Warrior Virtues: The simple characteristics that separate the ordinary man from the uncommon man

helo on deck.jpeg

In episode seven of the 360 Man Project Podcast I talked about the thief and the warrior.

We all have these two opposing forces inside of us every day.  One of them is the warrior or the man we are made to be, and the other is the thief or the man that wants to keep us from being the warrior.

We should all now realize that we are in a battle and be taking action to combat the thief.

However, what kinds of virtues or character traits should we be seeking to possess, develop and hone?

I wanted to do some research on what other warrior cultures throughout history had for their virtues, and what I found was mostly the same across all of them.

Which leads me to believe that we are all looking to the same thing.

These virtues know no bounds, over centuries they have remained the same despite religion, political beliefs, institution or government.

They are timeless.

Bushido:

  • Rectitude or Justice
  • Courage
  • Benevolence or Mercy
  • Politeness
  • Honesty and Sincerity
  • Honor
  • Loyalty
  • Character and Self-Control

 

Havamal: Vikings Ancient Norse Teachings

  • Courage
  • Truth
  • Honor
  • Fidelity
  • Discipline
  • Hospitality
  • Industriousness
  • Self-Reliance
  • Perseverance

 

 Navy SEAL’s:

  • Honor and Heritage
  • Loyalty
  • Humility
  • Service
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Discipline
  • Innovation and Skill

Green Berets/Delta Force:

  • Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Courage
  • Faith
  • Discipline
  • Self-Assurance
  • Humility

Special Forces Creed

Training Video


Spartans:

  • Courage
  • Selflessness
  • Honor
  • Discipline
  • Service
  • Cunning
  • Confidence
  • Truth

The warrior Ethos

The most fundamental component of a warrior is humility. A warrior understands that they are in service to something greater than them, and they stand ready to serve on a moment’s notice.

They have a concept of “team” and “us”, not “me”.

Warriors don’t do things out of selfish gain or to garner or adorn themselves with accolades and prizes.

They do unheard of, courageous acts because of a deep sense of connection to their brothers and other warriors.

The two most important virtues that I believe a man can possess:

Humility:

A man is not better or worse off than anyone else, he is simply where he is, and where he chooses to be. He doesn’t need to be jealous of others because he is secure in his own freedom, he is very aware of what he is capable and understands what his purpose is.

He does not need accolades or praise to feel complete or whole or loved. He is vulnerable when it is appropriate especially among friends.

He does not boast about his achievements or accomplishments at the expense or shame of others, but he also doesn’t try to hide who he is and never apologizes for his stature, achievements or accomplishments. It is just what he does, because that’s who he is.

Discipline:

Discipline is forged by doing things over and over until they become second nature. They also become progressively more difficult.

For example, let’s say that a person is tasked to do 60 push-ups. That person may start off by doing as many as they can in one set, and then slow down. It may seem like the most difficult thing you have ever done at the time, but if that person sticks to it, even if they only do one push-up at a time and see it through to completion, will have strengthened their discipline muscle.

They did not give up when they wanted to quit, or could have taken the easier way out and not completed them. They could have made any of the following excuses:

  • I’m out of shape
  • I can’t do this
  • This is too hard
  • My heart is racing, and it hurts
  • I don’t have to do this, no one cares

Discipline says, I’m going to do it because it is the task that is set before me. I won’t give up because I won’t let myself down. This is what I am doing right now, so I am going to do it.

Ordinary people give up, they take the easy way out. They cheat on form, or lie about how many they did. I know because when I am doing something difficult, my mind will always try to convince me to take the easy way out. This is where the choice to remain disciplined comes in. When you don’t listen to that voice you are recreating your brains wiring and stretching its limits.

The warrior Mindset

I recently read a book called "Training the Samurai Mind", and one of the Samurai was a man named Suzuki Shosan (1579 - 1655). He was talking about ordinary people and a warriors mindset. 

The distinctions that he makes are very clear:

Now, then, ordinary people are those who take the falsehood of illusions to be true, produce a selfish mind attached to what has form, develop greedy, angry, and ignorant thoughts, create all sorts of afflictions and lose their basic mind, always distracted, overcome by thoughts as they occur, racking their brains and belaboring their bodies, without buoyancy of mind, vainly passing the time benighted, alienated from themselves and fixated on things, this is called the mind of ordinary people.

That being so, you should know the different terms for the original mind. It is called the adamantine actuality, the indestructible body of reality. This mind is not hung up on things, it is unafraid, unshakable, undismayed, unfazed, undisturbed and unchanged, master of all. Those who realize this and use it effectively are called great, they are said to have iron guts, and to have attained the Way. People like this are not obstructed by myriad thoughts, able to let go of all things, they are very independent.
— Suzuki Shosan - Training the Samurai Mind

Furthermore, in order to develop these iron guts, you will need to work on several things:

  1. Segmenting -Breaking huge goals into very small attainable goals
  2. Visualization - When you are ready to attempt something or have a meeting, do you visualize it and rehearse it in your mind?
  3. Self Talk - How do you talk to yourself when things get challenging
  4. Small Victories - Celebrate small wins, even if they are meaningless to everyone else

Homework or Practical Application:

  • Segmenting - If you want to get in shape, focus on one workout at a time, or even one rep at a time. If it's work, segment break to break. Learn how to do this, and you will be more effective and focused
  • Visualization - If you want to get in shape, then visualize yourself doing it. Lifting weights, running a marathon, competing in the cross fit open. This is what I do, and it works. Usually if I can see myself doing it, I know I can do it.
  • Self-Talk - Create a single phrase that you can say in your head when things get difficult or challenging and use it to your advantage. When I ran my ultra-marathon I had a saying: "The pace, the pace is what wins the race."
  • Small Victories - Have fun, and find humor in everything, especially in the darkest moments. Victories don't have to be big, they just have to be meaningful to you. I can Deadlift 5 pounds more than I could 2 weeks ago. Yep, very little change, but its a small voictory and I'm taking it.
blog bio2.PNG