Hallmarks of a True Warrior
6 Traits to Bring back to our Modern Lives as Men
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. The adage "Good Times Create Weak Men. Weak Men Create Bad Times. Bad Times Create Strong Men. Strong Men Create Good Times." may definitely be in play at this point in history.
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. I know as I switched from a more physical line of work to a much more sedentary job it impacted me in a major way. It is why I started to do Obstacle Course Racing like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race, going to the gym wasn't enough. I got stronger, but my mind and muscles weren't working in harmony like they once were. 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. We have increasingly become tempted by the comforts of our lives to hold back and take the easier route because we don't see the value anymore. Everything has become too easy. Along the way we have become distracted and lost our mission, do yo know what your purpose is? Are you sure what your mission is other than to make money?
Many men have lost site of their mission or lost what it is altogether, we are lost in a haze of comfort, contentment and entertainment. The warrior stays focused on achieving their mission, overcoming anything and everything that stands between them and their directive.
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.
The best thing about obstacle course events is the obstacles, it's an adult playground! (Not that kind of adult playground, keep it clean) It gave me back something that we lost when we became adults. A physical outlet that was outside of the normal parameters of life!
There was an obstacle one year called "SNOT ROCKET" that was amazing. You had to swim out into chest deep water, then swim under a fence panel only a couple inches off the water. From there you had to swim under water into a vertical black irrigation tube, when you surfaced in the tube you were met with 2 fire houses blasting down the tube from the top 15 feet above you. There was one board mounted to the inside of the tube with cut outs just wide enough to dig a couple fingers into and the smallest amount of your toes. Of course the board was at chest hight and you were still that deep in water. Once you started the climb, you had a constant pressure wash trying to push you back down.
It was AMAZING and still one of my favorite obstacles of any race I have done (hear that TM, bring it back!) Some of you are facing some discomfort right now just reading that, confined dark spaces, water, lots of water making it difficult to get your air in several different ways. Heights get some of you and lack of upper body strength is making some of yo wonder if you could make it. It felt amazing to me to overcome it, it is why I like these events, there will be one or two that make you squirm and not just physically.
Maybe you're not ready for that yet, maybe your obstacle is speaking up in a group, maybe your obstacle is putting down that drive through and eating healthy. Whatever your challenge, you were meant to overcome it. Embrace your warrior spirit!
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.
My grandfather was a fire captain until he died of a heart attack. He was over 2 fire houses and would not take a promotion to chief. Chiefs don't get to run into fires, they organized and give direction, they are necessary but it was not what he signed up to do. He was there to take the risk and save people, because he believed in serving others above self. Not a huge stretch from his time in the Navy during WWII.
Because of this relationship I have grown up with the deepest reverence and respect for our fireman that I still have today. I have been injured in numerous ways over the years, but fire, fire is a horrible way to die or get injured. Burns are beyond painful. I have had a few really nasty ones and I have been lucky not to have worse.
Those incredible men and women face the inferno time and time again. They aren't fearless, they have just mastered their fears and chosen a higher calling. The same can be said of our LEO's and military. We call it bravery, the mastery of our fears, not the lack of fear.
You may never be asked to run into harms way, but fear isn't only found there. It is still very real without being life threatening, so take control and be brave warrior!
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. I was very blessed to be born with this inclination already part of my nature, or more likely it was just because I got hurt so often (I was a really klutzy kid, no kidding, I could find a way to get hurt just standing there)
I had to learn early on that panic was far more dangerous than it was useful if I was going to survive. I survived a close encounter with a very large water moccasin when I was 5 or 6 because I stayed calm and reacted in a calm manner much to my mother's amazement. All she could do was watch in horror as she was too far away to intercede. Yet calm saved the day.
We are all faced with stressful situations in our world on a daily basis, hopefully you aren't running into venomous and aggressive snakes literally. I have no doubt that on a figurative level you run into them way more than you would like to. There are many different stresses in the world and we seem to be surrounded with them. Learning to handle them in stride with a calm disposition will help you in substantial ways. How do you get better at this, by carefully putting yourself into controlled stressful environments like an OCR or the gym.
Our Special Forces teams train under live fire sometimes and with sim rounds against other teams and trainers. Sim rounds won't kill you, but they don't feel good and you will know you screwed up. They push to the limits in training as close to the edge as possible, because they need to know that in the real world they will maintain focus and clarity. Push yourself into safe and controlled stress and you will learn to adapt in marvelous ways.
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 old Chinese proverb its better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war is a pretty well know quote. There is a lot to be said for the concept; but it should not be that much of a stretch anyway. You should be taking care of yourself if you want to live an enjoyable, productive, full and long life. Sadly we are in the times of the "Dad Bod" See my podcast for more on that horror
It is this simple, you cannot achieve your goals and dreams on a broke and useless frame. You have one mind and one body and if you aren't not only taking care of them but nurturing them you are in a bad way. The last couple of years have taught us that the world can change rapidly and random acts of violence are becoming more and more common place. It's kind of getting crazy out there these days. Men we are meant to be able to take care of our families and that includes being a protector. You can't do that without taking care of your mind and body, so warrior up and pray you never need it.
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.
You have all heard me talk about Jocko Willink's book "Extreme Ownership" it should be required reading and it comes from a warrior who knows a thing or two about it.
It comes down to more than being a warrior, it comes down to being a man. You can refer to the video above for this one as well. If you have been around then you have heard me beat this dead horse and I will until I die, because it is that important. Take control of your power, your life and your future by taking responsibility like men real men do!