdown: 28 days. Yesterday, President Trump cancelled Speaker Pelosi’s Congressional delegation to Belgium and Afghanistan while Democrats were sitting on the bus waiting to go to Andrews Air Force Base. Both Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) were reportedly furious. He also cancelled the U.S. delegation to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Both trips were cancelled due to the partial government shut down. But after Pelosi disinvited him from giving the State of the Union Address in the House chamber, President Trump showed that she’s not the only one capable of giving short shrift. As far as shut down talks go, according to one Hill reporter, Pelosi had not planned further negotiations until Congress reconvened later this month. Congress is scheduled to be out all of next week. The next move for Pelosi is to use House appropriations bills to stop Trump’s agenda priorities, a near certainty now. The rest of 2019 is likely to become even uglier.

On a related note: The Department of Defense is fully funded through September, although some military contractor companies are also paying employees who provide support outside the Defense Department. Many of those contracts aren’t being paid. That means the viability of these contractor companies is being put at risk. Adversaries know this, and financial need is a key motivator for U.S. officials to conduct espionage on behalf of the foreign governments that pay them. At this point, the shutdown represents a dire and growing counterintelligence risk.

Impeachment: It’s Buzzfeed, so take this with a grain of salt, however, they’re reporting that according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in the investigation (presumably the Mueller investigation), President Trump directed his former attorney to lie to Congress about a real estate deal in Moscow. This could be a bit of circular reporting: Michael Cohen was the first to describe this series of events, so the two law enforcement officials could be acknowledging the Cohen accusation instead of confirming their own new evidence. But, still, this development is already fueling House talk of impeachment for obstruction of justice. Here’s the thing: for Democrats at this point, the accusations piling up give the perception of wrong-doing and they may not even require proof before they move to impeach. I’ve long thought that Democrats would bring an impeachment vote, and the case for impeachment, as many House Democrats see it, is bulletproof. Still, Pelosi — so far — has maintained that any impeachment proceeding would be bi-partisan.

Border Wall: The Justice Department recently published a job posting for two attorneys based in McAllen and Brownsville, Texas. The two attorneys will be providing support to “border wall civil litigation” for the DOJ in South Texas — a signal that President Trump might pursue the national emergency option to seize property to build the wall.

Thanks to Forward Observer.

What it takes to be a warrior

So, what are the tenants of the warrior mindset? What words can be used to describe the modern warrior? Here are just a few:

  • Courageous
  • Self-Disciplined
  • Principled
  • Strong willed
  • Kind
  • Growth-oriented
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Protective
  • Self-Sacrificing
  • Calm
  • Responsible
  • Motivational, Inspiring, Charismatic
  • Noble
  • Powerful
  • Modest (though not necessarily humble)

These are just some traits that a true warrior should strive for. These are some things we will be looking to cultivate and better understand throughout this series. Another great description of a warrior comes from an unlikely source: the Disney film Mulan. These quotes are from the song ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ but in fact, they can apply equally to a woman.

Oh, and in case you don’t want to learn lessons on chivalry from a Disney film, consider the fact that Jackie Chan sang the Chinese version of the song. He’s one of life’s true warriors, so perhaps that gives it just a little more weight…

Tranquil as a forest

But on fire within.

Once, you find your center

You are sure to win.

We must be swift as a coursing river

With all the force of a great typhoon

With all the strength of a raging fire

Mysterious as the dark side of the moon

Still, and calm on the outside then, but with great power and strength on the inside. Not driven by impulse or whim, but by a greater purpose. Never bending to the will of others and never giving up when the going gets tough. That is the warrior spirit.

You probably don’t live on the battlefield and you probably hopefully will never need to see combat. But there are plenty of ways that the warrior mindset will apply in your day-to-day life as well and plenty of opportunities to demonstrate what it takes to be a warrior.

Perhaps the easiest way to consider this is to look at all those times that you weren’t a warrior in your life. These are the times when you fear, your anger or your lack of motivation and willpower got the better of you. Consider this:

  • You wake up in the morning and realize your favorite shirt is torn, you spend the rest of the day angry with everyone, sulking and not focusing on your work. This very small inconvenience has ruined your ability to stay productive and it has made other people feel bad.
  • It’s raining out so you call of your plans to visit your friend down the road, who you know was looking forward to the get together.
  • You’re trying to lose weight but you’re low on energy and so you eat a large piece of cake.
  • A friend faints at a party and instead of staying calm and following a correct protocol to make sure they’re okay, you instead get in a flap, scream at everyone and make matters worse.
  • Your boss needs you to complete an assignment before you go home. You resent the idea of staying later and you’re feeling tired so you rush it and put in less than your best work.
  • You have been telling friends for years that you’re going to write a book and that it is your dream to become a published author. You get home and the first thing you do is crash on the couch and watch trashy TV.
  • You break a glass in the kitchen and when your partner asks who did it, you blame your friend who was round the other day.
  • You get into a physical altercation with someone in the street and run away – leaving your friends or family to deal with the danger on their own.
  • You are getting onto a train and instead of letting the elderly lady on in front of you, you push ahead.
  • Your friends are peer pressuring you into smoking weed and accusing you of not being fun. Smoking weed is something you have no interest in this hypothetical situation but you let yourself get talked into it for fear of appearing lame.
  • You are happily married when an attractive woman/man makes their move on you. You give in to your momentary impulse and you sleep with them, effectively wrecking your relationship with not only your partner but your children as well.
  • You are unhappy in your relationship or job but you stay in it because you don’t have the heart to tell the person or you are too afraid of what the future might bring.

