In your life, right now, are three invisible enemies. They assail you each and every day, hoping to defeat you. They are not always easy to defeat, because fighting the unseen can be difficult. However, as warriors, we must be ready and willing to do battle with ALL enemies, both seen and unseen. Today I want to share with you what those three enemies are and how you can be better prepared and equipped to defeat them.
1) The first (and perhaps most potent) invisible enemy is IGNORANCE. Ignorance is an insidious foe because we often are unaware of when it is effecting us. Ignorance limits our ability to achieve, narrows our vision, and is the main ingredient in many self-destructive thoughts such as prejudices, biases, and even vices. Ignorance is crippling because it blinds us to reality and as a warrior, our first task is to know and define reality so that we are able to fight.
Fear not! Ignorance can be defeated. Simply knowing that ignorance is an enemy is a giant leap in that direction! Once ignorance has been identified as an enemy, it becomes fairly easy to combat. Once you realize you have a level of incompetency (i.e.: the level at which you become ignorant) in every area of knowledge, you can begin to become more knowledgeable.
One good habit is to read about at least 1 thing you know nothing about each day. You'll be amazed at how this sparks your thinking and where it can lead. Some sparks ignite massive infernos. Read about things you know nothing about but also dive deeper into your passions each day. Few people know any subject in any great depth. Know your passions with a depth that most do not. Try to discover one new thing about the things (or persons) you love each day and the empty void of ignorance will slowly be filled with knowledge.
2) The second invisible enemy is CARELESSNESS. Carelessness can occur in any area of your life from handling a firearm to not being aware of how your words affect those around you. Carelessness almost always results from a lack of awareness (or ignorance). Carelessness can devastate relationships and cause us great harm. A warrior strives to be ever aware so that carelessness does not occur. Being aware of your surroundings and being emotionally aware of the needs of those around you is a must if you want to avoid carelessness.
Curing ignorance automatically solves many carelessness problems since many instances of carelessness arise priecisely due to ignorance. However, you can be intelligent, informed, and yet still careless. One way to avoid being careless is to constantly keep asking yourself "what are the consequences if I do/say x?" Ancient Japanese samurai who trained with razor sharp swords (katana) had to very careFUL due to the dire consequences of being careless with a sword. Modern warriors and fighters use that same level of carefulness while using firearms because the consequences of being careless are extremely high. Warriors combat carelessness through the development of good etiquette (postures, rituals, handling of weaponry). When good etiquette is forged as a habit, you are much less likely to be careless. Apply the warrior mindset of treating all "weapons" with respect to people. Treat all people with respect and make good manners a habit and you will be far less careless.
3) The third and final invisible enemy is COMPLACENCY. This enemy particularly affects one group of people; the one's who "know-it-all" already. In the warrior arena, a major cause of firearm "accidents" where people are killed or injured is due to someone who got complacent with a firearm and didn't check to ensure the firearm was unloaded or made safe before doing x activity and then they shot themselves or someone else. In these cases, it was not because this person was ignorant of firearms, nor because they were careless. They got complacent. "I already know this" was their attitude and it resulted in them not doing their due diligence which led to an injury or death.
In your own life, complacency can show up everywhere. "I already worked hard on my relationship with my girlfriend/spouse so I don't need to work hard anymore." This is a sabotaging thought which can lead to relationship ruin. You must ALWAYS work to overcome the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: any place/thing/relationship left to itself decays and breaks down. Yes, the Law of Entropy applies to your relationships. Battle complacency by having good habits (again, good manners) guide you. Do not deviate from them. With firearms, I ALWAYS check and double check that the firearm is clear of any ammunition before putting it away. I trust NO ONE when they say "It's ok, it's unloaded." Not good enough; I check. "But I just unloaded it 2 seconds ago." I don't care. I am checking it. That process is never compromised in order to ensure that I do not get complacent. Keep the consequences of being complacent in mind and you will be far less likely to get complacent. Do you want your spouse to leave you because you stopped working on the relationship? Do you want your friends to leave you behind because you stopped working on yourself (think about it)? Complacency is an absolute relationship killer and it will destroy all the relationships you have unless you fight it tenaciously like a warrior. Fight it with good etiquette, remembering consequences always, and treating life with the seriousness that it deserves.
