Ever wonder about drive or ambition? What is it? And what does it look like in the lives of motivated world shapers?
In the modern world we have a few stereotypes of what it means to be macho – or to be a warrior. It typically has a somewhat negative connotation as being overly aggressive, domineering and insensitive. The warrior also has positive attributes of being decisive, clear-headed and ready to take action. Not to mention, a strong warrior type helps sex appeal to the other gender!
Or you can have the opposite: a wimp – man who can’t decide on his mission and holds back on living his life. You can sense the dis-ease with this situation.
Of course, these are only the extreme cases on the polarity spectrum.
So, we have to make a choice on what type of life that we’d like to live – a life we can be proud of or a life we look back on and think we didn’t give it our best effort.
This article is about a great debate within the psyche of both males and females.
I’m going to explain three main points:
1) A common trait I see in many people these days.
2) The importance of being a warrior and the possibility of being a balanced warrior.
3) The roots and direction of the warrior spirit.
1) Is the warrior aspect alive in today’s culture?
I think today we can see the full range of the warrior spirit. These three aspects that follow are not only the dominant traits of one person, but are ever-shifting behaviors within ourselves.
First, we can find the aggressive, domineering types mostly associated with men in the business world or the construction world – any situation where money takes precedence. Here we see men who think that being stronger, faster, and smarter than the guy next to him will win him victory. This mindset is constantly comparing and sizing others up. Emotions and too much thinking are considered inferior and should be avoided. Comparing numbers, gaining progress and status, and making sure everyone is working hard are their main objectives. It is a interminable game of one-up-manship.
We can all imagine the stereotype of a guy in a fraternity who excessively works out, talks about his “conquests” with girls, and never really seems genuine. This is an imbalanced warrior mode. Maybe someday he’ll even himself out.
I’ve also experienced in the construction world men who come storming into the office and start blaming others for things they haven’t spent the time to investigate. In this instance a little softening and yielding to learn more is beneficial.
Second, we have many people out there, again both men and women, who control their warrior aspects very well. These are the strong personalities who know when to show their compassion. They walk upright and confident with shoulders back and chest out but their hands are open, soft and their gaze is full of understanding. How do they achieve such a masterful poise?
These are the men and women who are driven towards a goal larger than themselves. and are relentlessly driven to achieve it, provided it benefits others.
Third, we can see the weak side; the individual who has not yet found his personal power. This person is wrought with indecision and confusion regarding his future or his goals. He writhes at the question, “What do you want?”, for he is uncertain of even where he stands. This person is the coward, the passive pole of the warrior’s aspects. He allows others to push him around, often to the brink of lashing out. It may be that he doesn’t know when to quit an impossible relationship, a circle of friends, or a frustrating job.
2) The Warrior aspect plays an integral role in a human life. It is the driver for change, for creating something in this world more worthwhile. It is the piece of us that defends our self-identity and argues for beliefs. It is a necessary part of us. If we were without it, we would simply flop over under the pressure of being alive.
It is possible to achieve a balance with this energy. It is tricky, but it can be done with alertness and vigilance of one’s own behavior – not being overly aggressive, but not being a pushover.
A balanced warrior is clear-headed and does not muddle their goals with too much thought. Their strategies are cohesive, well-integrated, and precise. They are decisive when confronted with new situations. They pause, analyze, identify, attack and pause again. This is the samurai spirit. This is an achieving machine that is ready to act and never winces at a chance to show himself. Self-assured but not arrogant he goes into the world thoroughly knowing his skills. His aggressiveness is a stance towards life that rouses, energizes and motivates.
How does this balanced warrior know what aggresiveness is appropriate under the circumstances? He knows through clear thinking, through discernment. Constant alertness.
The warrior never sleeps through life! He know how to focus his body and mind.
To quote from the book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover:
“If we are accessing the Warrior appropriately, we will be energetic, decisive, courageous, enduring, persevering, and loyal to some greater good beyond our own personal gain…If we are accessing the Warrior in the right way, we will, at the same time be ‘detached’, warm, compassionate, appreciative, and generative.”
3) The self-assured, strong standing Warrior must be rooted. But rooted in what? Perhaps surprisingly, it is in love.
The Warrior must have a great amount of self-love. A love that is unhindered by past failures or by other’s thoughts about him. Through a rigorous process of reflection and determined practice the Warrior has uprooted all the psychological defects that can emerge as a human grows into adulthood. By removing past hurts, a sense of self-love permeates through his actions. These actions have the integrity of confidence and purpose.
In other words, the Warrior does not have a scared child still within him.
Love within and love without are the staples to the Warrior’s character. All the aggressive, decisiveness must be directed towards a purpose. That purpose is clearly calculated to benefit something bigger than one’s self, to be of outer love.
Whether, it be for the king, the country, the state, or the family, the Warrior holds himself to a greater standard and envisions his work being of service to the greater good.
This reminds me of a quote from Che Guevara, a great personification of the Warrior: “the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.”
So go on! Find your balance of dominance vs submissiveness, ambition vs. yielding, sternness vs compassion, attachment vs. detachment. Go and find your mission! Find what it is that you want to give back to the world.
Understand your roots so you can grow tall and bear fruit!
This is a whole lifetime of inner work, but the results are of the potential to be an outstanding human being. A person who shares the heartaches of the world and yet overcomes strife to master his world.
This is a man who can look back on his life and say “I’ve done all I could do.”