"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself" - Chinese Proverb
The Chinese Proverb applies equally well today in the USA as it did back in Ancient China. Teachers can open the door and point the way all day long. Ultimately, the warrior knows that entering through that door is up to them. It is up to you. Have some teachers pointed the way for you and opened a door recently? Take it. Do not stare into the emptiness and say "What am I supposed to do with an open door? Can't you make the doorway move so that I do not have to?" No. The door may move but the doorway will not. You must cross the threshold.
The ultimate warrior secret to destroying ruts and sadness is to take action. What kind of action? Almost any action is better than inaction. Take action doing something productive. There is honor to be found in work. Our culture and country has forgotten it. Do not fear work. Fear the lack of work.
It is good to have teachers and coaches open doors and point the way for you. I have many coaches, mentors and am constantly learning. However, learning is not enough. You must apply what you learn. You must do something with it. You must cross the threshold of the doorway and move.
If you are sad, upset, discouraged, or downcast, do not be afraid. This makes you human. You are normal. All of us have fears. All of us are sad from time to time. Warriors take action and combat their sadness and fears. They do not wait for others to fight their battles for them and you shouldn't either.
The great motivational speaker Les Brown once said "There's no point in moaning and groaning about your problems. Half the people you tell don't care and the other half are glad you got 'em." Les was being humorous, but there is a certain truth to his statement. Most people will fall into one of those two categories: uncaring or glad that you have those problems and that they don't.
Warriors don't give other people a chance to fall into those categories, because they take action and crush their sadness. They smother it with action. Their sadness becomes so overwhelmed with action that it has no more room to breath.
Destroy your sadness by taking action. What action? Listen to your intuition. If your gut is telling you that you need to apologize for something to someone, go do it. Right now. If your gut is telling you to begin writing that book you've always wanted to write, start right now. If your gut is saying that you really need to get up off the couch and finish a long-neglected project, do it right now. Take action and crush your sadness beneath it.
Living in the battleground,
There is probably no one in the country who has not heard of the chaos currently happening in Ferguson, Missouri. I confess to knowing little about the case. I know that Officer Wilson is said to have shot and killed Michael Brown. I know that people have reported rioting, looting and all-out chaos erupting over the recent court decision. Regardless of what your opinion of the situation is, there is one angle you have not examined Ferguson from. It is one that warriors have considered and continue to ponder. The importance of living in the battleground.
You may have noticed that I sign all my blogs with "Live in the Battleground". Ferguson is a prime example as to why true warriors always live in the battleground. Chaos and violence can erupt at any time. Living in the battleground means that you are aware of this. All grounds are potential battle grounds. Afghanistan is not the only battleground, and employed Soldiers are not always the only combatants on the battlegrounds of life. Ferguson was turned into a real-life battleground with all manner of violence being done by citizen against citizen.
Urban areas are particularly susceptible to this type of chaos. If you live in such an area, take extra precaution to live in the battleground. The mindset is meant to remind the warrior to stay vigilant and to perpetually train and prepare for violence. If you over prepare, and never face violence, you are no worse for the wear. But if you fail to train, fail to prepare and do not mentally live in the battleground, violence is much more likely to devastate you.
Living in the battleground is a mindset warriors adopt in order to always remain aware. Awareness is the warrior's greatest friend and if you consider all grounds to be battlegrounds, you will stay aware.
This does not mean you are paranoid. It simply means you watch and observe. You pay attention. You look where and at things others wouldn't look at. You ask good questions and face reality by admitting your vulnerability. Living in the battleground promotes the actions of a vigilant warrior.
Ferguson is one of the ways violence can rear its ugly head. Mass rioting and looting. Vandalism and arson. Those who were prepared and who had the mindset of a warrior largely have survived unscathed. Some of those who were not prepared or those who were unaware have suffered at the hands of attackers. Which would you rather be? The prepared warrior, or the unprepared victim? Either way, you live on the battleground each day, the real question is, do you live IN it?
Live in the battleground,
A mark of a true warrior is giving credit where credit is due. Warriors recognize the efforts of all. Warriors realize that it is "the little people" that really matter. What is a General without his soldiers? What is a corporate CEO without his team of VP's, accountants, lawyers, salespeople, marketers, and tech department? What is a famous film actress without directors, set-designers, make-up artists, costume designers, script writers, and tech people?
