GO FROM WORRIER TO WARRIOR
Five steps to rise above the Everyman
In the minds of many preppers and survivalists, the pinnacle self-reliance and apex survivor skill is not to procure food or build a solid shelter; it’s to execute the role of the guardian and protector. Many of the scenarios we prepare for cause us to anticipate having to protect lives and defend supplies and other possessions with lethal force, in effect having to become a warrior. If we’re honest, we hope it will never come to that. But, if we are to go down that path, be effective and prevail, there are some topics besides stocking an armory that need to be addressed before the time comes.
So, you want to be a warrior? The path to becoming a warrior is not an easy one, because at its core is discipline. A warrior is a master of spherical awareness, ever vigilant with their head on a swivel. They know their operational environment, can improvise, adapt and overcome all adversities, and while they’re able to accept that they aren’t invincible, they never run from adversity; instead, they face it head-on.
The warrior fights with their mind, body and soul, and while they have emotions, they must master keeping them at bay in order to fight without letting them interfere with their clarity and lucidity.
None of these things will come easily, so do not be discouraged. The only path to mastering anything, particularly the warrior arts, is via hard
THE WARRIOR FIGHTS WITH THEIR MIND, BODY AND SOUL, AND WHILE THEY HAVE EMOTIONS, THEY MUST MASTER KEEPING THEM AT BAY IN ORDER TO FIGHT WITHOUT LETTING THEM INTERFERE WITH THEIR CLARITY AND LUCIDITY.
work and due diligence.
It is particularly difficult to master anything in the physical world until you conquer the demons in your own head that foster such impediments as fear, anxiety, panic and self-doubt. Once you are able to eliminate these counterproductive and debilitating thoughts, you can move forward in mastering the warrior mindset.
• OVERCOME YOUR INTERNAL ROADBLOCKS TO SUCCESS.
The root of fear, anxiety, panic and self-doubt is the lack of experience. Having a warrior mindset means being able to set aside or subdue your fear and anxiety so as not to panic in the face of danger and to diminish self-doubt and project self-confidence toward the eyes of any opponent. Confucius once said, “He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.”
Once you learn to subdue your fear and vanquish panic, you will be on your way to achieving the
ANY TIME YOU LOOK AT PEOPLE WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL, YOU’LL LEARN THAT IT USUALLY HAPPENED BECAUSE THEY WERE ABLE TO GET REALLY GOOD AT A FEW THINGS BY REPEATING THEM UNTIL THEY EXCELLED AT THEM.
warrior mindset. The biggest contributor to fear and panic is the unknown. The best way to conquer the unknown is to not only face it but to dive, head first, into it. By immersing yourself in your fear, you will achieve “stress inoculation,” as a result of which you will be able to function and think with clarity, even under conditions for which your previous response would have been panic.
• A WARRIOR NEVER RUNS FROM ADVERSITY.
Being a warrior is about showing up to the fight when every bone in your body tells you to run in the opposite direction. It’s about striving for greatness so that you know either the elation of high achievement and victory or the pain of defeat; but in any case, you can hold up your head proudly, knowing you showed up at the fight as opposed to running.
In his 1910 “Citizenship in a Republic” speech, Theodore Roosevelt said,
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
What defines you as a true warrior is your ability to face danger. That doesn’t mean you want to be a hero or that you’re some kind of a superman, because I can tell you from personal experience
that one of the most difficult things to do is to override the basic human instinct to protect yourself. You must have the discipline to counter your innate instinct for survival to then run toward the gunfire. It’s having that mentality that you’re going to put yourself into the fight, particularly if you are connected to those who are in the fight, to get in there and to help them, no matter what.
• A WARRIOR MINDSET MEANS HAVING THE DISCIPLINE TO BECOME EXTREMELY GOOD AT DOING JUST A FEW THINGS.
Any time you look at people who are successful, you’ll learn that it usually happened because they were able to get really good at a few things by repeating them until they excelled at them. A couple of the other traits of successful people are that they are able to learn from other people’s mistakes and can look at other successful people and understand why they succeeded. They then apply those learnings to their own life.
I try to do that as much as possible. When
A WARRIOR’S HEART IS NOT AFRAID OF DEATH AS MUCH AS IT FEARS A LIFE LIVED WITHOUT HONOR, LOYALTY AND STANDING UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT.
there’s something I don’t know about, I find someone who is good at it. I observe how they do it, and then, I just try to, basically, mimic what they are doing.
