Hallmarks of a True Warrior
In today’s modern world, we don’t tend to think of people as warriors anymore. Most of us are pencil pushers rather than fighters and it is very rare that we ever have to put ourselves in harm’s way or take on a gang of enemies.
This is a good thing for the most part, but it has resulted in many of us becoming soft and weak willed.
And the reality is that we don’t need to give up on being warriors. Just because we don’t need to fight anymore, that doesn’t mean we can’t approach modern challenges as warriors. It doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from adopting a warrior’s mindset.
And it doesn’t mean that there really aren’t any modern warriors left. There are those fighting on our front lines and there are those who simply approach modern challenges and obstacles with the mindset of a warrior from times gone by. In this post, we’ll take a look at what makes a true warrior and at whether you might fit that mold.
If not, then this list will help you to better understand the areas where you should aim to improve your conduct…
Takes the Harder Path
The warrior is someone who has a steadfast mission and who knows what they want to achieve. They have a purpose and a reason for being and as such, they are driven like few others.
Thus, the warrior doesn’t give in and take the easy route. They don’t relax on the couch and eat cake, they don’t blame others for their mistake. The warrior is happy to take the harder path if it takes them closer to their goal and if it helps them to become stronger in the process.
Sees Obstacles As Challenges
In a similar vein, the warrior does not see challenges as something to be feared or cursed. When things are going wrong, the warrior relishes the opportunity to develop themselves and to test themselves.
Doesn’t Give In to Fear
The warrior is not without fear, but they have it under control. The warrior knows how to use their fear as a motivator and how to suppress it when appropriate.
Stays Calm in a Stressful Situations
When everyone else is panicking, the warrior stays calm and focussed. They know what they need to accomplish and they know that getting in a flap won’t help anyone.
Looks After Their Body and Mind
While there may be few physical fights left, the warrior knows that they owe it to themselves and to those around them to look after their bodies and to train for a battle that may never come. The warrior doesn’t allow themselves to grow weak in times of plenty, they train, they hone and they respect their bodies and minds.
The warrior is quick to take action and to make decisions, the main reason being that they are not afraid to take responsibility for their action. They gladly carry a great weight on their shoulders, knowing that they will face whatever comes.
How to be Decisive and Take Action
You may wonder why there is any need for you to become a modern-day warrior and adopt a warrior mindset. What is wrong with just relaxing and enjoying life?
Well, while there is nothing wrong with relaxing per-se and while we all need to relax and lighten up from time to time, there are many scenarios where our soft and domesticated nature lets us down.
Take any situation that needs a quick and decisive decision. Few of us are forced to make important life or death situations anymore and that’s why so many of us struggle with even the simplest, easiest decisions. We find ourselves paralyzed when forced to choose what to eat.
We delay important decisions in the workplace to the detriment of our careers – often resulting in lots of money lost. We stay in relationships and jobs we aren’t happy in and we often end up losing the respect of those around us, simply because we’re unable to make up our minds and act decisively.
This is a perfect example of a situation where it would be highly beneficial to have a tougher, more warrior-like mindset. Here’s how you can go about cultivating it.
Why Do You Delay?
In order to help you make decisions faster and more effectively, it’s time to think about what might be causing you to delay in the first place.
For many of us, the answer to that question has something to do with fear: fear of getting the decision wrong.
In some cases this is obvious: we might be fearful to decide which stock to invest in or which job offer to take because we don’t want to face the consequences of getting it wrong: of being stuck in a job we hate and/or losing huge amounts of money.
But many of us also struggle to make decisions about smaller things. Like what to have for dinner! Perhaps your wife or husband asked what you want and you say ‘I don’t mind’.
Their response: ‘just make a decision!’
Your answer: ‘why don’t you make a decision?’
The problem here is likely that you don’t want to be responsible for getting it wrong and upsetting your partner. If you make the wrong choice and they don’t like dinner, then it might put them in a bad mood.
Likewise, you might genuinely want to be polite and give them the choice.
How to Make Decisions Quickly and be More Commanding
So how do you overcome this weakness and start making decisions more quickly?
The answer is simple: you learn to face the consequences and take responsibility.
This means you can offer for the other person to make a decision once and then make your mind up. Accept that sometimes you’ll get it wrong. Accept that they might indeed be in a bad mood. But don’t delay further: just take the consequences.