Imagine our film actress. She is beautiful, she is famous and she is amazing at her craft. Now imagine that suddenly, all the directors, set-designers, make-up artists, costume designers, script writers, and film tech people disappeared from the planet. How effective will she be without these people? Sure she can still act, but won't her finished product be lacking? She know's nothing about directing, cannot make her own costumes, and doesn't know a thing about writing dialogue. She can't run the sound board and she surely cannot build a set. How awesome of movie would that be if it lacked all those people but still had her in it? It wouldn't be very good.
Now imagine a General but all his troops suddenly disappear. How is he to fight the war by himself? The general without his troops is nothing. The CEO now finds himself in the same predicament. All his departments have suddenly vanished. No more lawyers, accountants, salespeople or tech people. How is the CEO to continue running this corporation? Sure he could do everything himself, but how effectively? He likes selling but he has never been any good at legal jargon, accounting, or particularly savvy with technology. The company is doomed in this position. The CEO is nothing without his team.
Warriors realize this. A warrior knows that he/she is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain. This is why warriors seek to improve all those around them. They seek to improve all those on their team but most importantly, they give credit where credit is due.
Many times, people will single out one individual and give him or her all the praise for a particular achievement. Be it in show business, Corporate America, or on the battlefield. The egotist is the one who soaks up the glory and says "Thank you, thank you." The warrior is the one who says "Well, first and foremost, I only go as far as my team. Without them, we never could achieved this monumental film, started this tremendous company or won this hard-fought battle."
I recently wrote a blog about Kyle Carpenter, a marine who won the medal of honor after he threw his body on top of a live grenade to save his fellow marine. He lost his left eye, needed massive reconstructive surgery on his face, and his left arm is still badly damaged from the 37 bone fractures that occurred when the grenade detonated. After winning the medal of honor, he appeared on the David Letterman show. Letterman asked him whether he threw himself on the grenade because that's who Kyle Carpenter is and was before joining the marines or was he just a product of his training? Kyle was given the chance before millions of people to say "Oh yeah, that's me. That's how I've always been. Kyle, the selfless hero." But he didn't. Taking a big sigh before speaking, Kyle said: "I would like to say it was me, but it was my training. The marine core instills in you the proud history we have of other marines who have been heroic and that when you are out in dangerous parts of the world, the marine to your right and left is all you have." He elaborated saying that "We are taught and trained to always look out for our junior marines and that sense of protection is instilled in us from day one." He gave credit to his training. Thereby giving credit to his trainers, and his fellow marines who helped him train. Even after winning the medal of honor, the highest military honor we have, he still gave credit to his comrades; to his team.
This thanksgiving, be a warrior and give credit where credit is due. Do not glory in yourself and what you have done. Give thanks to all those on your personal team who have supported you and propped you up. No man is an island as the saying goes, and I know that I am no different. I thank all of my family, friends, and mentors as we near Thanksgiving and most importantly I thank God Almighty for all His many blessings. Without God, and without my family, friends, and mentors, I am nothing.
To all the warriors out there, I wish you all a very safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.
Live in the Battleground,
Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price." - Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu, the famous author of The Art of War, is credited with this quote. Are you the type of person who is willing to sacrifice and pay the price or are you the type of person who wants to get something for free? There is a perverted attitude in our culture which seeks to get without giving. To reap without sowing. Victory isn't so easily gained and it cannot be fooled. Lasting victory in life will go to those who have perseverance; to those who pay the price. Which type of person are you?
If you are the type of person who seeks to gain first without giving, you must correct your attitude and approach now. This attitude is most likely the cause of why you cannot win; of why victory eludes you. Again, you cannot trick victory. It comes to those who do what is necessary to obtain it. Thinking otherwise is like expecting to reap a bountiful harvest of corn in the fall when you failed to plant in the spring. If you do not sow, you will not reap. If you do not prepare for victory, you will not be victorious.
Sun Tzu was speaking primarily of combat, of war. The warrior who fails to pay the price of training and preparing for war will likely be the first to die on the battlefield. This applies to life in general; to your life. Victory in marriage goes to those who are intentional about being victorious in their marriage. Victory in business comes to those who are intentional about being victorious in their business. Victory only comes to those who are willing to pay the price.
In our culture, there are many people who believe they should be victorious without having to pay the price. These people miss the entire point. By paying the price, you become someone worthy of victory. The victory is often less important than the person you have to become in order to obtain victory. If you are handed victory without having to pay the price, your perseverance muscle never gets developed. This is why these victories are not sustainable. Because this individual lacks the personal perseverance to forge ahead when things go bad. Many times they often lack a true support system around them. This is because being victorious without paying the price often results in that person becoming a taker, not a giver. They become entitled, since victory was handed to them, and as a result, they become selfish, unattractive people.
