“If you know the way broadly you will see it in everything.”
― Miyamoto Musashi
Why are some people just victorious in everything they do? Upon entering a vocation, it seems as though it’s just a matter of time before they make an impact in it. We’ve all met special people like this in our lives – destined to do something great for their life…
Captain of football teams, valedictorians, and artsy popular types.
Success depends a lot on luck, given that intelligence and looks are both determined by genetics – something that you don’t control. Truth be told, there’s no making it to the top of any field with shit genes.
But, arguably, another even larger factor, is culture.
Arguably, because you can piss away good genetics if the culture isn‘t right. On the other hand, you can create some high-quality people with a great culture, despite their shit genetics.
Perhaps, in seeking success, culture is the way that Miyamoto Musashi describes. The way, in which is universal to all endeavors.
In regards to becoming a success, this is…
A Universal Tool-box
Successful people go through the same amount of crap as anyone else – the only difference is that they always find a way out…
For example, when the economy shifts and their business fails, they pivot and build another successful business in another market.
Perhaps they play sports at a pretty high-level, but not high enough to make a decent living. They can easily transition to a career that is high-income but less competitive.
Look at Ken Jeong – a once unfulfilled practicing physician turned successful actor – living his passion.
Because the areas of expertise, these vocations that they transition between are very different from one another, we can come to the conclusion that the common denominator for successful people isn’t in the vocations themselves, but in the way they approach them.
Essentially, our personal growth depends on finding this approach… And in doing so, we can come out on top in our particular niche.
So, broken down into principles, what is this approach? – This way to know broadly?
While all of your endeavors are unique in their components, there are principles that are universal when it comes to attaining success in them.
A successful tech entrepreneur does not do the same things as a professional athlete. Nor does he do the same things as a revered teacher. It is in asking them what they have in common, in regards to action and behavior, that we find these principles.
The way is, simply, living out these principles as a foundation, first and foremost.
This gives us an abundance of opportunities – both in relationships and in vocations. And it allows us to find fulfillment in even the simplest tasks. People will want to learn these principles from us.
For example, one principle is:
If your body has no energy for your brain, you’re never going to use it properly. Seems kind of obvious… You need your brain in order to do anything.
No matter how gifted you are genetically, your brain will only grow and learn if it is fueled and rested properly. Oftentimes, we can confuse over-working and unhealthy obsessions with productivity. Recovery is just as important as work.
Maintaining a high standard for our health is the first universal principle for all success, no matter what you do with your life.
Quite simply, it comes down to the fact that every successful person – no matter what field – was healthy enough to do all that amazing work that they do. I mean, you’re not doing anything if you’re sick and weak.
Even the most talented professional athlete is going to be beat by a amateur chump if he is under slept and malnourished.
After eating 4 cheeseburgers for dinner every day for the last 2 years, brain fog will eventually defeat a Chess grand master.
Interestingly enough, recent studies have shown that intellectual abilities go up when people engage in physical activities. Squats boost IQ.
At the end of the day, we have to remember that we are living through this meat vessel that we call a body…
Perhaps, it is wise to reflect upon how well we are treating it before we even attempt to find success in anything else. Maybe, that is where our focus needs to be – before anything.
“Do the thing and you will have the power.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
And, to add to that, do the thing a lot.
We must reflect upon whether we’re actually putting in the work. Are we leaving it all out there?
If not, what’s holding us back from doing so?
It could be laziness and fear of pain. It could be ego. It could be because of neglect of another universal principle, like health. Maybe we’re not sleeping enough and not eating right so we don’t have the energy to expend into our craft.
There are many reasons why we’re holding back our greatest efforts. Unfortunately, it’s something that needs to be exerted before we can even start imagining success.
Are we putting off hard-work? Could that be the reason why nothing good is happening?
Effort is attention-to-detail. Effort is going the extra-mile. Effort is fixing mistakes immediately when we are made aware of them. Effort is staying up to date, at the tip of spear, within our niche.
No matter what vocation you decide to embark on, you will need to put in as much, or sometimes, more work than those who are ahead of you.
To come out on top, you will, undoubtedly, need to consciously exert a high level of effort towards your craft.
Everything you do in life is going to be with other people… around other people… or for other people.
Everybody has a customer to serve. Humans are inherently social creatures and we are built to value our reputation.
Even the richest, most powerful billionaire in the world is trying to win the approval of his peers… Or, inevitably, has family members that he has to answer to.
He may find his whole empire crumbling because of a scandal. A mistreated low-level employee might expose his less-than-ethical work environments.
Within every vocation, every industry, every niche – you will be judged on your kindness and ability to serve people well.
As long as you do, you will continue to rise. Stop, and you will stagnate.
No matter how brilliant a computer programmer is, he will never reach the highest levels if he doesn’t have the ability to build great relationships with the right people that can give him the right projects. If he doesn’t improve his people skills, it will continue to be a bottleneck to his success in the field.
Furthermore, if his interpersonal skills are extremely poor, he will engage in toxic relationships, both romantically and in his friend-circle.
He will find that his confidence will be chipped away, and in resentment and bitterness, he will throw away everything he worked for.
Without great interpersonal skills, we will feel lonely even when we’re surrounded by people; we will feel unappreciated even though we have tried our best.
If we don’t get our people-skills and social awareness up to point, it will be a universal detriment to success. Although we may get away with it if we’re highly competent, as there are fields where the mad scientist thrives, it is still a liability that can create chaos in our lives at any time.
It is a glaring weakness that can wither away that competency that we painstakingly built.
It is wise, then, to reflect upon how we can improve this aspect of life, and in doing so, we may find that when we are emotionally stable because of the people in our lives, success comes a lot easier.
When people smile at you – when people willingly reach out to you – maybe it isn’t even that important to be the best in the world at what you do? Maybe, you’re doing it all for other people, anyway… You should treat them well so they do the same for you.
While these are not the only broad principles that can determine your success, they are a huge part of the way that Miyamoto Musashi so eloquently speaks of.
If we integrate an awareness and improvement on these principles into our daily lives, we will find that we inevitably improve in everything. We will be confident in our ability to face and overcome obstacles because we know we have the foundations down, first and foremost.