We’ve all heard the term, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” One thing I have always tried to do is stay good at a few skills. The way to do that is to pick out the skills that you believe are most important to maintain and then make practicing those skills an integral part of your day.
The way to master a skill is to learn how to do it the right way, establish the proper technique and practice it regularly. If you’re practicing bad technique, you’ll just get really good at doing something wrong. In addition, it’s important to remember that all skills are perishable: Just because you are the master of a skill today does not guarantee you will be a master five years—without practice—from now. Dedication to daily practice is the best way to maintain your skills.
• A WARRIOR IS FLEXIBLE AND KNOWS HOW TO IMPROVISE, ADAPT AND OVERCOME.
It’s also important to remember that techniques sometimes need to change when situations change; it is up to you to learn or relearn what you need to know in order to maintain mastery of your chosen discipline.
For instance, when I was in the Special Forces, it was imperative that I be highly proficient at transitioning from my rifle to my pistol as rapidly as possible in case my rifle ran out of bullets or malfunctioned.
Now that I’m retired from the military, proficiency
in this skill is no longer necessary, because I don’t carry a rifle all the time. I do, however, always carry a concealed pistol. The physical act of drawing a pistol from a concealed holster is much different than drawing from a leg holster, so it was back to the drawing board for me. I had to learn and practice a new technique to become as proficient and lethal as I had been in the past.
Remember: You can’t just rest easy and expect skills to stay with you for life because you knew how to do them a long time ago. You should continue to practice, modifying your technique if necessary, no matter how good you are at any given discipline.
• NEVER QUIT!
In his epic novel, Gates of Fire, about the Spartans and the battle at Thermopylae (which is taught at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy and in the U.S. Marine Basic Course at Quantico), author Steven Pressfield wrote about how the Spartans trained:
"The hardship of the exercises is intended less to strengthen the back than to toughen the mind. The Spartans say that any army may win while it still has its legs under it; the real test comes when all strength is fled and the men must produce victory on will alone."
Having the will to fight on and not quit is more of a trait than it is something you can “learn” through conditioning. A warrior never leaves a fallen comrade behind and only needs to look to his left and right to find a reason not to quit and to keep the will to drive on until the war is won.
ONCE YOU LEARN TO SUBDUE YOUR FEAR AND VANQUISH PANIC, YOU WILL BE ON YOUR WAY TO ACHIEVING THE WARRIOR MINDSET.
The samurai are respected as great warriors of their time. They believed that “tomorrow’s battle is won during today’s practice.”
Right: ‘You can prevent your opponent from defeating you through defense, but you cannot defeat him without taking the offensive.” —Sun Tzu, renowned Chinese general and author of The Art of War
Left: Learning to control one's emotions, maintain internal order and find ways to achieve the objective during the fog of war are skills a person must master to become an effective warrior. (Photo:
Chris Hondros/getty Images)
Above, left: Sun Tzu, renowned Chinese general and author of The Art of War, wrote, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
Above, right: As Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Below: Special Forces soldiers often jump from airplanes at altitudes in excess of 30,000 feet. This is to either defeat radar surveillance by deploying their chutes at 4,000 feet or fewer or to pilot their parachutes to a distant landing zone. Jumpers must use GPS waypoints and terrain features and correct their courses to navigate to their objective.
Left: "If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in the combat zone.” —Murphy’s Laws of Combat
Below, left: Winston Churchill was a noted and respected statesman, but perhaps his highest calling was as a motivator of his people and his armed forces. He is quoted as saying, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a 1st-century Roman philosopher who said, “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” In other words, if we don’t get out of our comfort zone and overcome serious challenges, we will not become better than we are.
Near left: George S. Patton Jr. was a renowned battlefield general who is known for being successful because he was aggressive when the situation called for it. There is a lot to be learned from this comment: “Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way.”
Right: Because we see it on t-shirts and stickers doesn’t make George Orwell’s statement, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf ... ,” any less true. And today, he could add “and women” to his assertion.
Above, right: "No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection.” — Murphy’s Laws of Combat
Above, left: Being a true warrior with honor is a difficult and complex challenge, especially in environments that are short on morals and ethics. This Japanese proverb provides some simple, but worthwhile, guidance: “Be strong when you are weak, brave when you are scared, and humble when you are victorious.”
Right: HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) and HAHO (High Altitude High Opening) parachutists jump from heights between 15,000 and 35,000 feet. This extreme form of parachuting is not for the faint at heart and would certainly pose a great challenge to anyone with a phobia of heights!