The same goes for choosing a job, choosing a project, opting to end a relationship…
Simply and quickly run through the likely outcomes of each decision. One is bad, one is worse. Stop worrying about getting it wrong and just tell yourself that you will deal with that scenario if it comes to pass.
How to Develop Situational Awareness
Anyone who has seen the Bourne Identity might be interested in the notion of situational awareness. There’s a scene toward the beginning of that film where Jason Bourne is trying to work out his identity.
He’s alarmed at the way his own mind has been trained to work and explains that within minutes of walking into a diner, he has assessed the weight and strength of other patrons, memorized the car number plates of the cars parked outside, identified the exits and even noticed that the bartender is left-handed.
This kind of training really does exist among intelligence officers and military personnel. It’s called ‘situational awareness’ and it essentially involves being able to quickly and easily identify key facts about your surroundings.
Situational awareness is important for everyone though and certainly for those interested in cultivating a warrior mindset. Situational awareness allows us to identify potential threats faster so that we can avoid or neutralize them. It allows us to move quickly and efficiently when the situation calls for it and ultimately it lets us keep ourselves and others safer.
Problem is, most of us have our mind on other things: things like our office, Angry Birds, debt, relationships and the girl at the office with the short skirt.
How do we get our mind back in the game and start paying attention to the things that matter to us and to those we care about?
The OODA Loop
In the excellent Art of Manliness article, writer Brett McKay describes a method used by Air Force fighter pilot/military strategist John Boyd. OODA is a four step process that tells us to:
First then, you must observe. This means that you mustn’t completely relax and kick your feet up. In neuroscience terms, you mustn’t let your ‘default mode network’ kick in (essentially, you must keep your mind on what’s happening). You should be relaxed yes, but also alert.
Position yourself in any room in such a position that you can see the maximum number of people and avoid letting people get the jump on you. A good example would be the corner of a room with your back to the wall. Remain near an exit where possible.
The next step is to orient, which in this context means looking for specific things. Establish a ‘baseline’ by thinking about the normal behaviour and conditions for a certain area. Look out for examples of deviation from this norm. Does someone look uncomfortable? Is someone inappropriately dressed? Is there a noise that shouldn’t be there?
Next decide whether or not to act and how to act. Have a plan of action and do not hesitate. Trust your instinct at this stage and if in doubt, practice caution.
Someone acting suspiciously or potentially violently? Try moving away from them, or alerting them to security. Find an area has an unusual vibe? Then get your family out of there.
Practicing these tips could one day save your life and at the very least, they will help you to adopt a warrior mentality that will be felt by those around you.
How to Stay Calm in a Crisis
Every now and then, things will go badly wrong.
Someone will be injured, you will get lost, or you will find out that you’ve just lost a huge amount of money.
Your natural reaction now may be to panic. After all, why wouldn’t you get in a fluster? What will you do now that you’ve lost the money? What will happen to your friend or relative who just fainted and is now lying there looking very unwell?
But while panicking is natural, it’s also entirely unhelpful. If this is your response, then you will be likely to make matters worse not better and you will potentially cause more problems than you solve.
The best response is to stay calm and robotic. You may appear cold and emotionless, but this is the most efficient and useful way to react to such a situation. This is how you’re going to help everyone deal with the problem – you can panic, cry or mourn later.
The question though, is how you can overcome that initial emotional response. How can you keep cool when everything is going awry around you?
Breathe and Slow Down
The first thing to do is to step back and take a moment to breathe and to assess the situation.
That initial urge to rush in or to cry is caused by a flood of adrenaline – your fight or flight hormone. This can be immensely useful for fuelling your reaction speed, increasing muscular strength and more. Unfortunately, it also suppresses activity in the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain that we use for future planning and reasoning.
So instead, you need to learn to control your breathing and to calm yourself down. This will reactivate your ‘rest and digest’ state via your parasympathetic nervous system. So breathe in through the stomach deeply and then let it fill your lungs.
You are not in a massive rush. If you rush, you will make matters worse. Even in time critical situations, remember the adage: less haste, more speed.
Look for the Answer
Now look for the best solution the problem at hand. Try to remove yourself emotionally from the situation by looking at it as an outsider. Think of this like an exercise and try to narrow down your actions to the most useful few options.
While in this scenario, you might be afraid to act. Each action you consider will likely have the risk of a negative outcome and might still make matters worse. But once you’ve considered carefully the options and efficiently weighed up the best course of action, the next step is simply to act. Even if you are uncertain, take positive and decisive action.
