The Warrior in The Garden 2
What a warrior needs to know within and without.by Alberto Mella A man was running late to a very important business meeting when his car stalled. He couldn’t believe his luck! This appointment with a top business executive was going to change his life and his car decides to do this! While standing, looking befuddled at his car’s engine compartment, another man walks by, stops, and looks at the engine. After a few seconds of looking around the engine, he tells the owner of the vehicle that he can fix the car “right now” for $100. The man considered his options, there weren’t many; he had to make that meeting! So he agreed. The other man then selected a small hose from the engine, plucked it out, blew on it, and set it back in place. He then told the owner of the vehicle to start the car. The car started as if it had never stalled in the first place. When the man came over to collect his $100, the driver said "I can’t believe it! $100 to blowing on a hose?" The other man answered "No! For knowing which hose to blow".
WithinKnowledge is defined as the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. I am not going to send you on a quest to find a sacred manuscript or to talk to the guru in the cave. Nor will I send you to a university to get doctoral degrees. But it is imperative that every warrior understands and pursues knowledge about two subjects. And the first one is yourself. You might think I’m being unfair here, after all Buddhist monks spend a lifetime trying to figure this one out, and you should too. Knowledge of oneself will guarantee victory more often than not.
I’m not asking that you become a Buddhist monk or that you practice an alternate religion. What I am asking is that you open yourself to the idea that YOU are a very complex subject-matter which you need to understand. I will help you achieve this goal with something so simple that you might say "why didn’t I think about this before?" And yet, it is the hardest thing you will ever accomplish in your life. Ready? Here it is: Never Lie to Yourself.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither yourself nor the enemy, you will succumb in every battle” –Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
Why are you quick to anger? Why are you obsessive? Impulsive? Self-serving? What gives you pity? What makes you altruistic?Humans run towards pleasure and away from pain. So we lie and tell ourselves stories all the time to achieve this. Especially if doing so will provide us with that jolt of happiness and doing the opposite would require some effort. This is why the first step for dealing with any addiction is to admit you have a problem (stop lying to yourself). Would being honest with yourself bring about a fantastic transformation in which you automatically start doing the right things? I don’t know. But what it will do for sure is start you on a journey of self-discovery and bring you face to face with your weaknesses and strengths; With those things you are lacking and those which you have in abundance. Do you make excuses for being late or are you really bad at time management? When in the presence of someone you perceive as more successful than you, do you feel jealousy? Envy? Admiration? There is no wrong answer to these questions, but by answering honestly, you can put a name to your feelings. You need to know the kind of snake that bit you so that you can use the correct antidote for its venom. You need to be able to put yourself in a position to recognize what bothers you and why in order to deal with it effectively. Once you recognize there’s a hole in your armor, you know exactly what to fix and what kind of knowledge to gather to mend that gap.
WithoutThe second subject a warrior should know well is its enemy. What or who is your enemy? Do you have an addiction? How well do you know the thing you are addicted to (gambling, alcohol, sugar, etc.)? It is a simple thing to get a book and acquire some working knowledge on any subject. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, this information is at our fingertips (search for facts, not opinions). Knowing what ails you is the only way to defeat it. What if the enemy is a person? You need to know what gives that person an edge over you. If it is a salesperson; what do you know about sales? Learn something about sales. A quick read about the subject will aid you in understanding a salesperson's frame of mind. When it comes to your boss or a person you manage, are you being antagonized personally or professionally? If it is personal, chances are very high that he/she is losing a personal battle and you just happen to be collateral damage. Understand that it is not You they are fighting against and get out of the way. However, if cornered, fight back and let them know that THEIR personal circumstances are not YOURS to deal with. Peace is the ultimate goal. If it is professional, then become the subject matter expert in your field so that you can argue the point on equal footing. In other words, know what you are talking about. Speak with intelligence behind your words. Soon enough you will find support amongst your peers and you won’t have to fight alone.
And last but not least. What if it is a person you love? A spouse, family member, or best friend? This should be the easiest fight, right? Don’t we know this "enemy" from top to bottom? We love them, we hang out and live with them. Sometimes we know them better that we know ourselves. However, for most people, this fight is the hardest. If we know all there is to know about these people (or most of it), then why is it so hard? Because our combat strategy is to point out to them their faults or to focus on their faults. That will immediately make them erect a barrier and provoke a shower of invectives directed your way. It will seldom yield good results. To fight this battle, know and understand yourself first and love them. They will see themselves like you see them and open themselves to your advice. Or you will understand that they simply need of your presence, and then your silence will hold more power than any word. There’s an agreeable conclusion. Remember that the goal of the Warrior in the Garden is peace. If you cannot achieve peace with the people that you love and who love you, then go back to knowing and loving yourself. On my next post, I’ll discuss skills. Let’s start acquiring and sharpening some weapons. In the meantime, find yourself a mirror and repeat this self-affirmation "Don’t lie to yourself. Your search for knowledge starts here."
Remember that the goal of the Warrior in the Garden is peace. If you cannot achieve peace with the people that you love and who love you, then go back to knowing and loving yourself.
Alberto Mella is an award-winning speaker characterized for his inspiring message, dynamic and humorous presentation style. Alberto is an Army veteran and has been a martial arts practitioner for the past three decades. email@example.com
Photo Credits: Warrior In Full, by Michael Davis-Burchat, Licensed under CC by 2.0