Do not attempt to cheat by gaining victory without paying the price. Pay the price. Your character will be strengthened and your perseverance muscle will gain invaluable experience and exercise.
Sun Tzu was referring to war, but you can apply his quote to any area of your life. What arenas of life do you wish to be victorious in? Answer that question for yourself. Once you have done that, seek out what price you will have to pay to get there. The rest is simply in the doing of the thing. Pay the price. You can either win or lose at life and guess what? The result is up to you.
Live in the battleground,
the one mindset shift that can change your entire perspective on life that you probably have never thought OF Before
There is one mindset shift that most people never think of which can drastically improve all areas of your life. It can improve your relationships, your occupation and your studies in school. It is a simple, yet profound mindset shift that is used by highly successful individuals. This simple shift is just this: look at all things initially through the lens of similarity rather than dissimilarity.
What does this mean? It means that at first, look at how things are similar. Any things you are contrasting or comparing. Don't let your first question be "How are these things different?" Let your first question be "How are these things similar?"
Example: All human relationships have certain basic characteristics. Your relationship with your mother, father, son, daughter, co-worker, etc. are all different yes, but what characteristic(s) do all those relationships have in common? Trust. You will not have an effective relationship with anyone if you do not trust them and they do not trust you. Fundamentally then, when you are seeking out new relationships, don't focus on how this person is different from you, your spouse or your current friends; look at what is similar. You must build up trust so studying how to build trust and how to be a trustworthy person would be a beneficial thing to study.
In another area of life, schooling, the public education system does a fantastic job at making everything have it's own box and container. History is separate from math which is separate from chemistry which is separate from dance. Why? Focus first on what makes these things all similar instead of different. Many people bemoan the fact that they don't retain much of what they are taught in school. This problem could be largely remedied if students were taught how all the subjects link together rather than making them all different. As it stands now, if I am a history buff and am taking my math class, I am not shown how math and history go together. I am simply forced to do the same thing everyone is doing. The same goes the opposite direction. The math "nerd" is forced to take in history the same as everyone else. Why? Much greater success could be attained if we said to the history buff student "Tommy, you are going to write a paper on the history of mathematics. Who were the founders of Calculus, Geometry, and Algebra? When did these discoveries occur and what impacts did they have on the world when they happened?" He would research and learn the history of people like Sir Issac Newton, Archimedes, and Euclid. This would be focusing on the similarities between math and history. Reverse this for the math junkie. Have him crunch the real numbers behind Archimedes' theory of displacement and have him do experiments with Newton's Laws. This way, both students learn. How much do you think they will retain? What will their attitude toward education be? And why? Because they focused on how the subjects go together (are similar) instead of being told "Math goes in this box and history goes in that box".
When I say do this for all things I mean ALL things. Always focus on the similarities first then focus on the differences. This idea was born from combat and war. Would you rather be taught 50 different ways to use 50 different weapons (sword, spear, bow, arrow, knife, staff, gun, rifle, bayonet, cord, bomb, etc.) or 1 way to use all 50 weapons? Do you think it would be easier to "remember" how to fight using the 50 different ways or remembering only 1 way?
Warriors always focus on the similarities first. What do all humans have in common? Any attacker must have a brain. Destruction of this target ensures your survival. Focusing on how to destroy an opponent's brain is a common element of all human violence. From this then, learning how to protect your brain becomes very important since you just learned it is every attacker's primary objective. But the point is, why can it be EVERY attacker's primary target? Because anyone who is attacking you is going to have a head and in that head they are going to have a brain. So don't focus on how this opponent is different from that opponent; what do they all have in common? One thing is, a brain (among many others).
If you apply this to everything in your life, you will be radically transformed. It will simplify and defrag your life. Focus on the similarities, not the differences (at first). Their is a time and place for differences, but it is not the first thing. If you always seem to have poor romantic relationships, focus on the similarities of all those relationships. In the similarities you will find the most valuable lessons to be gleaned.
Live like a warrior by focusing on the similarities.
Live in the battleground,
The Warrior Speaker Blog is a collection of warrior lessons Alexander has learned in addition to practical information about protecting yourself and all that you deem most personal.