When you understand yourself and you understand the enemy you cannot be defeated. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
What is the biggest cause of failure in fitness, besides my buddies Ben & Jerry, and Mrs. Butterworth? Honestly, it has nothing to do with the details of a diet or training program. Most people know what to do. Since I’ve dedicated my life and career to this game, I’d love to make it seem more complicated in order to validate my credentials, schooling, and personal obsession. But it just isn’t so.
The “what to do” is straightforward and simple.
So why do some breeze through with ease, while others constantly get stuck in a rut?
Well, nothing can cure outright laziness and entitlement to be honest. But beyond that, if you have sincere goals and are willing to put forth an honest effort, I think it all comes down to having the right mindset and the right strategies. Some may write this off as self-help nonsense, but if you haven’t gotten to where you want to go, you have no right to criticize. In fact, you might want to throw an ear in and listen.
I can’t coach you man. You’re un-coachable. I’m un-coachable. It’s Y2K plus change baby. We’re all fucking un-coachable.
We have too many preconceived notions. We fight back with what we think we know instead of putting plans into action and seeing if they actually work.
We cling to dogma and tradition instead of having the courage to try other methods. We favor fitting in with our social circles instead of finding truth or efficiency.
We have massive egos. We are offended when someone disagrees or suggests an alternative strategy. So we tune them out. Or worse, we ask them to coach us on our own methods. I never understood that one?
We’d rather project an aura of intelligence or superiority, even in areas outside of our expertise, than be humble enough to learn and improve.
We ask too many questions – often times a disguise for fear or procrastination – instead of having faith in a plan, and embracing the process of struggle, growth, and evolution along the way.
We are good at acquiring information overload, but terrible at applying anything. We are good talkers and pontificators, but terrible doers.
It’s like this Zen story:
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?” – 101 Zen Stories
It is 2014. We don’t have cups of tea anymore. We have 84-ounce jugs. Yet our jugs of tea are still full. And although some of our teas taste like shit, we’re too proud or scared to empty that trash out and try a new one.
How do you break through that force field? You blast through it with great books.
Maybe I’m just a shitty coach? I’m fully prepared to admit that. I’ve always looked at myself as an athlete and student who enjoys sharing what has helped me, rather than a coach.
But maybe after 15 years of watching how people learn best, I’m on to something.
Regardless, here are 10 reasons why I believe books make the best teachers.
We had a little early publicity and announcement last week, but today is the “official release” of The Way of the Cancer Warrior book. The Kindle Edition is now available on Amazon here.
Honestly, I don’t really have a huge marketing and PR campaign for it. A few of my friends are doing a write-up, an interview, or are allowing me to do a guest post, in order to help spread the word (thanks my brothers and sisters, I owe you big time). I’ll let you know when those hit the Internet Airwaves.
And me? I figured the best way to help you decide whether this book is for you or not is to let you read some of it. I don’t want you buying the book because of some slick sales copy that hooked you. No gimmicks or tricks with this one. The content is just too personal to me, and the stakes are too high for those it is intended to help. I want you to grab the book only if you think it can be of some use to you, your family, or your friends.
So today I’m posting up the Intro Section. I called it The Battlefield. Next week I’ll put up some of the strategies. Sound good to you?
1. THE ATTACK
Cancer has launched an all out attack on my family. It has taken lives, caused suffering and sorrow, and dragged some of the people I love the most into the pits of hell. We’ve experienced the pain and hardship it can cause. We understand the fear, frustration, and despair that can take over your life. We know just how much this ruthless disease can take from you.
And you? The diagnosis has been made. The plan has been set. No matter how much you’d like to, you can’t change the reality of the situation. You have no choice but to dig down deep, face your challenge, and fight back. This is the only way you will reclaim what is rightfully yours, something that we all too often take for granted – a normal life. Maybe, with a newfound warrior spirit, it will become extraordinary.
You are not alone in this battle. We have a common enemy, one that transcends all cultural and social barriers. For this is a worldwide attack. If we don’t stand side-by-side in this fight, we are all doomed. We must show cancer it messed with the wrong family, with the wrong group of friends. If they dare attack us and the one’s we love, we are attacking back with ruthless aggression, with no mercy.
The battle has now entered your home. The only question is this — will you fight or will you flee?
2. HEROES FIGHT BACK
My wife’s dad battled brain cancer for years. He fought hard, inspired many, and became a legend. My sister is battling kidney and stomach cancer. Her life has been turned completely upside down. Yet she faces every challenge with a smile. Two friends crushed the initial attack of leukemia at a very young age. They’ve gone on to do great things in their lives.
In 2009, my dad was diagnosed with stage-4 throat cancer. His life was changed in an instant. He went from one day planning his upcoming fishing trip to the next day fighting for his life.
The doctors prescribed an intensive treatment protocol — daily radiation sessions combined with chemotherapy infusions. He had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach because he could no longer eat solid food.
