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Miyamoto Musashi – How To Build Your Self Discipline

The Legendary Swordsman of Japan: Miyamoto Musashis Disciplined Philosophies

  • Miyamoto Musashi is considered to be the greatest swordsman of Japan, having never lost a duel
  • He was also an artist, philosopher, and Buddhist
  • He wrote 21 principles by which he expressed a strongly self-disciplined view of life
  • He taught to avoid doing things just because they feel good and to focus on one thing to broaden horizons in it.

The Power of Staying on the Moral Path: Learning from Miyamoto Musashis Bushido Code

  • Living a moral and noble life is essential for happiness
  • Miyamoto Musashi’s Bushido code advocates for seven virtues, such as integrity, respect, courage, and honor
  • Straying from the main path in life can be tempting, yet it leads to feeling unfulfilled and depressed
  • Giving yourself time to understand what you have in your hands will help you stay focused
  • One should not pursue luxuries and temporary pleasures but instead prioritize what is useful
  • Self-control, determination, and self-discipline are needed to reach success
  • Fear can be a good thing if it helps you push outside of your comfort zone.

Bushido: Honoring the Code of Self-Discipline and Integrity

  • Honor is the foundation of Bushido, and is expressed through self-respect, courage when presented with difficult situations, compassion when in a position of power, and loyalty
  • Discipline can also be developed by living honorably
  • This means being on time, delivering quality work, and behaving well consistently
  • Punishment should be avoided as it is a form of distraction from doing the honorable thing.