Doing this means accepting the possibility that things might go wrong and that it might be your fault. In other words, it means accepting your responsibility and being willing to shoulder that responsibility if necessary. It means being able and willing to put yourself out on a limb and to face the storm that might come.
Lessons from the Art of War
The warrior mindset might seem like something of an anachronism. Is there really a call for warriors in this day and age? Do we really need to learn to become hard and tough, when our biggest challenges tend to involve office deadlines or money management?
The answer is yes. Mental toughness, discipline and motivation are things that can help you to excel in any aspect of your life regardless of the circumstances. These are traits we should all look to cultivate and we should all covet.
And if you need more proof of this, then you need only look to the Art of War. The Art of War is a powerful, ancient text from author Sun Tsu that was written as a military treatise in the 5th Century. This is a book of tips for military leaders in the 5th Century but it could not be more relevant today.
This book is still recommended for business professionals, lawyers, artists and many others because of the relevance of the tips within. This is the perfect proof that the warrior mindset is as important than ever.
So, what can we learn from this text in particular? Here are some of the best quotes from the book and some ideas as to what they might be teaching us.
There is No Instance of a Nation Benefiting From Prolonged Warfare
This tells us of the folly of war and of the importance of finding a swift resolution to our problems. These are both lessons that are very true today in a range of scenarios. In particular, prolonged stress is incredibly bad for our health and for our psychological wellbeing, while any kind of struggle – whether it’s the slow breakdown of a relationship or a battle of office politics – is likely to cause more collateral damage the longer it goes on.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
So how does one shorten a battle and reduce unnecessary bloodshed, cost and damage? One of the most important answers is to plan ahead and to be well prepared.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Better yet is to avoid a confrontation entirely. This way, you can conserve your resources, avoid damage on either side and maintain the moral high-ground.
Consider Bruce Lee’s ‘art of fighting without fighting’ in the film Enter the Dragon. If you can subdue a situation without struggle, that is an example of being a true warrior.
The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
This lesson describes what it is to have the warrior’s mindset: to be able to put aside your personal whims and needs and to instead focus on something greater than yourself. And when you work toward a greater cause, that is when you can become a greater individual.
Skills You Should Learn as a Modern Warrior
While the news might lead you to think differently, the reality is that we live in a time with the most peace ever around the world. There are fewer wars than there have been at any other time during history and most of us here in the West have shelter, food and no reason to fear for our lives when we walk down the street.
And this is why many of us have become ‘soft’. Many of us have forgotten when it means to have to fight for what we want and need. Many of us are content to spend our time simply relaxing, watching junk on TV and eating ourselves into food comas at the end of every day.
The stress we do face takes a very different form than it used to.
But adopting a warrior’s mindset is still important. There are still battles to be fought and there are still huge benefits that can come from instilling discipline, drive and a code of honour.
And there are reasons to continue to grow, to learn and to improve yourself. Becoming a modern warrior means being ready for whatever challenge might come. It means being able to protect and fight for your family. And it means having the means and tools to influence your circumstances rather than letting them shape you.
So, keep learning, keep growing and keep getting tougher. Prepare for the storm, even if it never comes. Become an unstoppable force for good in your own life.
These are some of the skills and abilities that will help you to do that…
Focus and Awareness: Meditation
Many of us walk around in a daze, thinking about things that have no bearing on our current situation. We daydream about things we need to do for work. We worry about debt and we worry about our jobs.
But the warrior takes a different approach. The warrior is ready for what might come, they are ready to respond to a dire situation. And they give all of their attention and focus to the matter in hand.
To reach this point, practice meditating. This will strengthen your ability to focus and concentrate and it has many other benefits too.
Practical Skills: YouTube
The warrior is completely self-sufficient and able to make do with the tools they have. Learn the basics of plumbing, mechanics, electrical engineering etc. and don’t be afraid to try and solve problems yourself rather than calling someone else to do it. Look it up on YouTube and try it yourself.
Foregoing Creature Comforts: Travel
One of the times that we go into ‘warrior mode’ in everyday life is when we become parents. Parents are able to go without sleep without stressing about it. They run on very little energy all because they are putting the needs of someone else before them. This is the true hallmark of a warrior.
Learn to live life less comfortably and to go without sleep and without your creature comforts. Try travelling with very little and you will learn to make do.