Keep moving forward, and always live in the battleground.
Did you know that simply owning a firearm does not make you safe? When you purchase a firearm, there is no slip of paper that states "You are now safe" (and even if there was, it wouldn't matter).
I actually think that purchasing firearms can be DETRIMENTAL for some people because it can provide this false sense of security. Do not succumb to this illusion of Firearm = safety. It doesn't. And here is why:
Many people after purchasing a firearm commit the cardinal sin of firearms ownership. That cardinal sin is that they don't continue training with the firearm. It is purchased and then shelved, cased, locked-up; barely to be handled again. This is a recipe for disaster and for "accidents" to occur.
In life, in order to get good at any thing, we need time spent with and contact with that thing. Familiarity is critical. By familiarity I mean that you must be familiar handling the firearm. You must learn how to safely clean, store, and handle your firearm. You must shoot it to experience the sounds, kick-back, and mechanics of shooting. You can sum all this up in one word as 'training.' You must train.
Purchasing the weapon never to touch it again does NOT make you safe! It makes you exactly the opposite; a danger to yourself and those around you.
People have asked me "Should I purchase a firearm?" And my personal opinion and response is always the same "Only if you are willing to use it and train with it. If not, do not bother." This especially applies to concealed carry holders. If you are carrying but have done no safety training outside of your CCW/CCL class, you are asking for trouble. The consequences of mishandling a firearm are so profound that extreme attention should be given to proper storage, transport, and holding/handling of the firearm. It only takes one moment of carelessness to harm or kill yourself or someone around you: http://pediatrics.about.com/od/safety/a/gun-accidents.htm
You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to train in the proper safety and handling of the weapon if you are going to own one. Do not think that just because you've watched some old western films or The Expendables that you are a "gun" expert. You are not. You need to train. Go to the range. Learn proper safety. Research the laws in your state regarding the firearm. Owning a firearm is a big responsibility and treating it as such will help prevent unnecessary "accidents" and mishaps.
Keep moving forward!
In addition to sharing success principles of the warrior lifestyle with you, I also want to share practical things you can actually do to become more of a warrior in your daily life. Today I am going to give you 3 quick and easy tips that you can implement right now in order to decrease your chances of being victimized by violence. These 3 tips are particularly relevant for those of you who live in dense urban areas, where contact with people is constant and your senses are constantly bombarded with stimuli. However, these tips apply universally but with particular emphasis for large cities. Without further adieu, here are the 3 tips:
1) Lift your eyes up; save texting for later. This might be perhaps the biggest one. Burying your head in your phone while walking or driving is to immediately make yourself a target for violence (and also other crimes like pick-pocketing and car-jacking). Lifting your eyes up and scanning your environment is perhaps more important now than ever in these times a due to a new "game" teenagers are playing called "the knockout game." The game consists of teenagers finding some unsuspecting victim to attempt to knockout with one punch. Many of these hooligans film the action and post it to social media. If only for this reason alone, get your eyes up and your face out of your phone. By doing so, you will join the minority and thus remove yourself from the larger selection pool of face-buried, unaware potential victims.
2) Don't hug the corners. This tip is fairly common sense though not as well known as getting your face out of your phone. Especially at night, when rounding building corners, do not hug the wall of the building. If someone is waiting to attack you just around the corner and you hug it, the time you have to see them, assess their intent, and/or evade their punch/grab/stab, etc. will be extremely minute. Go wide on the corners (far enough away so that someone cannot reach you with their arms fully extended from the wall of the building). At that distance, the attacker will at least have to take a step or two towards you giving you much more time to protect yourself. Again, this tip is particularly relevant at night when vision is limited but this is a good habit to form during the day too. Again, the knockout game is being perpetrated on people IN BROAD DAYLIGHT so do not assume that just because it is "light outside" that you cannot be a victim of violence.