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A samurai at first, and then a Ronin, MiyamotoMusashi is considered to be the greatest swordsmanever in the history of Japan, in large partdue to his almost surreal discipline.Indeed It is being said that he fought 60duels, and never lost one.He fought for the first time when he was 13against an experienced Samurai, and came outvictorious.He took down the greatest swordsman at thattime, one by one, until the throne was his,and his alone.However, Miyamoto was more than that.Not only was he a master of his craft, buthe was also an artist, a cerebral philosopherand a buddhist.He sought meaning, wrote war and philosophybooks, and his work became a blueprint forpeople who want to live a disciplined life.A week before he died in 1645, Miyamoto Musashiwrote 21 principles called “Dokkodo '' bywhich he expresses a stringent, honest, andascetic or strongly self-disciplined viewof life.In this video we are going to see what madeMiyamoto so disciplined and how we can usethis wisdom to build our own discipline.A quality that has been cherished and reveredby human beings since the dawn of time, byembodying discipline, we’re making surethat our independence is respected, and ourdreams are fulfilled.If people are disciplined and have an honorableway of conduct, the country or civilizationwill truly thrive.So with that in mind here are 4 life teachingsabout discipline from the words of MiyamotoMusashi:Avoid doing things just because they feelgoodMiyamoto says “Do Not Seek Pleasure forIts Own Sake”.In the late years of the 16th century, Miyamoto,who was on a mission to be the greatest swordsman,wandered around and even stayed in the darkestand scariest places.It would have been no surprise if one encounteredhim in the middle of a lonely forest on freezingnights, accompanied only by his swords.Miyamoto knew that greatness had a price,and he needed to pay it, no matter how expensiveit was.From a very young age, he sacrificed typicaldesires and the path of comfort in order tofocus on what he wished to become and to staytrue to the path he intended to follow.He found the pursuit of a luxurious home,fine food, and fanciful possessions distracting.Now, let’s imagine a version of Miyamotothat decides to indulge in those pleasuresthat do not serve his overall goals…To wake up late every day or routinely eatrich dishes that lack nutrition...Do you think he would have gone far in developinghis skills and becoming the greatest swordsmanin the history of Feudal Japan?Probably not.Today, in an ever-stimulating world, there’san abundance of pleasures, which for manybrings with it a lack of meaning.And according to many greats of the historyof humanity, having meaning is what trulymakes us happy.In the modern world instant pleasure has neverbeen more easily accessible, but the sad realityis that constantly indulging in pleasuresdoes not lead to happiness, it can lead toa sense of emptiness and even addiction inextreme cases.Today, pleasure is so easily accessible, it’salmost scary.You just need to pop your phone from yourpocket to get the instant dopamine hit weall crave.In the attention-driven economy of the modernworld, pleasure is one of the most valuablecurrencies - You’re almost never out ofits sight.Whatever you’re doing there’s always someone- a product or service - lurking in the background,luring you towards false promises of happiness.The antidote of pleasure is meaning, believingin something that truly dictates your daysin a way that can only move you forward, nomatter the temptation, no matter the pleasuresthat are surrounding you.We need to look at those who succeeded infinding meaning and fighting pleasures, likeMiyamoto.Miyamoto felt that indulging in pleasure stealstime from us, because time well spent is whenyou do something that matters, and that feelinghas no equal.As far as Miyamoto was concerned, even ifyou compound all of the pleasures of life,it still doesn’t measure up to the feelingof achieving a major goal.Doing what matters will always be the truesource of happiness.Just imagine how proud you would feel if yousucceeded in, for example, reading every singleday for at least 15 minutes, for an entireyear; Picture yourself with a healthy bodyafter training hard for months and months;Just think about the day when all of yourefforts to start your business finally payoff and you start seeing customers comingin numbers; How does the fleeting happinessgenerated from a short-term pleasure reallyfair next to the happiness that results fromachievement?Picture that next time you feel the temptationto grab your phone instead of doing the lessimmediately pleasurable thing you actuallywant to get done.Focus on one thing, and broaden your horizonsin itIn the words of Miyamoto ‘Practice and understandthe realization that by knowing one way, youknow a thousand’.Miyamoto dedicated his life to mastering thesword.When he was younger, he trained from dusktill dawn recklessly and pushed his boundariesfurther and further.In fact, he left his home village when hewas 15 or 16, to travel the country and learnfrom the best masters, and to challenge anyfighter that had a reputation for dueling.A quest that would amazingly never see himfall short and lose.Miyamoto feared none, his aspirations werecomparable to none, and thanks to his irreproachablereckless training, his skills became secondto none.His method would be recognized and feared,and even though Miyamoto learned just oneart, he knew how to express it in thousandsof ways.We currently live in a world in which we areshowered by countless possibilities and opportunities.Something that we should value and acknowledge.And so, one might think that sooner or later,everyone finds the right opportunity thatis aligned with one’s own aspirations, andthat eventually, everyone becomes fulfilled.But reality is rarely so straightforward.Indeed, those many possibilities can oftengive birth to even bigger anxieties, so oftenin fact that there is even a term for it - DecisionParalysis.It’s like when you enter a self-servicebuffet, you have the right to put whateveryou want on your plate, and at the beginningyour enthusiasm is immeasurable.But the more you consider what’s in thebuffet, the more anxious you become.Indeed, many delicious dishes might be laidout for you, but the human stomach is onlyso big...So you serve yourself a bit of this, and youtake a little bit of that, all to have onebig messy plate at the end that you can’teven finish, let alone taste it properly withit all mixing together as you eat.In your attempt not to miss out on anything,everything becomes a confusing, unpalatablemess and you’re left staring at an emptyplate.And that is exactly what’s happening inthe world right now; people are often disorientedin the face of the many opportunities theyencounter, unable to filter them and focuson just one.Many people also think they can be good ateverything, so they jump from one skill tothe next, but since they lack the patienceand focus to reach a level of deep understanding,they end up abandoning that opportunity altogether.And so they get depressed, wondering why theynever reached the level they intended, decidethat’s just the way of things, move on tothe next activity, and so the cycle