Character
How to Make Decisions Like a Samurai
04May 2015
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Life is all about CHOICE and ACTION.

The samurai knew it. Lifebookers know it. Yet, somehow, most people don’t make the connection between the choices they make and the quality of their life.

At Lifebook, we believe that ANYONE can have a fantastic, fulfilling, happy life if they make the kind of choices that we all have the ability to make.

Our ability to choose is our greatest freedom and our greatest strength. No matter where we start in life, we will be presented with countless choices — and what we choose will make all the difference in the quality (and even the quantity) of our lives.

We can’t always control the things that happen outside of us. Most of the time we can, but not always. But we can ALWAYS control our inner experience.

Anything that goes on inside us that is immobilizing, stops us, gets in our way, or keeps us from reaching our goals – ANYTHNG that happens inside: WE CHOOSE. It’s ours and we own it all.

No matter what conditions we are faced with:

  • We can choose our own values
  • We can choose how to treat others
  • We can choose to mold and develop ourselves
  • We can choose how to handle adversity
  • We can choose to be disciplined/hard-working
  • We can choose our own purpose in life
  • We can choose our attitude, which is the single most important choice

Each one of these choices happens INSIDE and is not controlled by ANYONE but us. Everyone has the ability to control and choose these things. Just think of the difference the right choices in these areas can make.

If there’s something we don’t like about ourselves — if we are anxious, shy, fat, unhappy, if we hate our job, if we’re stressed out — WE HAVE CHOSEN IT. Our choices got us there. And we can change almost anything in our lives if we are aware of our choices and our desire is strong enough.

Samurai code (known as Bushido) teaches that right and wrong, good and bad, are absolute. They are givens, not arguments subject to discussion or justification — and men should know the difference.

Now, we can’t all spend a lifetime immersed in martial training and spiritual development, but this loud-and-clear message applies to just about all of humanity…

You know what is right. You know what is good. You know what you should do. It’s just a matter of doing it — and making the right choice.

Unfortunately, most people don’t even begin to acknowledge or understand their own power to choose, and the awesome control they can exercise over their own existence. It is hard to learn because it is rarely taught. More often, we are taught helplessness and powerlessness…

“I can’t because I’m poor, a minority, a middle child, too busy, too tired, not smart enough…”

If we adhere to these belief systems, we are giving up control of our life. We have rendered ourselves powerless.

At Lifebook, we totally reject the concept that there are “a few chosen people” who are lucky, born into the right circumstances, destined to have great lives.

We believe a fantastic life is available for everyone. Anyone can be happy, healthy, together and alive — if we just make the right choices.

We — like the samurai — believe in taking responsibility for EVERYTHING that goes on in our lives; every choice, action, behavior, value, and goal.

Taking responsibility means we don’t allow the “externals” of our lives to take control of our “internals” — who we are, how we feel, or what we do. We don’t let anything outside of us dictate our lives.

Taking responsibility means NEVER blaming for ANYTHING. Our lives are the result of OUR choices – our problems are no one else’s fault. Taking responsibility means NEVER sitting around and complaining or worrying about how the world is. Instead, we take responsibility and get mobilized by the things we don’t like. We don’t flail about wasting time and energy.

If we don’t like something, we do something about it.

We get involved and find a solution. We fix it. Or we shut the heck up about it. No blaming, complaining or worrying – EVER.

Immobilizing emotions like anger, annoyance, jealousy, fear, or depression are hardly worth defending, and yet many people spend most of their time defending them (which is what fights are all about; “I feel this way because of YOU and it’s justified and it’s a big deal”).

But the fact is, anytime we feel an emotion like that – it’s all ours. We own it. It’s not someone else’s. No one can “inject” us with those things. If people behave toward us in ways that are annoying – that’s their stuff – not ours. Don’t let them get it all over you (and most of the time that is what they want to do).

Instead, respond with ability. Look for solutions.

They are behaving the only way they know how to behave. Instead of getting upset, we should respond to them with who WE are: loving, confident, solid, together, helpful, etc. Don’t ever go to the place where someone else has control over us. Don’t process it that way. Don’t blame someone else for our upset. We can transcend that. No one outside us can control our emotions – WE are in charge of our own internal experience.

In addition to taking responsibility for how we feel, we must take responsibility for how we allow ourselves to be treated.

We get treated in life the way we teach people to treat us.

If someone disrespects you, simply move away from them. Don’t ALLOW that. Don’t permit that behavior. Don’t teach people that they can treat you poorly. Take responsibility and let them know that you will not tolerate that kind of conduct. We can react with kindness – and if that doesn’t work, immediately remove ourselves from the situation. NEVER stand by and be abused or disrespected by anyone EVER. If you see yourself as valuable and important, you should never abuse yourself or allow anyone else to abuse you.

All this leads to a profoundly important moral idea. In taking responsibility for our own existence, we implicitly recognize that other human beings are not our servants and do not exist for the satisfaction of our needs. We are not morally entitled to treat others as means to our ends, just as we are not means to theirs.

Our choices control our lives, and the most important choice we can make is choosing a positive attitude.

Attitude is a mental outlook – a frame of mind. It’s how we think, how we process events.

The difference between being neurotic, unhappy, depressed etc. and being happy, fulfilled and actualized is NOT whether or not we have problems: We ALL have problems.

The actualized person has a different ATTITUDE toward the problem – A totally different orientation toward life. They see opportunity in EVERYTHING. They look at their problems and mistakes as learning and growing experiences.

Our attitude is also the sense of expectation that we have toward life. People with positive attitudes expect the best. Things always seem to work out well for people with good attitudes. People with negative attitudes expect the worst. Nothing ever seems to go right or work out for these people. In either case, one’s expectations becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You get what you expect.

We can direct our attitudes to work FOR us or against us. Our attitude can be our best friend or our worst enemy. It can attract people to us, give us a great life and pull us toward success, or it can do just the opposite.

If we create and keep a happy, successful, empowered attitude, we’ll have a happy, successful, empowered life.

If we expect to be great and feel great on a consistent basis, we will experience it. If we expect happiness joy, fulfillment and success, gratitude and appreciation, we will find it.

Here is an excerpt directly from Jon’s Lifebook, in regards to the attitude he has about his life:

“As for me, personally, I have an attitude and an expectation that I was born to be a big success in life. I was put on this earth to accomplish important things and to have a fantastic time in the process. Things always seem to go well for me and I know I will always be surrounded by the very best life has to offer. I’ll have fantastic relationships, extraordinary physical health, and a fulfilling emotional, intellectual and spiritual life. The universe seems to support my wants, needs desires and goals. I always have the wind at my back.”

What can you do to cultivate a healthier, more positive attitude towards life this month?

How can you start making decisions and taking action like a swordless samurai?!

As always, we wanna know all the details! Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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