Some of these examples are more extreme than others. Of course, there is a big difference between eating ice cream when you really shouldn’t and being swayed by hate speech! And occasionally losing your cool is normal. But while these points might all seem very different; they essentially come from the same thing: weakness.

Weakness is often the source of our problems and even of evil. Weakness means giving in to things we know aren’t right, or making excuses and putting off our goals.

Now let’s look at how someone strong might approach the same issues:

  • You wake up in the morning and realize your favorite shirt is torn. You shrug and wear something else, recognizing this is a very small issue in the grand scheme of things!
  • It’s raining out and you don’t feel like going out. But you know it’s the right thing to do, so you man up and you go.
  • You’re trying to lose weight but you’re low on energy. You dig deep, find that fire within and head to the gym.
  • A friend faints at a party and you remain calm, cool and collected. You assign jobs to people and check they’re okay.
  • Your boss needs you to complete an assignment before you go home. You resent the idea of staying later and you’re feeling tired but you complete the work to the best of your ability nevertheless. You speak to your boss about not putting you in that position again.
  • You have been telling friends for years that you’re going to write a book and that it is your dream to become a published author. You get home and resolve to write two pages a night.
  • You break a glass in the kitchen and when your partner asks who did it, you own up and face the consequences.
  • You get into a physical altercation with someone in the street. You make sure your family and friends are safe while trying to calm the situation as best you can.
  • You are getting onto a train and you always stop to let the old lady on first. And the old man. And anyone who was there first.
  • Your friends are peer pressuring you into smoking weed and accusing you of not being fun. If you want to, you do it. If you do not, you do not.
  • You are happily married when an attractive woman/man makes their move on you. You have control of your feelings so you turn them down.
  • You are unhappy in your relationship or job so you discuss that unhappiness with the other party and look for ways to improve the situation. That might mean finding a new job or ending the relationship but it is better than dragging it out.

The warrior is mentally and physically strong and this allows them to stick to their code of ethics and to work toward their vision for a better future – instead of doing what makes them feel good in the short term. Ultimately, this leads to much greater happiness, much greater peace and much greater pride. And not just for you, but for all those around you.

The Warrior Mindset

Have you ever felt like life is hard? Life it can sometimes be a struggle to get up in the morning and do all the things that you have to do? Do you ever wake up feeling constantly tired and stressed? Does life just seem too much? Sure, I get it. You have lots of work to do. You have debt maybe. Maybe you’re tired of shopping and maybe you’ve got a stomach ache.

Now think about a true warrior.

Think about someone who sleeps rough, unsure of whether they’re going to die during the night. Then they wake up, no time for a shower or a nice breakfast, and they leap straight into action. They ignore their wounds, they take lives, and they see their friends and their brothers in arms shot and killed in front of them. But now I get it. You’re tired. You had to work until 6pm last night…

What I’m getting at, is that your life isn’t really hard. You might think it’s hard and sometimes it might feel hard. But there are people out there with much worse lives than you. There are people out there who live with crippling illness and not two cents to rub together. And many of them do this with dignity, grace, and bravery that puts the rest of us to shame.

You see, the warrior mindset actually has nothing to do with combat. In fact, the hooligans that start bar fights and that think they’re hard for starting fights are about as far from true warriors as it gets. Ask anyone who has seen real combat if they would want to risk their health and waste their energy on looking for trouble.

The warrior mindset is different. This is about knowing what you want and going for it. It’s about being hard and it’s about not letting little things get you down. It’s about pushing ahead with what you know is right and it’s about carrying responsibility and hardship on your shoulders with dignity and pride. It’s about not letting your emotions get the better of you and it’s about not taking the easy answer or the easy route to solve your problems.

So where do this title and this approach come from? What is the theory behind the warrior’s mindset? Of course, it comes from our romantic image of the warrior and from stories of warriors from history. It comes from tales of our bravest men and women who fought actual battles while remaining cool-headed, sacrificing themselves for others and doing incredible things.

Now, we all know that in reality, not every warrior fits this mold. For every heroic individual who put themselves in the line of fire, there would have been hundreds more soldiers that complained, that was in it for the wrong reasons, or that wouldn’t put themselves out for others. Romanticizing warfare is, in fact, a terrible idea – it is a truly horrific state of affairs and very few people feel like warriors when they are faced with enemy fire. But it’s that image of the ideal warrior that we’re looking at here. And at our notions of history’s greatest warriors like the Samurai or Spartans.

The point is that some people manage to stay cool and calm in even the worst situations. Some people constantly forge ahead and do not allow small inconveniences or a lack of creating comforts stand in their way. And those people put us to shame. Those people make our complaints seem very minor indeed. Now imagine if you could take that same mindset and apply it to modern life. Instead of getting tired or bogged down, instead of being distracted and tempted, you would instead drive forward with an unstoppable, bulletproof mentality. Your enemies would quake knowing that there was nothing they could do to stop you and your career obstacles, relationship goals, and financial plans would all crumble beneath your will.

If you apply an iron will and warrior mentality to a modern lifestyle, you get extreme efficiency, determination, and pride. Self-discipline, determination, and self-sufficiency are traits that make us strong and that help us get what we want. They are traits that make us good parents, good friends, and good partners. They are traits that help us to live with ourselves and to earn respect and admiration from others. Imagine if you had the mental strength to sit in a freezing cold shower for hours on end. Imagine if you weren’t phased in life-threatening situations. Take those traits and then put them up against the absolutely measly challenges that most of us face today. They would fall like dominoes.

Having a warrior’s mindset and going through modern life is like bulging with muscles and having to lift 5 kg. Developing that warrior’s mindset is like a workout for your mind, your philosophy, and your soul. It will make you unstoppable.