beginsagain.So what we can learn from this is that whenyou try different fields, and different opportunitieswithout really getting deep into them andgiving yourself the time to grasp them, youcan never truly gain the full benefit fromthem.Your mission to find the path where you’llfeel fulfilled will always be in restart mode.Like Miyamoto, we need to give ourselves timeto truly grasp what’s in our hands and filterany noise that’s outside of it, regardlessof how tempting it can be.Like Miyamoto, we should not feel contentby knowing just the superficial aspect ofa discipline when the beauty of it is ingrainedinside.Like Miyamoto, we should dedicate our timeto one skill, and make thousands of ways outof it.Of course, you can then move to another skill,like Miyamoto did when he moved to writingand philosophizing, but not before fully graspingthe skill at-hand first.Stay focusedTo quote Miyamoto “Never stray from theway”Unlike many people of high status in society,Miyamoto didn’t pursue enjoying the perksof a good life.Born into a respected family, he could havestayed there, eaten well, and slept in comfort,but he left at a very young age to face theunknown, in order to fulfill his dreams.Miyamoto saw things differently, and perhapsthat’s why he was who he was, and achievedwhat he achieved.Even after fulfilling his mission and gaininghuge notoriety, he still didn’t pursue luxury.Indeed, when he was invited to stay at thefanciest places, he only did so for a shorttime before he took off to another place,to learn new things, and conquer new skills.Miyamoto was a man of almost surreal amountsof self-control, determination, and discipline,fulfilling his dreams by staying focused andprioritizing what was useful.Sure he enjoyed luxuries like good food whenhe encountered it, but what matters is thatit did not dictate his actions.That’s how Miyamoto lived, and that’show he’ll always be remembered.Core to Miyamoto’s philosophy was that inlife, you have two roads.One that is eye-pleasing, filled with cravings,good food, and enjoyment, and it is prettystacked with people, so is clearly the popularchoice.The other is shrouded in an impenetrable fogwith no definable detail.From a distance, you might think that thefirst road is clearly the best one to follow,but unbeknownst to you, the second road leadsto freedom, meaning and inner peace.This road is not joyful, it requires determination,discipline, often even sacrifices, but sooneror later, those that decided to take thatroad and prioritized what would be usefulto them, even if it’s against the odds,will taste life in a much deeper way thanthose who gave in to pursuing immediate cravingsand pleasures.For example, if you don't like the way youlook and decide to set some health goals foryourself, each day you will be faced withtwo choices - the choice of eating unhealthyand skipping your workout, or eating healthilyand sticking to your routine.The second road requires you to sacrificeshort-term pleasures at the altar of an uncertaingoal, so it’s alright if you get scaredor anxious while thinking about it.In fact, if you aren’t feeling at leastsome anxiety or fear then chances are you’renot pushing yourself outside of your comfortzone at all, so some fear is a good thing- it’s a sign your eyes are fully open.It’s like going on exploration in the desert:Yes, you’ll be thirsty, you’ll feel theunbearable sun over your head and it willfeel as relentless as it does fruitless, butwith time and discipline, you’ll discoverthe most amazing lost treasures, right infront of you.That will make up for all your sacrifices,put a smile on your face, create an openingin your heart, and an understanding in yourmind that you will carry forever.Live with integrity and preserve your honorIn our final quote from Miyamoto for thisvideo, he says “You May Abandon Your OwnBody but You Must Preserve Your Honor”Miyamoto Musashi's philosophy, the Bushido,is a cornerstone of a necessary code of conductfollowed by the Samurais.The Bushido is a set of virtues that one mightfollow in order to live a moral and noblelife.This philosophy has 7 main virtues: Integrity,Respect, Heroic courage, Honor, Compassion,Honesty, and Loyalty.While this code requires a whole episode ofits own, it is fair to say that the imagewe have of Samurais; their heroic behaviors,honorable deaths, and noble demeanors wereall powered by the Bushido.While honor is specifically cited as justone of the seven virtues, when you considerit, Bushido is all about honor.Honor is the glue between all other virtuesin the code of conduct.Honor is self-respect, and when you respectyourself, you carry yourself with honestyand integrity.Honor is defending what's right, so when you'rein such situations, you don't shy away andinstead, act with courage.Honor means not stomping over weak or vulnerablepeople, that when you're in a position ofpower, you're compassionate.And finally, honor is being ready to riskeverything to preserve the dignity of thoseyou care about; in other words, it is to beloyal to the bone.Honor and discipline are both cut from thesame cloth and developing one often leadsdirectly to improving the other.For example, imagine you work a typical desk-joband you’ve been in the same position fora couple of years.By now everything is routine and you barelyhave to think about your day to day processesand you’re getting bored, so you find shortcutsand workarounds, start arriving late and takinglonger breaks, trying to minimize the amountof consideration you’re giving your workto avoid feeling bored.Meanwhile, your colleague is in the same position,hired at the same time has been doing theexact same shortcuts but then using that extratime to develop new ideas and strategies andnow you’re getting looked over for thatpromotion.When you ask why, you’re told that you lackdiscipline.In your misery, you decide to get proactiveand take the Musashian approach - You decideto be on time, to do your best to deliverquality work, spend time trying to find waysto improve your work, and to generally behavein an honorable way, with no cheating or underhandedbehavior.And here’s the interesting thing - by behavingin an honorable way like this, you’re actuallybecoming disciplined!In our example, there are some keywords andthey are being on time, delivering qualitywork, and behaving well…Don’t these virtues all fall under the bannerof consistency?And isn’t consistency a cornerstone of discipline?And once that is done, you’re living anhonorable life.It’s important to make sure that one doesn’tstray from the path, and stays disciplined,but it’s just as important not to punishyourself when it doesn’t work out.Acknowledge this is how things are and worktowards improving things instead of beatingyourself up.Wasting time and energy on punishing yourselfis no different to distracting oneself withimmediate pleasures - They are both ways ofavoiding doing the honorable thing.And living honorably and living with disciplineis the remedy to our greed, covetousness,and selfishness.And as always if you enjoyed this video, pleasemake sure to check out our full philosophiesfor life playlist, and for more videos tohelp you find success and happiness usingancient philosophical wisdom, don’t forgetto subscribe.Thanks so much for watching.