Simply, this is an approach to life that might resemble the approach we imagine a warrior would have taken. This is a way of conducting yourself, of approaching a problem and of looking after your mental and physical needs that requires a warrior’s grit and self-control. This is a way of life that has been largely forgotten in our modern society and which yet has more relevance than every before today. In this report, we are going to take a closer look at what is meant by the term ‘warrior mindset’ and we are going to prescribe the necessary training, steps and processes necessary to come closer to living life like a true warrior.
Defining the Warrior The warrior is someone that is able to get what they want, accomplish great things and inspire others. This is someone that is strong in both body and mind and that is able to serve a higher purpose without giving in to their baser urges.
The warrior is not someone who fights and brawls and is about showing off their ego, but rather someone who exhibits incredible self control and restraint.
The warrior is in service of a cause that is greater than themselves – whether that means they have a shogun or a king, or it means they are working toward a career, toward changing the world or just looking after their family.
In service of this higher cause, the warrior is able to forego the needs and wants of their body. They are not slave to their baser impulses and desires but rather are able to forget the right path ahead.
The warrior doesn’t come home after a long day at work and crash out on the sofa while eating cake: they continue to train and hone their body, or they work toward their goals/providing for their family.
The warrior doesn’t blame others, let themselves go, get in a panic, stress themselves out… the warrior is stoic, calm and poised at all times.
The warrior simply takes the simplest path toward accomplishing the victory they need. They make sacrifices to build toward a better future for themselves and the ones they love.
The warrior is respected. They are leaders. They are heroes.
And this couldn’t be further from what many of us are today.
Many of us today are weak. Weak in our bodies because we have let ourselves become soft (thanks in no small part to all of the modern conveniences that surround us) and weak in our resolve because we are so used to getting what we want so quickly.
Many of us struggle to make simple decisions like what to eat for dinner, let alone making big decisions like what to with our careers.
Many of us are too cowardice to solve the problems we have, or to take big risks that might lead to a better future. Many of us will assign blame to others to avoid ‘getting into trouble’. We’ll make ourselves look better because we’re so concerned with the opinions of others.
Part of this is due to our domestication over time. Life simply has become too easy.
But a lot of it goes further than this. Many of us see sides to ourselves – impulsive, weak and demotivated sides – that are hard to live with.
You won’t get over this by simply wishing it were so. Your only option is to get tough. To make the decision to improve, to grow and to get stronger. To adopt the warrior mindset. To fight!
This might sound like a surprise but one of the first and best things you can do to start moving toward the warrior’s mindset is to declutter. Try reading the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo if you need inspiration.
Your objective is not to tidy though, but rather to throw out as much as you can. To start living with less.
The simple reason for this? Your stuff is making you weak.
Having lots of things means having more to lose. If you have a large house packed with beautiful items, then that means you’re going to need more money in order to afford those things. That means you’ll need a certain job. That means you’ll need to dedicate a certain amount of your time and energy to that job.
And it means that losing your job or having a big expense gives you a huge amount to lose.
When you have lots of stuff, you become spoiled. Having a TV with 5,000 channels means you become soft and accustomed to being entertained. You forget how to calm your mind and enjoy your own company.
Having a ‘Lazy Boy’ arm chair with reclining back and sixteen different massage settings means you’ll struggle to make do with a hard bed in a cold bedroom.
In other words, the more you get used to having lots, the harder it will become to live with less.
And that means you’ll struggle to make those hard choices. You’ll struggle to put your own comfort to one side while you focus on doing what’s right for your family or what’s necessary for your career.
Finally, having lots of stuff actually makes you less free. Not only does it clutter your mind and distract you, but it also means you could never just up and leave, or move home on a whim. Your own choices are now being dictated by all your ‘stuff’.
Even the simple fact that having more stuff means you have more stuff to clean and tidy, means you’ll have less time and energy to dedicate to the things that really matter to you.
I’m not saying that you need to throw out all your possessions and live your life as a monk. But learn to ‘need’ things less. Learn to stop spending money in places you don’t need it. And become less reliant on the things you have. Create a more minimal décor and a more minimal mindset and you will be more closely approaching the mentality of the warrior.
