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,
Only warriors can choose pacifism; all others are condemned to it." - Unknown
In life, are you the kind of person who values being able to make choices and having many available options? Or are you the kind of person who enjoys being condemned to act a certain way or to be a certain thing? I value choices. I like having options. When it comes to violence, a warrior is the only one who has choices. As a warrior, I can choose pacifism and I can refuse to fight. Conversely, should things go wrong, I have another option: I can fight. Only warriors are true pacifists because they can do the very thing that ensures that pacifism will win the day: they can be violent.
A non-warrior pacifist has no choices. They have no options. They are pacifists because they must be. They have not the skills, the heart or the mind for fighting. Therefore, their stance carries no real nobility. Do we call a person noble who acts out of compulsion? Let me put it another way: If the only thing you could do when someone asked for help was to give help, would you be noble? If I came up to you and said "I need help jumping my car" and you were magically compelled to help anyone who asked for it, would you be noble? No. You aren't helping me because you choose to, you are helping me because you are forced to. Nobility can exist only where there is freedom to choose its opposite: ignobility. Therefore, when a warrior chooses pacifism or ends a fight before it begins, he/she has done a noble thing. Because the warrior could have done otherwise. He/she could have chosen to hurt, maim or kill the other person. But they chose not to. They chose pacifism.
Non-warriors can only be pacifists. They don't choose it for its nobility, they choose it because they have no other choice. If the person they are debating suddenly attacks them shouting, "I don't care about your pacifist principles. I'm going to kill you!" The pacifist is in serious trouble unless a warrior comes by to help them. If someone were to do the same to a pacifistic warrior, the warrior can choose option B: to fight. In other words, if diplomacy fails, the warrior can engage in combat. For pacifists, if diplomacy fails and a fight ensues, they are quick to look around for someone who isn't a pacifist to lend them aid.
If you choose the warrior path, you will then have two options: To be a pacifist, or to be a fighter - depending on what is dictated. If you choose pacifism without being a warrior, then you are condemned to that path alone and can make no other choice regardless of the circumstances or situation.
Which path you choose is up to you. Again, if you value freedom, choices and options, you would be wise to choose the warrior path. If you don't value having freedom, choices and options, then you may just choose the path of pacifism. Choose wisely. I'll leave you with a hypothetical scenario and I'll let you decide which person you'd rather be in this scenario, the warrior, or the pacifist:
You are sitting on your favorite sofa watching your favorite TV show in your home. It has been a long day at work and you are glad you get to sit down and finally relax a little. Suddenly, a brick comes smashing through your living room window. You see three men in masks storming through the broken window and you hear one of them say "You two handle him (pointing at you) and I'll go find the little girl (meaning your daughter)". You misplaced your cell phone and the two men will be upon you within seconds. The one is already angling off in the direction of the bedrooms where your daughter lies sleeping. You can see it in the eyes of your soon-to-be attackers that they intend to do you great harm, and maybe even kill you. You shudder to think about what they will do to your daughter and how they know that you have a daughter in the first place. What would you rather do? Begin a lecture about the immorality of violence and their actions? Or fight them off until you and your daughter are safe and the attackers are arrested? Could you live with yourself if they beat you nearly to death and kidnapped your daughter or son? The sad part is that you may not have to because they might kill you and then kidnap your daughter or son. In this moment, which person would you rather be? The warrior or the pacifist?
Live in the battleground,
There is one threat that is paramount above all others. Greater than any terrorist group, street fighter, or gang of thugs. More efficient than a 1911 pistol and more devastating than an atomic bomb. It injures and kills more people per year than all the weapons and acts of violence from around the world combined. Worst of all, this threat is more subtle and insidious than a deadly virus and will ravage you three times as quickly. This threat is lack of awareness.
Awareness? Yes. Lack of awareness kills more people than any other cause or causes combined. Many people could have prevented violence, prepared for it, or combated it had they only been more aware. More people could stave off financial ruin if they were simply more aware of their financial state. More people could overcome addictions and vices if they were simply aware of them in the first place.
No problem is treatable or curable without first being aware of that problem. No market need can be fulfilled if no one is aware of the need. No issue can be resolved without you first being aware of it.
"He who masters others is mighty, he who masters himself is mightier still." - Lao Tzu
The ancient philosopher Lao Tzu spoke true words. To master oneself, you must be aware of yourself. In our age of technology, consumerism, and insane go-go mentality, it is easy to forget to study yourself and to become more aware of yourself. Why do you do what you do? Why do you choose to associate with the people you choose to associate with? Why do you work at place you choose to work? Those are deep questions man, some of you might say. Yes. Yes they are. A warrior strives to know the why's behind his/her life because the why's are what will compel you forward when things get tough; and all warriors know that times will get tough. That's a pretty negative outlook, some will say. Okay: I'm positive, things are going to get tough. It is a fact. Lack of awareness makes those tough times even tougher. It needn't be so.
In order to master yourself, you must be aware of yourself. If you are aware of yourself you will also then consider how what you do affects other people (in turn, making you more aware of others). It is not possible to be 100% aware of everything, but the warrior seeks to be as aware as possible. Ignorance is not bliss. At best, ignorance makes one look foolish. At worst, ignorance gets you or other people killed.
Warriors do not settle for lack of awareness. They push themselves to become more aware of everything in their world. If you fail to do this, lack of awareness will cause you misery and grief. Many people realize that things are not going their way but they never stop to become aware of why that is or how they can change the situation. Do not settle for lack of awareness. Become aware. Start paying attention to the why's of your life. Start thinking about how and why you do what you do in regards to others and yourself.
To combat violence, be aware of your surroundings in a 360 degree fashion. Take in everyone's emotions, body language, smells, sights, sounds, and textures. Start to feel again. Wake yourself up from the technological trance and begin to feel yourself and the world again.
Do not let the number one threat, lack of awareness, be the reason why you failed. Become aware of your problems and what you must do to overcome them and then march proudly forward to do battle.
Aware 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.