MONDAY MOTIVATION: The 21 Rules of Life (Miyamoto Musashi).

We live in a world full of challenges. Winners are those who overcome and become masters, above the endless waves of chaos and desperate need for order. Life then demands we live disciplined, focused and purposely lives so as to be resourceful and solution oriented, rather than additional problems to the overwhelming issues all over. This then requires us to search within ourselves, look up to other people who made it in life, who lived unique lives and created a pattern and line of thought we could follow. Philosophers and leaders, both ancient and present, in secular and religious circles have shaped our lives, beliefs and way of life, since days of old. One of the key personalities whose philosophies, thoughts and actions can be looked up to is Miyamoto Musashi.

An illustration of Miyamoto Musashi, a Japanese master swordsman, samurai, philosopher, strategist and writer.

A philosopher, writer, samurai and ronin who lived between 1584-1645, Musashi provided useful insights about living based on his experiences as a warrior, master swordsman, battles, extensive travels and experiences. His insights and wisdom from his life experiences and disciplined life-style as a samurai can be useful and applicable to our own lives. In a summarized version, we list his lines of Wisdom and applicable illustrations in this article.

  1. Accept everything just the way it is: rather than worrying about what is going on around you, accept it as it is and work to improve yourself. This could be in terms of attitude adjustment, self-assessment, better application of people and life skills to survive and draw upon own self-resourcefulness.
  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake: many times we get entangled and drowned in pleasures that bring our eventual downfall from grace and whatever progress we had made in life. Addictions bring about slavery and loss of self-control, a dangerous precept in life.
  3. Do not under any circumstances depend on a partial feeling: in everything you do, ensue you do your homework and get all facts right before taking that step forward. Be certain before you act, so that you deal with whatever comes up next with no regrets.
  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world: self-centeredness never works for anyone. Life requires that we become humble, sober and see the world in a bigger and more detailed way rather than the pin-hole of own self. The bigger the view you have of the world, the more insights you draw and the more you appreciate life thus shape your actions.
  5. Be detached from desire in your life in whole lifelong: instead of chasing dreams that will live you unsatisfied and frustrated, set achievable goals and live a contended life. Make your own and stop dwelling on what others have. Take control of your set goals and do not let them rule you.
  6. Do not regret what you have done: understand and accept your actions. Understand yourself, and live your life the way you should without letting the past dictate your present and the bitter memories judge your present judgments. Let the past be lessons you draw from to make better decisions now.
  7. Never be jealous: jealously drains your energy and instead of being negatively inclined, filled with rage and humiliation, we should instead apply our energy towards productive use. One can encourage and inspire others, master a useful life skill and or work on own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to be a better person.
  8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation: people will always come and go, because in this life nothing is permanent. Keep the good memories when distance is inevitable and enjoy every moment your experience together.
  9. Resentment and complaints are neither appropriate for oneself nor others: rather than waste time and your energy complaining and in resentment, focus on yourself to be a better person. The world has enough troubles already and your grumbles, anger and resentment will not make anything or anyone better.
  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love: Love blinds, and lust poisons. Rather than be clouded by emotions in making your judgments, act with respect to yourself. Do things to others as you would love and wish them to be done to you.
  11. In all things, have no preferences: rather than being biased, be open minded to try new things. Look forward to new experiences rather than being closed up to new possibilities and inclined to a certain outcomes that limit you.
  12. Be indifferent to where you live: it is not where you live but how you live. Make it your duty to make wherever you are comfortable, lovable, warm and full of life. Life is what you make it, thus embrace it with positivity and be happy of the shelter and warmth you afford.
  13.  Do not pursue the taste of good food: pursuing the taste of good food could be addictive and harmful. It could lead to your eventual demise.  Rather, eat for nourishment and to be full. Be thankful and contented.
  14. Do not hold to possessions you no longer need: we should acquire things that we need and that benefit us. After its useful use, a make it a virtue to give it to someone else who needs and values it, as it benefits them. Let go of such possessions, and move on. It makes you feel better than feeling weighed down and bloated.
  15. Do not act following customary beliefs: think and act the way you think you should, not the way others feel and say you should. Decide for yourself, knowing you have considered it carefully and given the best judgment based on your convictions.
  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful: be a master of one skill-set which will be useful and applicable in your lifetime rather than a student in many disciplines, of which you master none to put into productive use.
  17. Do not fear death: Face your fears and confront them head-on. Do what you fear most, rather than run away, because in your whole life you will keep on running. Eventually all of us die someday. Die for something you will be proud of rather than live in shadows of cowardice and fear.
  18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs (estate of land) in your old age: Live usefully and vigorously in your youth and as you age, do so gracefully. Let what you have gathered in your years benefit others, and keep what is useful that makes you a better person and gives you peace of mind.
  19.  Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help:  be disciplined and count on yourself, and not luck or the gods for help. Battle and fight to handle the tasks at hand with all your capabilities. Always, do the best you can and thank God or whatever you belief in for the chance.
  20. You may abandon your own body but must preserve you honor: Your actions make you. As you age, age gracefully with actions and character that made men respect you. Always strive to live well, earn respect and honor from others because your actions do make you.
  21.  Never stray from the way: if you live in a certain way and are happy and contented, go ahead and wholeheartedly get devoted to it. If not, cast it aside. Bring yourself to the conviction of your actions, and reason why you do what you do.

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