Each man binds himself; the fetters are ignorance, laziness, preoccupation with self, and fear.
I don’t know man. I don’t think philosophy is some mystical thing reserved for a select few gurus who can levitate on top of a mountain. It is not just the privilege of an exclusive club of intellectuals or socialites.
Every person on this Earth has a few good stories to tell, and a few life lessons to teach. I’ve learned some of the best lessons from the people and places I least expected it. That, my friends, is philosophy — demystified and simplified.
You don’t need a degree, paper credentials, or a resume to participate in it. You’re alive and experiencing life, learning valuable lessons every day. Life strategies are the right of everyone. To share in, to contribute to, and to learn and grow from.
We are simply being an open book and sharing what we’ve studied, what we’ve applied, and what has helped us in our lives. Maybe it will help you. Maybe it won’t. But we promise, we’re giving it our best shot.
At the very least, it will get you to think about YOUR OWN ways to start getting shit done AND enjoying life.
THE 7 TRAPS OF MODERN LIFE
I see a modern world where people:
- Are always chasing the quick fix, but are no longer willing to use grit.
- Make a lot of plans and promises, but rarely follow through ‘til the end.
- Are good at acquiring information overload and haggling over minutia, but are not so good at narrowing their focus and consistently DOING the simple.
- Think they are going to live forever, thus take each moment for granted.
- Are way too freaking anxious and stressed out all of the time, mostly over meaningless shit.
- Get too caught up in projecting an image or “following the Joneses” vs. making authentic connections and personally growing.
- Are completely miserable following the path they are “supposed to”, rather than the one that is truly aligned with their own interests and passions.
We are not innocent of such laziness and treachery. When you point a finger, three point back at yourself. We are not perfect. We fall back into these traps more often then we’d like.
The truth is we all need some extra help and motivational guidance from time to time in order to put things in the proper perspective, and give us the strength to fully maximize our potential.
But most modern “gurus” dress that up with way too much mysticism, fluff, and cult-like co-dependency.
If you want to start becoming more productive AND to find a little peace of mind in life, you don’t need tricks and rituals. And you don’t need to be able to levitate over a mountaintop.
Real battles are fought in every day life, by every day people.
You need some straightforward principles and simple strategies, and then you need to take some personal accountability and consistent action.
THE WAVE MAN’S WAY
He studied all the traditional philosophies, but then he began to form his own philosophy, and he came to the realization that you just can’t borrow another person’s philosophy. You have to learn about yourself and create your own philosophy, your own way of life. — Linda Lee (on Bruce Lee).
That’s why we like a little Bruce Lee and Miyamoto Musashi — a little self-help and warrior strategies without the bullshit.
Y’all know Bruce Lee.
Miyamoto Musashi was rōnin – a samurai warrior with no master. It literally translates as “wave man”, or someone who is socially adrift.
Musashi did not follow traditional conventions, care about his social status, or waste energy projecting a false image. Authenticity and honest expression was what mattered most.
He was a vagabond, wandering the land learning martial strategy, gaining philosophical insights, and improving and testing his skills in battle. He ultimately created his own unique fighting style, and retired from combat undefeated.
History often remembers rōnin in a negative light, but I like to think of them as warriors who had the courage to pursue self-knowledge and self-help, rather than mindlessly clinging to dogma or following archaic traditions.
YOU AND THE WAVE MAN STRATEGIES
You must make fullest use of your weaponry. It is false not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn. – Miyamoto Musashi
Obviously, Asian culture has a large influence on these strategies. But you don’t have to be Asian to appreciate, learn from, and use them.
I’m half Japanese (and half Irish), but I actually grew up in a small town full of jocks, rednecks, and surfers, which is more of my natural disposition.
Nonetheless, challenges and obstacles in life are Universal. They go beyond race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender, or sexual orientation. We all need good weapons to face our battles head-on, instead of sweeping them under the rug.
You should use whatever strategies that are useful, from whatever culture that exists, to give yourself the best chance at winning the battles you are fighting in life. Take some from here, add your own, and use whatever helps you get the job done.
Life’s too short to be unproductive, stressed out, and miserable all of the time.
THE 7-STARTER STRATEGIES
There are an infinite number of strategies that can be used to improve in what you do. So we have a lot to talk about my friends. But we’ve narrowed it down to a lucky number seven to get you started.
1. Find YOUR Way to Win.
Remember that man created method and not that method created man, and do not strain yourself in twisting into someone’s preconceived pattern, which unquestionably would be appropriate for him, but not necessarily for you. — Bruce Lee.
You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain. – Musashi
2. Take Personal Accountability. There is No Help but Self-Help.
There is no external help. The problem lies in asking somebody else to solve your own problem instead of asking yourself. I can give you ten thousand of my ways, but they are my way, not yours. And individual’s questions are answerable only by the individual himself, and nothing would be gained by his sitting in on a recital of mine. – Bruce Lee
There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself. – Miyamoto Musashi
3. Know What You Are Fighting For.
What would you do if you were attacked by a thug? Would you stand your ground and fight it out? Or, if you will excuse me, would you say that you would run like hell? But what if your loved ones were with you? What then? That’s the all-important question. – Bruce Lee.
The attitude “That you can win if you want to badly enough” means that the will to win is constant and no amount of punishment, no amount of effort, or no condition is too “tough” to take in order to win. Such an attitude can be developed only if winning is closely tied to the practitioner’s ideals and dreams. – Bruce Lee
4. Kaizen = Move One Step Closer to Your Goals on a Daily Basis.
All achievement starts with goals, and Musashi emphasized that you should be ambitious in setting them. Ambitious goals will help you focus your energies, abilities, and actions to maximum effect. — Samurai Strategies
The journey of a thousand ri proceeds step by step, so think without rushing. Understanding that this is the duty of a warrior, put these practices into action, surpass today what you were yesterday, go beyond those of poor skill tomorrow, and exceed those who are skillful later…See to it that you temper yourself with one thousand days of practice, and refine yourself with ten thousand days of training. – Miyamoto Musashi.
5. Hack Away the Unessential and Simplify.
Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful…Do nothing that is of no use. – Musashi
True refinement seeks simplicity – the height of cultivation runs to simplicity. Halfway cultivation runs to ornamentation…It is not daily increase but daily decrease – hack away the unessential! The closer to the source, the less wastage there is. – Bruce Lee
6. Roll With the Randomness of Life.
Never waste energy on worries or negative thoughts. All problems are brought into existence – drop them…Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. — Bruce Lee
Life is an ever-flowing process and somewhere on the path some unpleasant things will pop up – it might leave a scar, but then life is flowing, and like running water, when it stops it grows stale. Go bravely on, my friend, because each experience teaches us a lesson. Keep blasting because life is such that sometimes it is nice and sometimes it is not. – Bruce Lee.
7. Embrace Death to Appreciate Life in Every Breath.
I don’t know what is the meaning of death, but I am not afraid to die – and I go on, non-stop, going forward (with life). Even though I, Bruce Lee, may die some day without fulfilling all of my ambitions, I will have no regrets. I did what I wanted to do and what I’ve done, I’ve done with sincerity and to the best of my ability. You can’t expect much more from life. – Bruce Lee.
Human life is truly a short affair. It is better to live doing the things that you like. It is foolish to live within this dream of a world seeing unpleasantness and doing only things that you do not like. — Hagakure.
But then I come to this place of my ancestors, and I remember. Like these blossoms, we are all dying. To know life in every breath, every cup of tea, every life we take. The way of the warrior…That is Bushido. – Katsumoto, The Last Samurai
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