Category: Perspectives

you don’t “get” principles, you cultivate them

Developing your Principles requires consistent effort over time. The substance of your Principles – maturity, insight, and their development – cannot be “crammed”, as if for an exam.

Every opportunity to develop your principles is singularly unique, and once gone it cannot be recovered. Hence the saying: “Negligence is an extreme thing.”

So remember, each day is full of opportunities to develop your Principles – make the effort to seize every one!

the real-world value of Budō

In a world which can at times be a hard place, full of harsh circumstances and tough decisions, I see the study of Budō as one of the most effective means of understanding and cultivating one’s potential.

The Japanese term for martial arts, Budō is a compound of bu, meaning war or martial, and , meaning path or way. One of the reasons I have infinite respect for Budō is because it embodies a spirit of preparedness without the associated condition of being enslaved by fear of what you are preparing for. The fearlessness that Budō cultivates comes from ultimate capability – the confidence & self-possession to make decisions that lead to “win-win”.

Ultimately, the purpose of Budō is the cultivation of one’s own personal capabilities to such a degree that one can effectively manage the challenges of Life while generating peace & harmony in both spirit & practice. So the true spirit of Budō is really the spirit of winning through having cultivated a Decisive Spirit.


the awesome power of being deliberate

The Scenario: From time to time we are all presented with requests that we’re not entirely comfortable with. But remember, you always have the choice of how to respond: ACCEPT or ACQUIESCE

To ACCEPT is a proactive choice based on evaluation and judgement.

Insight: The key here is pausing to keep the request in your mental holding tank for consideration. This gives you the freedom to either ACCEPT the request because it’s consistent or consonant with your value system, or reject it because it isn’t. No matter which option you choose, exercising your will gives you a feeling of positive control over whatever you were presented with.

To ACQUIESCE is to give in to something or someone.

Insight: By choosing to merge without challenge or evaluation into someone else’s context, you run the risk of ceding your will, initiative or control. One risky side-effect of often choosing to ACQUIESCE is that you might start to feel that your will or sense of self is becoming eroded by it.

The Takeaway: Life isn’t perfect, so at times the nature of a particular circumstance may dictate whether your best choice is to ACCEPT or ACQUIESCE. But as long as your choice is a deliberate one and you have confidence in your rationale for it, you’re still moving towards your potential.


emotionality – I’m just not feelin’ it…

Don’t bother trying to replace “bad” emotions with “good’ ones – you will find it a continual struggle, and not really worth the uphill battle. Trying to corral your bad emotions doesn’t work either – they can consume you if you try.

Instead, work to purge yourself of emotions that are of no use to you. A good start is to say to yourself: “Y’know, at the end of the day……”, and then see what really matters in terms of getting the results you’re looking for.

This is a simple but effective way to make your emotions work for you rather than against you.

expectations are directions, goals are destinations

The Scenario: We all have goals and expectations – but which ones to focus on to get the best results?

GOALS are tangible and concrete desires, easily measurable and benchmarked.

Insight:  GOALS have the benefit of being stable yet pliable enough to adapt to changing circumstances. Their advantage is that even your highest aspirations can be realized through consistently setting & incrementally achieving them. So if you’re building well-crafted plans for achievement, thoughtful GOALS can be excellent guidelines for actualizing your potential.


EXPECTATIONS are generally desires that have no precise shape or boundaries.

Insight:  EXPECTATIONS are useful indicators of desire but very difficult to actually achieve, being neither concrete nor tangible. And a caution: once an emotion-based EXPECTATION is temporarily “satisfied” it can have a tendency to balloon out into even bigger or even more EXPECTATIONS.


The Takeaway: It’s really important to take a good hard look at the things you want of Life and clearly label them as GOALS or EXPECTATIONS. My two cents: The uniquely emotional nature of EXPECTATIONS makes them handy indicators, but GOALS help get you there. So for best results I’d recommend keeping your GOALS in the driver’s seat and your EXPECTATIONS in the passenger’s seat – your aspirations will thank you.


making the impossible impossible

Think of a few potential personal achievements that feel really inspiring to you, and list them on a piece of paper.

Try imagining that they are POSSIBLE.

Now, you may find that you are having trouble doing this because part of your mind is screaming: “But that’s not realistic!”. Okay, so then try imagining that they are IMPOSSIBLE. Can you do it?

If imagining that they are IMPOSSIBLE is not possible, then imagining that they are POSSIBLE must be possible! So get to it and enjoy!


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