In my efforts to discover what the core virtues and characteristics of a warrior are, I have interviewed 76 professional protectors who have walked the talk. They have come from various fields; military of all branches and specialties, police officers of all ranks and positions, authors, scientists, writers, etc.
If these interviews have taught me anything it is that virtue is hard to put into words. We all recognize it when we see it, but few can succinctly capture it and translate that action into language. This frustrates the writer in me but it also pleases the protector in me. It pleases the protector in me because it has served to remind me that action and behavior trump words and thoughts. In the real world, choosing to be a protector means taking some actions and upgrading some behaviors to get real results - i.e.: the preservation of life.
The reason I am writing this blog is simply to remind you to take action. Go out and DO something about making your world a little safer. No amount of intention, thinking, talking or writing will make you safer unless you finally put something into practice.
The problem with virtue I have discovered is that it must be done, performed. There is no shortcut. If there is no action, there is no virtue. In other words, you are not just how you feel or how you think, you are as you do.
Just as no amount of thinking about exercise will give you the benefits of exercise, no amount of thinking of virtue will give you the benefits of virtue. It must be done, performed.
Perhaps you want to know how to be a virtuous person? Well my friend, the answer is simple, do the thing you desire to be. If you wish to be more patient, the next time something is annoying you, focus on bearing it patiently. If you desire to be more courageous, the next time an opportunity arises that requires courage, seize that opportunity.
Just as when you first start lifting weights, start small. The first squat is painful, difficult, and takes much effort. But if you are diligent, over time, that squat will become easier and easier. Suddenly you are squatting with a barbell, then you are adding weights to that barbell - if you remain diligent and faithful in your action.
Virtue is the same my fellow warrior. Do not be discouraged in your early application. For you will have much inertia to overcome and your virtue "muscles" may be weak. Start with something small, something that can be an easy victory for you. Success is more important in the beginning than anything else. Early success creates momentum. Momentum creates follow-through and perseverance. Perseverance leads to an upgraded life and character.
An important lesson I was taught was 'consistency is key'. I had to learn this the hard way. I used to think that if I was smart enough, I could skip steps. That I could jump ahead or cut through the path of character & virtue. But I was wrong. Anyone can practice virtue for a short, sporadic burst. An acute case that passes as quickly as it arose. I do not want to be like this and I don't believe you do either. I believe you want long-lasting change, you want to be a better person. Then start being virtuous now.
It is written in a very wise book that if you are faithful in the little things, you will be given greater things to be faithful over. Virtue is like that. Work diligently in the little things of your character, and soon, you will be given more to manage.
Get out of your head and start doing. A warrior takes action. Your actions will increase or decrease virtue. How your virtues increase or decrease will determine your character.
Live in the battleground my friend,
Alexander Lanshe Sensei
Welcome to the Anatomy of a Warrior Blog!
National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.