Being a Warrior is not a profession, or an act. It is a statement of identity, and a definition of spirit.
The vast majority of people who consider themselves Warriors simply are not, but the ones who are know it deep in their heart without doubt. It comes not from identifying yourself based on something you did, but on what you are becoming and absolute knowledge of what you will be – and what you will be is “something more”, always something more. Once you truly become a Warrior, you cannot unbecome one.
Warriors seek balance. Those who are unbalanced are not strong, and this always leads to a bad outcome. Balance means “in all things” – physical, emotional, spiritual, relationships, environment, careers, etc.
Warriors cultivate perspective. This means a view on the “big picture”, not just the pain of the moment. It may mean cultivating a little bit of dispassion or distance. It also means making one’s decisions based upon imagining looking back upon your life from your deathbed. Inevitably, perspective is sometimes lost, but Warriors relax in the certainty that they will find their perspective again soon and do not let themselves be captured mentally. This means also that Warriors let go of pain (anything negative) in order to focus on what they must do.
Warriors do not procrastinate. They know they may die tomorrow, and live their lives “with their affairs in order” and with nothing important undone. Warriors I know all hold a small wistful regret for wasted days; but they do not necessarily define “wasted” like non-Warriors. A day spent watching birds in the trees might have been a priceless day.
Warriors learn to recognize “the lazy voice” inside themselves which urges them to take it easy today. They feel really good when they ignore it. Warriors aren’t comfortable spectating for that reason, and look for opportunities to work on things on their own.
Warriors know the difference between being awake and being asleep.
Warriors are tenacious, determined. OK, face it, they’re stubborn. They don’t give up on a goal they set for themselves. When they aren’t naturally focused and determined for a task or goal, they break the task or goal into parts that are accomplishable. They don’t consider it a failure if they learn they must redefine their goals based upon experience. Warriors do not not attach themselves to any single outcome. Warriors are satisfied if their end-result doesn’t look like what they set out for, so long as it “meets the requirements”.
Warriors are insatiable, restless. Every day of their lives, they are pursuing new abilities, new skills, new attainment… even if nobody else can perceive or appreciate them.
True Warriors build things of beauty. They try not to break one thing of beauty in order to pursue another.
Warriors are unflinching self-critics, and accept criticism without anger or defensiveness. They examine their shortcomings mercilessly and constantly as if they stood outside themselves. However, this is merely a part of correct evaluation and goal-setting; they do not dwell on what they find and what do not punish themselves for their failures any more than they gloat over their successes. This is not because they are humble, just because they always know there is more they want to accomplish!
Warriors accept nothing without a critical eye, not compliments, not criticisms, not instruction. Warriors need proof. It is unfortunate when a Warrior cannot see Proof, however, so that perspective thing really is important, as are experimenting with countering ideas.
Warriors are not defined by age, gender, wealth, height, weight, ethnicity, nationality, likeability, or even martial ability.
Warriors value decisiveness. This is harder in practice than theory, but they know that the worst decision is no decision and trust in their ability to “course correct” toward a better outcome.
Warriors cherish surprises and beauty and new abilities and honesty and heartfelt friendship. Warriors cherish opportunities to “step up” when they are most needed. Warriors cherish challenges as opportunities to become more than they were the day before. Warriors seek fear and weakness inside themselves as something to be probed and understood.
Warriors aren’t concerned with names or labels, or for that matter, external opinions or rules or limitations. Warriors hear words like “you cannot” as “the average person cannot”.
Are you a Warrior? This is a rhetorical question, I’m not asking for a show of hands. Do you recognize these things in yourself? What are other characteristics of Warriors?
Feel free to substitute the term “Warrior” for “Artist”, “Craftsperson”, or whatever resonates in your heart.