All greatness comes from loss. A king isn’t born, he’s made.
By steel and by suffering. No man can be too powerful
or too beautiful without disaster falling.
They laugh when you rise too high;
and any glory you get in the end will be taken away.
~ Alexander the Great
I’ve long been fascinated with the Warrior Cultures. Not because I’m fascinated by war, I’m not.
But I am fascinated with discipline, resilience, brotherhood, and commitment to a grand purpose and cause.
These are things that unfortunately seem lost in much of society today.
In an era of fast fame, ease and comfort, we’ve lost our value for the true Warrior ethos. For the pain and sacrifice necessary to bring any positive change into the world.
Like it or not, you’re going to need to make sacrifices for your life mission and purpose; and the sooner you embrace it, the sooner you can get on with it.
Like it or not, you’re going to need to make sacrifices
for your life mission and purpose; and the sooner you embrace it,
the sooner you can get on with it. But the glory and honor
of giving your entire life for something much grander
than your own creature comforts is beyond words.
The Spartans knew this. The Samurai knew this. Alexander the Great knew this. So did Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Socrates and all great leaders.
While it’s not popular, history proves that the greatest souls
have always made the greatest sacrifice.
There’s a certain salvation and awakening embedded
in sacrificing a lesser value for something of greater value.
Spartans, Samurai, Navy SEALs, and all other warriors have sacrificed for their calling, and their honor, and their community.
While there are many practices the ancients employed that seem barbaric, there were many practices that we can all benefit from once again.
You see, the objective of evolution is not just to transcend a certain lower awareness or barbarism alone. But rather, to transcend it, and include its value as we continue to awaken and evolve.
For there is a seed of truth and value in all perspectives.
That which is suppressed, will be expressed,
in later days and uglier ways.
Let’s talk about a few examples from Sparta. One of the fiercest warrior cultures in history. I’ll cover 3 points this week and then 3 more in the next installment:
1. Spartans had to prove their fitness continuously, even as young adults. Young adults were required to submit to extreme physical rigor.
A lack of fitness and vitality was despised in Sparta. Therefor exercise was rigorous and food was kept scarce. Many of us have long forgotten and long suppressed the principles proving a healthy body creates a healthy mind.
Many of us have forgotten and long since suppressed
the ancient principle that a healthy body leads
to a healthy spirit and mind. An inflexible and weak body
is a reflection of an inflexible and weak spirit and mind.
After conquering Persia, the Spartan king Pausanias ordered Xerxes cooks to create a typical dinner. Meanwhile he had his own cooks put together a standard Spartan meal.
The Persian chefs produced a lavish banquet with multiple courses, pastries and cakes and delicacies, served on golden plates,
When the Spartans’ saw the result they laughed; and proceeded to eat their typical meal of pigs-blood stew, barley bread, and wine.
Do you eat to live and perform? Or do you live to eat?
Men of Athens! Have you grown so fat and happy that you care not?
Will the day come when we awaken to discover
We have ceded future liberties to current ease?
2. All Spartan boys were taken from their mothers at age 7 and housed and trained at the Agoge (The Upbringing). Each was expected to be a Warrior from age 7 until, at minimum, age 60.
We live in a time where ease and comfort
and acquisition are held in high value.
But Warrior Leaders have no use for these things
that bring softness, and weakness, and laziness.
They willfully train harder and sacrifice, and give their
entire life in the quest for honor and cause
and the betterment of mankind.
I remember on two different occasions coaching two different single mothers who were each bemoaning their son.
Each telling me how he was not very manly and honestly, downright weak.
On both occasions the boy was about 16 years old. One spent his entire day playing video games and the other playing a guitar.
While I could find possible value in the guitar enthusiast, given that he potentially had some talent, I could find no value whatsoever in the video game addiction.
Both moms were struggling to make ends meet. I suggested in both cases they make their boys get a job; and contribute financially to the household.
After all, had they been raised in Sparta, they would have been training and preparing for battle for 9 years by this age.
You are a bi-product of your environment.
A culture conditioned in entitlement and handouts and ease,
creates citizens of whiners, complainers and blamers.
Stand up! Remember who you are.
Create the life you desire and deserve!
Both mothers, being products of the pluralistic pervasive mentality we currently live in, were aghast.
“Oh my God!”
In today’s world we pass kids through college who can’t even read.
We give every child a “participation trophy” because we don’t want to hurt their little psyche.
We tell our children how special and wonderful and great they are even though they do little to nothing to earn this or prove this.
It’s all just theory.
We really don’t want to bruise their little self-esteem now do we?
With well-meaning intentions, where we once created Warriors we now create a bunch of whiners and wimps.
Furthermore, according to Carol Dwecks’ research from Stanford, we actually do them vastly more harm than good.
Don’t tell me how talented you are
or how much money you’ve made
or show off the things you own.
Talent and material things are cheaper than oxygen.
Tell me instead the trials you’ve faced,
the pain that you’ve pushed through,
how many times you’ve been kicked in the teeth;
and yet you get back up and keep fighting for your cause.
3. The greatest Warriors were chosen because of their women.
Come back with your shield or come back on it.
~ Spartan Woman Creed to Sons and Husbands
In the great battle of Thermopylae, 300 Spartan Warriors held off the Persian army of 1,000,000 soldiers for 3 full days. According to legend, two things happened:
- The Warriors who were not chosen to go on this death mission lamented and anguished; even though it was an obvious battle of no return.
- The Warriors who were chosen, were chosen not just because of their prowess and power, every Spartan Warriors had prowess and power. They were chosen because of the strength of their women.
You see, warriors are not just men. Not by a long shot.
In Sparta as well as today, women are the glue that bind the household and the community. Weak and wimpy women create weak and wimpy communities.
Please understand, I’m not suggesting you should suppress your emotions, far from it.
I’m not suggesting that if you’re a woman you should become a man. No, that’s in grave error as well.
But how you express your warriorhood or victimhood, your womanhood or manhood, determines what you’re truly committed to.
Warrior women and men alike are committed to a common community, purpose and cause; and this is the driving force of all great kingdoms.
And it must become a driving force of this world kingdom once again.
This is a topic that I could discuss for days upon end and we don’t have the luxury in this format.
For now, ask yourself these questions regarding the strength of your internal Warrior:
- Why is it critically important to keep your body strong and fit? Does your strength and fitness affect your productivity and your results?
- Are you fiercely committed to a cause that you’re willing to sacrifice for?
- Who do spend the bulk of your time with? Are they Warriors committed to doing something meaningful and great? Is your male or female mate equally as strong and committed as you are? How about your friends? How does that affect you? (be specific)
Three more principles next week.
Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic!