At the age of 13 Musashi challenged an older samurai to a duel. His uncle, hearing the news, scurried to the agreed location and began to beg for his nephew’s life.
Ignoring the commotion, Musashi engaged his opponent and knocked him from his feet, before beating him to death.
This victory marked the beginning of a violent but prosperous career, during which Musashi fought over 60 duels. He won all of them. Later in life, he wrote The Book of Five Rings, a text that details his tactics, philosophies, and strategies. The following five quotes are excerpts from this masterpiece. I deeply resonate with all of them.
1. “There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, richer, stronger, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
2. “In battle, if you you make your opponent flinch, you have already won.”
3. “Do not regret what you have done”
4. “All men are the same except for their belief in their own selves, regardless of what others may think of them”
5. “Do nothing which is of no use.”
My favorite Miyamoto Mushashi quote is “accept everything just the way it is.” This is deep, and people who do not understand it will be compelled to quickly gloss over it, or argue with it. They will argue that you should never accept something you do not like, for example.
But what “is” — by definition — already is. It already exists.
Too many people are distracted by a past they cannot change, or unrealized dreams of a hopeful future which has not yet occurred. Everything that is real, exists at this moment. Anything that does not exist at this moment, is not real. To refuse to accept “what is” — the reality of this moment — is a futile struggle against reality that you cannot win.
The values of self improvement, independence, forward-thinking, and productivity are all communicated through these passages. However, confidence and self-assurance undoubtedly stand out as Musashi’s most prominent ideals. And I agree. The majority of problems people face today can be traced back to a lack of belief in one’s self.
So heed these wise words, and proceed to crush your life, and your enemies – from within, but without regret.
“The Obstacle Is The Path”
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