I’ve been talking about the concept of “winners and warriors” for some time now, and it’s high time for me to better describe what these terms mean within the context of what I teach. You can, I hope, imagine that my definition of “winner” and “warrior” vary somewhat from the view held by popular culture.
To start, I’d ask you – what does it mean to be a winner?
For me, being a winner means living life going forward without regret, making meaning in my daily walk (faith, family, work, and leisure time), finding the courage to live with integrity, and in aligning my words, deeds, and thoughts with my deeply held core values. Ay some level, this means living my ETH0S – a subject for another day. Nothing could be simpler, and nothing could be harder.
This definition of a “winner” is the most powerful version you will ever encounter, because implicit in this definition is the reality that you are playing two opposite roles – both (1) performing and (2) assessing your performance.
In this process, it’s easy to look away, excuse yourself, tell yourself stories that bare little connection to reality, and/or rationalize about your life and your performance. The process can become highly egoic and detached from any semblance of truth.
After all, who’s going to call you out? This entire process, no matter how shallow or significant, is internal, private, and entirely confidential. In short, nobody else knows how short you’ve fallen from the person you secretly long to be. No one will learn about your deep regret or your diminishing moral compass – perhaps given away in a trade for an easier path in life or a host of short-term, ethically questionable solutions.
No one will know but you. That’s what makes this so very difficult. It’s just you.
So, my question becomes – what will you do with this knowledge? Will you look away and pretend it isn’t doesn’t matter, or will you demand more from yourself?It’s ironic how easy it is to ignore what I call “the fight of your life.” You know, the one you’re currently losing. Don’t look away. Square up and take a good long look; there’s still time for a reclamation, but only if you can identify the danger and commit to addressing it (as we all say in our Krav training). Winners choose the right battles (the ones that matter most), and win by being focused, determined, and dedicated to service of the cause with a warrior’s heart.
As for being a “warrior”, I’d next ask you – what does it means to be a warrior?
Even in this simple question, responses vary widely. As you think of your answer, consider that warriors (unlike a fighter) engage in the advocacy of those things they serve. Throughout history, warriors have prepared for, trained, and waged war in the service of something outside themselves. That’s significant, because my definition of warrior starts with another question – what do you serve?
If the answer to my service question is “yourself”, you’re a long way away from the definition I’m going to offer here. But, don’t be discouraged; there’s still a spark left in you. And, it’s time to build a raging fire with a warrior’s spirit.
Specifically, warriors are those among us who (1) know what they believe, (2) live in honor of those things (ideas, concepts, people, and perhaps even constructs), and (3) defend those beliefs with courage and integrity. Warriors live authentically, courageously, and in alignment to what I call “the sacred things.”
If you can be entirely honest with yourself about service – or even worship – you may find that you serve the things of this world in a very dangerous way. Your service to, worship of, addiction to, and obsession with the things of this world may also be the vary things that are stealing meaning and joy from your life.
Have you been replacing the good things of life with the shiny and deceptive things of the world – those things that lead to a desolate place where the excitement of the next new thing or hit or victory gives way to the reality of emptiness – even nothingness? Stop working towards and obsessing about the next new thing. This leads to nowhere and nothing. You know this. You have lived this. Don’t double down only to find the same emptiness. Start searching elsewhere now, before you come to the end of yourself. Resolve to be a warrior.
To be a warrior, we all must first discover and commit to serving our “sacred things”. What will you serve with unselfish devotion? What do you have in your life worth battling for and serving? These are complex questions. The answers will require significant consideration and contemplation. If you decide to seek out and discover the answers, know that you are walking a warrior’s path.
Unplug from the world, consider how you can be a winner, and what you will serve as a warrior. Know that there is more to life, and there is more to you than you have ever considered.
A BATTLE PLAN
To start, research, explore, and decide if you are (1) a cosmic accident spinning in a universe of accidents, (2) a child of God, or (3) the beneficiary of “the universe” or engaged in a web of universal consciousness (I think that covers the possibilities). Understanding and answering this huge question alone will create massive momentum in your journey towards being both a winner and a warrior and inform much about the direction and tone of your life.
Keep pushing, searching, and seeking with a winner’s clarity & perspective and a warrior’s heart for the service of something greater.