Warrior Mentality: How to Live Life Like a Real Life Batman
Most of us live fairly boring and uneventful lives. Think yourself lucky: for the most part, an ‘exciting’ life will mean trials and hardships that you would be better off not having to face.
But while we don’t have to live life as warriors, it’s nevertheless true that many of us will look to warriors as role models and for inspiration. For example, just how many people look at someone like Batman and think of them as an ideal male figure? As an example of wish fulfilment?
In short: who doesn’t want to be Batman?
This is strange really when you consider just how far removed most of our lives are from Batman’s. When you consider just how different the things that benefit him are from the things that would benefit us. The traits that make a great ‘Batman’ are not the traits that make a great Father, Mother, employee, friend…
Or are they?
In the comics, Batman is referred to as a ‘peak human’. That is to say that he has the strength, the brains and the skills of someone at the very peak of what’s possible for a human. He is said to know 127 martial arts, he can compete with record holders when it comes to his weight lifting skills, he is ambidextrous, he knows forensic science, he can pick locks…
Yes, Batman is a fictional character, but the fact that we all respond to him as we do suggests that there might be something deeper going on here. That maybe, Batman offers a blueprint for us to follow.
The question is how we can apply the ideals of Batman to our modern lives…
Growth and Motivation
In order to accomplish all the things that Batman has in the comics and films, we would need to dedicate our entire lives to training, exercise, reading and developing our minds and bodies. In short: it would be impossible.
Even if we were to tone things down to realistic proportions and to try and learn a little less, to train a little less, we would still be required to dedicate our entire lives to this pursuit.
Batman would likely use the uberman sleep schedule to survive on 4 hours of sleep or less a day. He would likely use a range of supplements and – according to Becoming Batman – consume around 4,500 calories daily.
No real person could do all that because we all have other things that we want to accomplish and we all have commitments and the need to sometimes just relax and enjoy our lives.
Batman is able to get up every day and do all that because he is incredibly driven by his mission. It consumes him and in fact, this is an aspect of his character that is explored over and over in the comics.
The point is then: if you want to become a warrior in your mindset and if you want to be inspired by Batman, you need to find what drives you.
Your battle might not be on the streets of Gotham but in the courts, in the office or in the gym. But the motivation and the drive must be the same.
Why Everyone Should Learn to Defend Themselves
The warrior mindset is an approach to life that changes the way you handle challenges, setbacks and hardships. Many of us have simply become too soft as a result of modern conveniences – of being domesticated.
While most of us have no need to fight or to struggle most of the time, living a life of comfort and indulgence makes us weak and soft – so that when a challenge does come along, we are often ill equipped to deal with it.
Adopting a warrior mindset means changing all that. It means toughening up, learning to live a little harder and to deal with challenges. And it should also mean learning to defend yourself.
No, you don’t need to be the next Bruce Lee or Batman. But you should know some basic self-defense and have an idea of how to take care of yourself. Here are some crucial reasons why.
Self Defense Helps You to Protect Yourself and Others
While we largely live in a time where violence and fighting is relatively rare (thankfully), the reality is that sometimes you will still need to protect yourself. Whether you find yourself caught up in a bar fight, or being attacked in the street. The ability to defend yourself in this scenario could mean the difference between life and death and it could mean the difference between being able to protect your family and escape alive.
Self Defense Makes You Alpha
Sometimes the benefit of self-defense is not in its ability to help you win a fight but rather in the way it makes you feel and the way it helps you to approach a situation.
Because ultimately, the biggest ‘trump card’ in life is physical ability and strength. While you might be able to bargain with someone or pay them off, ultimately, if the person you are speaking to is stronger, faster and more deadly then they have the final say about how things go down.
Being able to fight if necessary gives you confidence and authority. It makes you the ‘alpha’ in a group (yes this applies to women too) and it means that others can’t coerce you.
Ultimately, being able to take care of yourself will allow you to act the way that you think is right and without fear.
Training Instils Discipline
Finally, learning to take care of yourself is in itself a useful activity. Training in martial arts is an incredibly effective way to develop yourself physically and mentally. One of the biggest hallmarks of learning martial arts is the focus on discipline. On using correct technique and staying calm in a stressful situation. On practicing the same kick over and over again and on learning to ignore the opponent and see only an obstacle to be overcome.
When you transition this mindset to other aspects of your life, you’ll greatly increase your ability to get things done, to stay calm and to be master of your own destiny.
This is why everyone should learn to fight.
Why the Warrior Mindset Demands Minimalism
What is the warrior mindset?
