Cultivate the Warrior Ethos: Knowledge, Focus, Success

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
4 min read
In order to become a person of knowledge one must be a warrior.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

The only person you should ever compete with is yourself. The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. Outdo your past, not other people. Comparing, competing and keeping up with the Joneses only serves to make us dissatisfied and unhappy.

I have been pushing myself to become the best me I can. Each day I strive to improve just a little bit. I try not to compare myself to others but to my former self. Keeping a diary/journal has been helpful in keeping track of my former selves in order to gauge growth.

This is the path of the spiritual warrior.

Here are some thoughts on this process and where I have found encouragement and inspiration.

To be successful one needs to acquire knowledge.

To paraphrase Carlos Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan,

In order to become a person of knowledge one must be a warrior.

What is a Warrior?

a warrior can be anyone who fights the good fight in any arena of life

We usually think of a warrior as a brave or experienced soldier or fighter. Although warrior is linked with someone engaged in war or physical combat, a warrior is anyone who fights the good fight in any arena of life, whether politically, on the job, or within oneself. A spiritual warrior is a person who challenges the phantoms of fear, lies, false beliefs, and judgments that create suffering and unhappiness in their life.

If we challenge our own status quo with the intention of becoming a better us, then we are taking on the mantel of warrior.

Here is more from Don Juan on what it means to be a warrior:

Warriors have an ulterior purpose for their acts, which has
nothing to do with personal gain. The average person acts only if
there is a chance for profit. Warriors act not for profit, but for
the spirit.

A warrior must cultivate the feeling that they have everything
needed for the extravagant journey that is his life. What counts
for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient,
self-explanatory and complete.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
― Epictetus

Being a warrior prepares us for life as an adventurous journey. If we approach our choices with this mindset, we will make growth-based decisions instead of fear-based decisions. We will end up with fewer regrets, deeper experiences and richer memories. We will craft a life well suited to our needs.

Bruce Lee said:

The successful warrior is the average person, with laser-like focus.

So to become a person of knowledge, one must be a warrior. And to be a warrior, one must cultivate deep focus.

cultivate deep focus

Here is what Steve Jobs had to say about focus:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

To become focused we need to get good at saying no. This intentional removal is known as Via Negativa. You Create yourself by defining what you are not.

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing left to take away.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Via Negativa

To be successful one needs to acquire knowledge.

Warren Buffett, when asked about the key to success, pointed to a stack of books and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”

Cultivate your path of acquiring knowledge. With every encounter you have, ask yourself what can this person teach me. And also what can I impart to them that will help them on their journey.

In order to follow the course of your life, you must let it flow.

Mindfully peel away the superficial, extraneous and the urgent, and focus on the important. Then we can aggressively pursue the important stuff we are focused on.

May the road rise to meet you.

Be a Warrior

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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