3) Practice accessing 911 on your phone. This is not something most people think about. Imagine that you are sitting at a table and placed before you is your cell phone. I am standing behind you with a razor sharp sword and say "You must access 911 within 5 seconds or I will cut your head off with this sword. Go! Thousand 1, thousand 2, thousand 3, thousand 4, thousand 5. *CUT*". Adrenaline going yet? Think about it though: can you access and call 911 in 5 seconds or less? This is not something we tend to think about but if you do get into an altercation, you don't want to fight it out alone and you surely don't want to rely on a random passer-by to call for help. And you won't necessarily have much time to call. As an attacker, I would have a goal of making sure you COULDN'T call for help. So practice this. Place your phone wherever you normally carry it (front pocket, back pocket, hip-case, etc.) and practice grabbing it and dialing 911 as quickly as you can. The beauty of smart phones is that in these situations, 911 can trace your call. So even if you get on the line and cannot speak to them because you are busy fighting for your life, 911 can trace the location and send help. They also record all calls which means audio of the event may be available to use in criminal prosecutions if necessary (this can either help or hurt you depending on what you say, they say, etc. I am not a lawyer, I just want you to be aware this coin is dual sided).
To recap, 3 things: Eyes up, Wide corners, 911 practice. Implement these three things to start living more aware and to begin forging yourself into a warrior. You owe it to yourself to do this. Think about it: how long and hard have you worked to arrive where you are in life right now? Probably pretty hard. One act by one person can take all that away. A choice someone else makes can completely alter the course of your life. One man who was a victim of the knockout game needed 19 stitches and got a concussion. Other's who are victims of more sinister violence lose their lives. Don't make yourself a target. Be aware and live like a warrior. You owe it to yourself and your family.
Live in the battleground,
NOTE: I am not a lawyer and can give no legal advice whatsoever. Consult your attorney for any legal questions. I can also provide no guarantee that implementing these tips will prevent all violence or keep you safe from harm. In violence, there are no guarantees. You must use your own judgement when it comes to your safety. My task is simply to make you aware of options; nothing more.
As a protector, I see it as my duty to help ensure that more and more people succeed. Success helps all of us. Success will protect more people. Failure will hurt more people. Those who fail and are desperate often turn to crime and immoral actions to achieve their success. As a protector, the more people I help succeed the right way, the less immoral actions to achieve success will be necessary.
I want to share today the one, sure-fire way to fail at life. It was said quite eloquently by the great comedian Bill Cosby.
I don't know the key to success but the key to failure is to try to please everybody. - Bill Cosby
This is a principle I have found to be true in my own life. When you think about it, it's simply about the numbers. With over 7 Billion people in the world, there is bound to be someone who doesn't agree with you, like you, etc. So trying to please everybody is a futile exercise. Get around people who support you, who believe in you, in the people who value things you value and don't worry about the "haters."
As a warrior, you will be faced with many decisions in your life that will take you down one path but not another. It will include some and exclude others and that's OK. That is called life. Warriors can and do make those tough calls because they know they must. If not you, then who?
Dare to be yourself and to laugh in the face of your critics. And always remember; if you don't have some people mad at you, it might just be because you don't stand for anything. I am not saying to take stands just for the sake of taking them. But if one of your core values has been violated and you feel it is appropriate, stand up for it. Dare to risk offending others. Do not fear their scorn. Trying to please them all is the surest way to ensure your own failure precisely because it will mean you take no stand on anything. In order to please all you must be completely neutral and even that will not make some people happy (for example: when someone explicitly asks you to take sides on an issue or relationship, saying "I'm neutral" will likely be taken as you not siding with them, which will make them unhappy).
The myth of neutrality holds so many people back because it makes them feel they can succeed and please everyone. You can't. It is a myth. You are actually failing while you think yourself succeeding. A truly fatal situation.
Be bold. Stand up for what you believe and always remember Bill Cosby: "I don't know the key to success but the way to failure is to try and please everybody."
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.