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.