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.

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