To many of us, it means strength and it means determination and it means discipline. The warrior mindset is about knowing what you want, knowing how to accomplish it and being willing to make sacrifices. It’s about being in service of something greater than yourself: be that a goal or objective in your career, be it looking after your family, or be it working to make the world a better place.
The warrior is able to put aside their creature comforts, their personal desires and their weaknesses. The warrior does what needs to be done. And this demands minimalism.
How Your Stuff Makes You Weak
The reason for this is simple: your stuff makes you weak.
Ultimately, the more stuff you have, the more you have to lose.
If you have a beautiful large home that is absolutely packed with beautiful objects, then that’s going to require a large amount of money in order to maintain and keep. This in turn means you need a well-paid job in order to maintain it.
And it means that you suddenly have a lot to lose and a lot of ways you could lose it. Whether it’s upsetting your boss, having your house robbed, or anything else… more items mean you have more distracting you from what is really important and more ways you can be damaged.
Then there’s the more direct way that ‘stuff’ can make you weak. Simply: having lots of things means that you will be indulged. Whether it’s great food, a comfortable arm chair that lets you put the feat up, or a TV with 5,000 channels and the ability to record from 5 at once.
When you’re used to living in that kind of luxury, your standards go up. You become accustomed to having more, you become less able to live with less.
And now, when you find yourself without all those creature comforts, you’re going to find it harder to live without them.
Now imagine that you come home everyday and do press ups in an empty room. Or that you sleep on the floor. You adapt and suddenly, you can make do in any situation. You never complain, you never feel sorry for yourself and you have nothing to lose.
I’m not saying you need to go that far, but I am saying that a little minimalism will help you to be less vulnerable and less soft.
More Benefits of Minimalism
The benefits of minimalism go beyond this too. For starters, when you have a minimal décor and you have fewer things, you will actually be freer. Now you can up and leave and travel the world with no need to find a place to keep your items. At the same time, you will need to spend less time in your evenings tidying and cleaning!
Then there’s the fact that having fewer possessions will free your mind up to be able to concentrate on more important matters. A cluttered home is a cluttered mind!
Why Warriors Should Take Cold Showers
Want to cultivate a warrior’s mindset? Want to become more formidable, more impressive and more efficient?
Then a simple ‘hack’ that you can use is to take cold showers. A cold shower is a very useful tool that will allow you to improve your healthy and fitness while also fortifying your mind and honing your discipline.
Here’s why taking a cold shower is such a good step for so many people…
Benefits of Cold Showers
Many of us start our day feeling groggy, tired and miserable. This is certainly not how a ‘warrior’ should begin their mornings and it’s not conducive to productivity or a positive day ahead.
This is one reason that a cold shower can make such a huge difference. Cold showers will trigger a release of adrenaline and norepinephrine, which will accelerate your heartrate and encourage blood-flow to the brain.
This can quickly wake you up and increase your energy levels so that you can start your day in a manner that’s productive.
The warrior mindset is all about having the discipline to sometimes do things that you don’t want to do. This is about being able to force yourself to work when you really just want to relax. It’s about being able to ignore the desire to eat snacks from the kitchen and it’s about going to the gym when you’re keen to sleep a bit longer and hit ‘snooze’ on that alarm.
Being able to step into freezing cold water takes a ton of discipline. Keeping yourself under there takes even more self-control.
And think of it this way: if you have the self-control to stand under a freezing shower, then how much easier will it be to make yourself do some extra work this evening? Or to tidy the house in the morning?
Another benefit of taking cold showers is that they put you in a certain frame of mind. Did you know that when Hugh Jackman was first cast as Wolverine in X-Men, he used cold showers in order to get into the feral mindset.
Believe it or not, cold showers are actually good for you.
Not only do you benefit from the increased blood flow and alertness that we have already described; but taking cold showers will also be able to strengthen your heart, toughen up your immune system and even increase sperm count for men!
Taking warm baths and showers might actually be bad news for men. Not only can it reduce sperm count and mobility but it can also decrease testosterone. Cold on the other hand is known to increase and improve both, making you more masculine.
And while it might seem surprising that a cold shower can enhance your immune system, the simple reason is that cold showers force your immune system to work harder – like a workout!
Oh and did you know that you can burn calories by taking cold showers? That’s because a cold shower will increase your metabolism and burn energy as your body tries to stay warm.
Become a Modern Day Warrior – Click on the Image: