If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles – Sun Tzu
It is easy to sit back and tell yourself and others “what is”, while it is another thing to go out of your comfort zone in order to know your truth. On a daily basis I am inspired by the few who choose to confront the fears that reside beneath our skin in order to pursue their own greatness by facing and knowing our true self that hides behind the mask or persona we have created. We are all victim to this rationale as it serves as a method of preservation, physically and emotionally, by not showing weakness or mortality we might be more accepted by our peers, or so we think. Beneath the surface of every human, so magnificent in appearance, lies the same beautiful soul that is plagued by the earthly desires, flaws, insecurities, and temptations we are no strangers to. “We are all human”, as the saying goes. The difference lies in the fact that some possess a greater sense of the principles needed to deal with the negative emotions we all face like greed, jealously, anger, hate, slothfulness, deceit, along with the challenges that we are certain to encounter through this life. Philosophically speaking it is fair to say that over the course of our life we each face an equal enough number of opportunities to choose between good or evil, decisions that will ultimately spell our fate. In the book Bushido, based on the Hagakure by Tsunetomo Yamamoto, the opening line communicates , “I have found the essence of bushido: to die!”. What this means to me and as the book further elaborates is that we are constantly presented with two choices in life, a fork in the path if you will, one being comfort and life (cowardice) and the other being death (the right thing). The aim of the bushido principles was to develop discipline within the samurai in order to better serve the community, those around them and most of all themselves. Those who lacked such principles were the infamous Ronin (masterless samurai), who acted on emotion and impulses, satisfying their carnal wishes and desires. While choosing death over life is a very black and white perspective it delivers an advantage to anyone attempting to better themselves and foster a higher level of discipline within. It is 4:00 a.m. and the alarm goes off… Hit snooze or “choose death”? You realize someone accidentally gave you $100 instead of $20, keep it and accept your karma or choose death? Time to choose death and do your cardio or push it back until tomorrow? While it may sound extreme, I find it to be an ingenious and clever compass to guide me in the right direction. Oftentimes I am tempted to do the easy thing, the thing that serves me best, ignoring the principles of honor and what will likely add to my legacy or future in exchange for the short-lived bliss that accompanies choosing comfort over sacrifice. If life is about improving and changing yourself to ultimately find your happiness and live your best life, I hope you too find it within yourself to choose death.