I don’t know if hell exists, and if it does what it’s like, but watching my dad go through his treatment sure gives me a good idea. He experienced most of the general side effects associated with cancer treatment: hair loss, muscle loss, fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal distress, rashes, aches, pains, etc. He also had symptoms specific to throat cancer: painful throat sores that made it difficult to eat or swallow, loss of all sense of taste. I might as well stop there and tell you what he didn’t experience – any semblance of a normal life.
I visited my dad every weekend during his treatment. As time progressed I could see his symptoms getting worse and his body deteriorating, but nevertheless he persevered.
One weekend I showed up and I could tell something was different. As I sat across from my dad and looked into his eyes, I knew immediately that the worst thing possible was happening — his spirit was breaking. The human body can take almost anything, but if your spirit collapses, all is lost. My Dad’s words that day confirmed what my gut instinct was telling me. He told me things were so bad that he was going to quit.
My immediate responses were probably very typical of someone in that situation. I said things like, “You can’t quit. You’re halfway through. Don’t give up. I love you too much to lose you.”
I went home that night and knew I had to do something more. He wasn’t going to change his mind just because I wanted him to. Somehow, some way, he was going to have to find some personal motivation from within to persevere, and continue struggling on through this epic battle. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t step in and do it for him. As Bruce Lee once said, “there is no help but self-help”. I knew I had to find a way to help my dad make it through these tough times, to find his fight. I also knew superficial, cliché statements weren’t going to cut it.
I went home that day, stayed up all night, and wrote him the following letter straight from the heart. I apologize in advance for the frequent use of the word shit in this letter. It was an emotionally charged, shitty time:
*NOTE – Since this is a blog post, and not a book, I eliminated the letter for the sake of space.
To make a long story short, my dad didn’t quit, he persevered, he struggled, he sacrificed, he fought through it all, and he finished his treatment. Somewhere along the way, he found his reason to fight. Patients with his specific condition last on average 6 months. As I write this, it is nearly 4 years later.
What have been some of his rewards for beating the odds? He got to stand by his son’s side as the best man at his wedding. He got to help two of his other sons overcome some personal struggles, get back on their feet, see them kick butt in their careers, and know that they were going to be OK moving forward. He got to watch his favorite baseball team win the World Series. He got to spend valuable time with his grandchildren, watch them grow up, and develop their own personalities. He got to celebrate his 75th birthday with friends and family that flew in from around the world. He got to take one last trip with his wife. He got to motivate everyone else around him to face his or her own struggles in life. And in this son’s eyes, he grew from a great man into a legend that will inspire forever. None of this would have been possible if he had given up.
Unfortunately, my dad is down to clinical trial studies that have some pretty nasty side effects. He recently had emergency surgery to remove cancerous blood trapped inside his heart and lungs, and a trachea tube inserted to help him breathe. Yet he keeps putting one foot in front of the other and marching on. He wants a few more memories to take with him when he goes.
I hope you do too.
3. A NEW HERO RISES
When man comes to a conscious vital realization of those great spiritual forces within himself, and begins to use those forces in science, in business, and in life, his progress in the future will be unparalleled. – Striking Thoughts.
Most of us don’t know how strong we can be, how much we can accomplish, and how we can rise to the occasion when the stakes truly matter. Sometimes it takes life backing you into a corner to force you to look inside, find the warrior within, and let him or her out.
If you’re dealing with cancer, I don’t have to tell you about the gut-wrenching physical and emotional challenges you are currently facing: symptoms and side effects outside of your own control; the feeling that your own body is rebelling against you; the frustrating see-saw of good and bad days; wishing things were back to normal and your fate had fallen upon someone else; alternating optimism and hope with doubt and despair; the constant battle between wanting to live and feeling so sick that giving up sounds like your only true option; the fear of dying and what’s next; the fear of living but no longer being anything like you were before your diagnosis or treatment; worrying about what will happen to your family when you are gone.
All of that building up inside can either cripple you, or can be used to crush your enemy. Somehow, you must find a way to take all of that fear, doubt, and frustration; convert it into positive energy and action; and unleash it against your opponent. It is clear that cancer has underestimated the power of the human spirit in general, and yours in particular. You should not make the same mistake.
Champions, heroes, and legends are made, not born. In most superhero stories, the hero starts out as just an ordinary man or woman. He or she is thrust into battle — most of the time against his or her will — and only becomes the hero by dealing with the circumstances, overcoming extraordinary challenges, and conquering the villain.
You have the opportunity now to conquer the greatest villain this life has to offer. Are you ready to rise to the occasion and win?
4. HOW TO USE THIS BOOK IN YOUR WAR
Each strategy starts with a few quotes. As you fight, I want you to have the most powerful weapons possible at your side. I believe these are just that — simple words of wisdom that will remain with you long after this book is gone. You will be able to call upon them for motivation when you need it most. Following the quotes, we focus on the practical steps to take in order to apply them in battle.
*Quotes courtesy of Tuttle Publishing
1. Find and apply the strategies that resonate with you.
Some strategies will be relevant to your personal situation and style. Some will not. Focus only on those that connect with you personally, and help motivate you to take action, fight your fight, and win your war. Ignore the rest.