One of the best philosophies for any warrior – and one that I highly recommend looking into – is stoicism. And one of the greatest stoics of all time, Seneca, had this to say on the subject of minimalism:
“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: is this the condition that I feared?”
Watch any number of films about warriors or great heroes and you will find that they often start with the character going into exile. They go travelling and they live with very little, just as Seneca recommended.
They will often spend this time learning from masters and going through training. This is seen in the film Batman Begins for example: an origin story detailing one of fiction’s favorite warriors.
This is something that we can all benefit from. A great way to learn to live with less is to travel and to see the world – all while living from just a backpack and making do without creature comforts. What you’ll find is that you can make do with far less than you thought, and that your resourcefulness is often going to see you through the situations that you thought were impossible. Simple things like a cup of coffee can be nearly life changing when you’ve become used to being cold, tired and hungry.
Going backpacking will further help you to open your mind, to see other cultures and to see the conditions in which some other people live. This broader context and appreciation will help you to make better decisions yourself.
Take Cold Showers
One more way to help start to develop the mindset of a true warrior is to take cold showers. This sounds like a very simple step, but the difference it makes can be profound. The reason for this is that a cold shower is so difficult to face, especially when you’re tired or you’ve just woken up. This is the last thing your body will want and thus it takes a huge amount of discipline to step under that cold water and to keep yourself there.
Not only that, but once again, you are teaching yourself to make do with conditions that feel less than perfect.
In the wild, we would have lived outside in the cold. Our only way to wash would have been to bathe in freezing cold rivers and waterfalls. Today we are once again spoiled.
Taking cold showers is one way to become a little less domesticated and to start to learn to push against your impulses and desires. Once you can do this, you can do the same thing when it comes to exercising despite being tired, working despite feeling unmotivated and eating healthy food instead of fattening food.
In other words, you learn the discipline necessary to take the noble path, rather than the easy one.
Oh, and as an added bonus, cold showers are actually very good for you. Not only will they increase your wakefulness first thing in the morning and boost blood flow to the brain, they will also strengthen the heart, improve circulation and even enhance testosterone and sperm count.
Oh, and later on we’ll see that you’re also going to be learning meditation. Cold showers are a perfect opportunity to practice mental focus. Did you know that some people can run naked through snowy mountains and keep their body temperature up simply with the power of their concentration?
If you follow all this advice, then with time you should learn to be able to take control of your emotions and to do the things you don’t want to do, but that need doing.
But there’s more to the warrior mindset than this.
Also important, is being able to suppress your emotions and your desires in other ways: for example, when there’s a crisis and it’s your job to respond and to help make sure everyone is safe and looked after.
Imagine that a friend at a party has fainted and hit their head on the way down. Or imagine that you’ve arrived home to find the home has been broken into… what do you do then?
We’ll get to that in a moment, but actually, many of us will even struggle to make decisive and final decisions in much less important scenarios.
For example, you may have at some point been at the grocers when your partner asked you wanted for dinner.
You say, ‘I don’t know’ and they say, ‘well make a decision!’.
Your answer to this is: ‘why don’t you make a decision??’.
While it might be an amusing couple’s dispute, it’s also a sign of weakness once more. The inability to make even small decisions suggests that you don’t have an opinion, or you’re too scared to say it.
This approach can lose you the respect of others, it makes a poor leader and in more serious situations it could lead to an inaction that causes others to become harmed.
So, what do you do?
Recognizing the Issue
The first thing to do is to recognize why we sometimes hesitate on decisions to begin with. The simple answer is that we’re scared of the consequences: we’re scared of what might happen if we don’t make the right choice.
Thus, we end up sitting on the fence not committing – and potentially making matters even worse through our inaction.
So, with that in mind then, what is the solution?
One answer would be to always ensure you made the right decision: to be 100% sure in your course of action.
But this can never happen. In fact, if you are 100% sure of your course of action, chances are that you haven’t thought it through properly.
So, what can you do instead?
Answer: you accept that you are going to get things wrong.
In keeping with Stoic philosophy, the best approach you can take is to acknowledge that sometimes your course of action or your decision will be wrong. Sometimes, you will make mistakes and that will leave people unhappy with you.
This is true even in small scenarios. Perhaps the reason you struggle to pick dinner is that you don’t want to make your wife or husband unhappy by choosing the wrong meal.
And you might struggle to act in case of someone fainting for fear of it being the wrong thing. Do you call an ambulance and risk wasting their time?
Or do you not call the ambulance and risk dooming your friend or relative?
Well if you don’t make a decision then nothing is going to happen and people will simply panic.
So, to learn to make decisions quickly and with finality, you need to learn to be willing to accept the consequences. Quickly run through the probably outcomes of the options available, make a choice and trust your gut. Stick with this choice and if you end up with egg on your face later on… then at least you tried. At least you did something. And you will deal with that mistake when it comes.
You can’t go through life avoiding responsibility and not making decisions. If you want to be successful, you need to be willing to make mistakes. You need to be willing to be unpopular. This is what makes you an adult.
And this same acceptance that sometimes things go wrong, that sometimes you must embrace the possibility of failure, is what will allow you to take risks, to bring struggles to an early conclusion and to do what needs to be done.
How to Stay Calm When Everyone Else is Panicking
What you also need to be able to do is to stay calm when everyone else is panicking.
The warrior’s mindset is one that allows calm reflection and swift action.
So how do you reach this state?
The first step is to take a step back and to breathe. When we are anxious, often our first impulse is to take immediate action – to rush into a solution. Couple this with an inability to make decisions and you end up with ‘flapping’ – which simply makes everyone else more panicked.
Not only that, the but the rush of adrenaline and norepinephrine that comes from acute stress actually impairs your ability to make decisions. This actually suppresses the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is what we use for decision making and long-term planning.
So instead, take a moment to step back. Your aim is to detach from your emotional response and to respond with calm logic.
Imagine yourself as an outsider, solving the situation like a puzzle with no emotional detachment.
And use correct belly breathing to engage your parasympathetic nervous system and to get your heart rate to lower itself again.
The Best Solution
Sun Tsu wrote that:
He similarly explained how no nation benefits from prolonged warfare. In other words, it is better to avoid conflict or stress wherever possible. Where impossible, it is better to resolve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.
You must not just control emotions such as fear, panic and desire to have a warrior mindset: even more important is to suppress anger and the need for revenge. You might think that a warrior would be someone constantly looking for a fight. This could not be further from the truth: the warrior is someone who is looking to avoid conflict and to seek the calmest and most efficient resolution to any situation. Fighting, stress, arguing… these things cost resources and they inevitably cause collateral damage. Stay calm and find a peaceful solution whenever one is available.
Meditation is Mandatory
If you want to develop a warrior mindset, to be cool, calm and decisive – then meditation is non-optional. Meditation is one of the most powerful tools for changing the way you approach situations, for helping you to stay calm and for letting you detach from your emotional impulses.
This will also drastically improve your ability to concentrate and to stay disciplined while avoiding temptation. After all, meditation is simply the practice of disciplined concentration: of avoiding distracting thoughts. Distracting thoughts lead to distracting and destructive behaviors.
Finally, if you want to adopt a true warrior’s mindset, then you need to know your goal.
In the short term , this means knowing what the best outcome in a situation is and what the fastest way to reach that is. I recommend reading about ‘functional fixedness’ to enhance your resourcefulness (in short, think of a hammer not as a hammer, but as a hammer, a weapon, a lever, metal and wood) and then look at how you can use the resources available to you to ensure the best outcome.
In the long term, it means having that end goal, that purpose and that mission statement. Warriors throughout history served a cause higher than themselves. This is what allowed them to make sacrifices, to endure cold and to work towards something truly great.
And if you want to do the same – if you want to coax the fire within in order to gain the same unstoppable determination and discipline – then you need to know what the cause you’re fighting for is.
Do you want to look after your family? Do you want to make the world a greener place?
Or do you want to progress your career?
Whatever the case, know your calling and keep that motivation in mind when you’re waking up early, taking cold showers and ignoring the urge to eat cake.
This is what will give you the strength and determination to become something more
– to become a warrior!