2. Write down and use your own strategies as well.
I encourage you to write down your own motivational quotes, sayings, and strategies as well. Use the resources and experiences you’ve been exposed to in your own life. There is no greater education than self-education. There is no greater help than self-help. There are no weapons more powerful than the ones that come from within.
This book is dedicated to Jerry Miyaki – the best friend, mentor, role model, warrior, hero, and dad a guy could have ever asked for.
I was going to formally release my new book — The Way of the Cancer Warrior: 34 Strategies For Your Cancer War — next Tuesday. But an article on it came out in the Huffington Post Today! Thanks for all of your help Tory.
So I guess this is the early release party. I’m always down for a good party man. And if the message is strong and you believe it can help, why wait baby? In a few emails out to some friends who were helping me test the book, I was telling them this may be the best thing I’ve done in my life up to this point. At least for personal fulfillment anyways.
The Way of the Cancer Warrior applies martial arts strategies, sports psychology principles and warrior philosophy to the battle against cancer. Each section starts with a few motivational quotes and is followed by practical application guidelines. It is a resource meant to help patients, healthcare professionals, caretakers, family members and friends collectively fight back against the greatest enemy this life has to offer. — Huff Post Books
There is no question that cancer sucks. When diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness, our society is often quick to refer to battle terminology; we go to war. Some accept and appreciate the analogy; others despise it. But if we are going to go to war with cancer, why not have some positive reinforcement?
Nate Miyaki, a fitness author, athlete, educator and the son of a heroic man who lost his battle with cancer, thinks cancer sucks too. Miyaki’s new book, The Way of the Cancer Warrior, is how he is fighting back. — Huff Post Books
If you’d like to read the article, you can check it out here: Huff Post Books: The Blog
If you’d like to know about the history behind the book, I set up a page here on the site. It has an intro video, a more in depth book description, and some warrior quotes to get you started (facing any challenge you are currently facing in life). I hope to share with you the story behind why this book was written, what it’s all about, and how I think it can help. Here’s the link: CancerWarrior Page
Alright, who brought the champagne. Lets pop the top and get this thing rolling…
As I was working on “The Way of the Cancer Warrior” project this morning, these quotes reminded me of my dad, and the fierce battle he fought against cancer. Who he was and what he did continues to inspire me every day.
Now maybe you will see these and think, dude, you need to grow up. You’re a frickin’ 35 year-old quoting warrior philosophy like a teenager, and literally thinks he is a modern day Ronin (a vagabond, a samurai with no master). Get a haircut and get a real job.
But maybe, just maybe, they will help you face some struggle or challenge you are facing today, with courage and conviction.
THE WARRIOR’S WAY
1. No matter what it is, there is nothing that cannot be done. If one manifests the determination, he can move heaven and earth as he pleases. — Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai.
2. Do not think of possible outcomes until you have finished with your battle. To do so is foolish and takes your mind off the primary objective, which is to destroy the enemy. ~Miyamoto Musashi
3. The power of faith – thoughts backed by faith will overcome all obstacles…Faith makes it possible to achieve that which man’s mind can conceive and believe. It is a well known fact that one comes, finally, to believe whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement be true or false…Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind. ~Bruce Lee
4. This will be accomplished if only courage is fixed in one’s heart. If one’s sword is broken, he will strike with his hands. If his hands are cut off, he will press the enemy down with his shoulders. If his shoulders are cut away, he will bite through ten or fifteen enemy necks with his teeth. Courage is such a thing. — Hagakure: Book of the Samurai.
5. The warrior does not depend on anything but himself to beat the enemy… Only through a constant search from within, based on one’s own lifestyle, can the truth be known. It is absolutely a personal thing. Commercialism does nothing to enhance the reality of truth. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
6. Do not acknowledge the possibility that the enemy is stronger than you are. Do not accept the possibility that the enemy is smarter than you are in any way whatsoever…The Way of the warrior does not permit you to accept an inferior position to anything. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
7. Flexibility is a very important attitude. Things will not always go your way regardless of your practice and your attempts to define your own existence…You attack with a technique and it does not work. You try it again and it still does not work. Switch! You must never rely on only one particular attitude to get a job done. The enemy may be prepared for this technique in a way that you may not have anticipated, so it is indeed foolish to try to continue with it. ~Miyamoto Musashi
8. By thinking you must complete the job you will run out of time. By considering things like how many men the enemy has, time piles up; in the end you will give up. No matter if the enemy has thousands of men, there is fulfillment in simply standing them off and being determined to cut them all down, starting from one end. You will finish the greater part of it. – Hagakure: Book of the Samurai
9. The only shame in dying incorrectly is to die a stupid and meaningless death. To die as a warrior means to have crossed swords and either won or lost without any consideration for winning or losing. ~Miyamoto Musashi
10. If a retainer will just think about what he is to do for the day at hand, he will be able to do anything. If it is a single day’s work, one should be able to put up with it. Tomorrow, too, is but a single day. — Hagakure.
Thanks pops for showing me Your Way. I miss you man…