The history of Japanese Samurai dates back thousands of years. It has placed a strong focus on virtue in warfare throughout its lengthy history. To be respectable, a Japanese warrior, unlike in other regions of the world, must be full of virtue. The term bushido, which means "warrior's way" in English, alludes to just that.
What Is Bushido?
This warrior's way, or bushido, refers to a code of honor that samurais must follow. It contains a number of ideas, but the seven ideals that should guide your actions are the most important. It is said that it was taught to members of the ruling elite from a young age.
“Anyone can enter the toughest battle and die. This is easy for a common thug, but for a samurai true determination is in impartiality, and true virtue is knowing to live when you must live and to die when you must die. ”
-Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu-
What Can We Learn From The Samurai?
The samurai code refers to the warrior's style of thinking. It contains Buddhist, Confucian, and other Eastern philosophical elements. It remains useful guidance for our lives now. The following are seven of the values and teachings that it emphasizes.
1. Courage is a virtue that must be possessed in order to live a free life.
You can only be free if you have bravery, according to the warrior's way of thinking. Courage is what allows you to live your life fully, free of fear. It takes courage to take action, especially when it comes to big issues.
Fearlessness isn't the same thing as courage. True courage must also be accompanied by wisdom and power. Although dread is present, you must not allow it to dominate you. You should replace it with prudence and respect instead. And it is at this point that genuine bravery emerges.
2. Be Polite At All Times.
Courtesy isn't merely a collection of nice gestures or good manners in the warrior's way of life. It's a virtue that's closely linked to a sense of respect for everyone, including your adversaries.
Above all, civility is showing respect and consideration for the other person, regardless of the situation. That implies you should never be nasty or show off your might or authority. It's a quality that demonstrates character and a great deal of internal power.
3. You Must Constantly Show Sympathy.
You should put all of your might and might to good use for the greater benefit. That is what the warrior's method teaches us, as well as the need for solidarity. This is one of the characteristics that it lists as part of its definition of strength.
Compassion should not just be a sentiment; it should also result in action. Any time you have the opportunity to assist someone, you should do it. Even if you are unable to assist them, you should always strive to find a means to do so.
4. Justice Comes First.
According to Katana's frame of thinking, there is no such thing as a grey area when it comes to justice. What is right, according to this old wisdom, boils down to determining what is right and distinguishing it from what is not. Proper behavior is rewarded, while poor behavior is punished.
Being just entails attempting to act in a responsible manner at all times. That is to say, and instead of relying on what others say, you should rely on yourself. In their hearts, everyone understands what is right and what is wrong. As a result, you should only follow your own inner guidance.
5. Loyalty Is A Quality Associated With Noble And Powerful Spirits.
What a person says or does is inextricably linked to their identity. As a result, the repercussions will fall on them as well. As a result, before speaking or acting, you should constantly feel a strong feeling of responsibility.
Above all, being faithful to oneself is the most important aspect of loyalty. It's the capacity to maintain a level of consistency. Along similar lines, it's also a commitment to follow through on your promises. And only the strongest, finest spirits are capable of loyalty.
6. Your Word Is Your Trust, And Your Honesty Is Unquestionable.
To a samurai, a samurai's word is extremely important. They don't just speak for the sake of speaking, and they don't simply talk for the sake of talking. That is why, according to the warrior's way of thinking, words are totally equal to acts. It's as if you've already done something when you say something.
The value of a promise is removed under this viewpoint. This isn't required. It's enough to say you'll do something; it's a commitment to follow through. Only those who are entirely honest with themselves and others will be able to achieve this.
7. Human Beings Become Stronger When They Have Honor.
The greatest virtue of all, according to the warrior's way of life, is an honor. Honorable behavior entails operating with honesty and integrity in all circumstances and doing what you should and adhering to your ideals regardless of whether or not others agree with you.
The respect you have for yourself is accompanied by honor. This entails not allowing oneself to engage in an unethical or shameful activity. In this belief, honor is so vital that if you lose it, the only way to reclaim it is to commit suicide.
The most intriguing aspect of the warrior's path is that the principles it promotes are still relevant today, despite the fact that it is a centuries-old ethical code. If we applied these important samurai art principles to every argument or encounter, the world would be a much different place.
Bushido Principals That Teach Important Life Lessons
We've drawn endless inspiration from these incredible warriors, from developing artistry around something as brutal as mortal combat to the pursuit of efficiency in everything and the sound philosophical principles that define a samurai's life, as well as the beauty of ancient Japanese culture woven throughout all of it.
A sword (katana) wielding warrior isn't very useful these days, to be honest. The Way of the Warrior, often known as Bushido, the Samurai's code of ethics, remains on as a beneficial set of ideas to help you live a more balanced life.
And, as it happens, they are concepts that we can use now more than ever.
1. The Virtue Of Righteousness
This one is also known as justice, and it is all about trying to do the right thing. You may not be able to influence the rest of the world, but you may strive to live a life of virtue.
It's about more than simply doing the right thing while interacting with people; it's also about keeping your integrity when no one is looking.
Gryffindor would have been better with a Samurai. It goes without saying that a fighter must be courageous, yet courage entails more than the ability to face your own death in battle. To be genuinely courageous, you must approach your entire life with the assurance that you will conquer your obstacles and achieve happiness.
“A tremendous deal of power comes with a tremendous deal of responsibility.”
You must seek out opportunities to utilize your strength for the greater good, empathizing with others' suffering and yearning to assist in any manner you can.
True compassion requires us to comprehend not just our own situation but also the desires and wishes of others, as well as how our actions affect others.
4. Respect for others.
When one possesses power, it is necessary to understand when and how to utilize it appropriately.
Power corrupts easily, and a Samurai's capacity to murder another human being with ease was a power that had to be used with great caution and respect. Not only for others but also for oneself, in order to save one's spirit from being corrupted.
There are many different types of power in the world, and almost all of them may be used to benefit or harm people. To live most successfully, one must live in a way that respects others and learn to use their authority efficiently.
Honesty and reliability are two characteristics that define truthfulness.
The value of a person's word is high, but as each falsehood or broken promise accumulates, the worth of those words decreases.
Strive to be truthful in your communication so that others know you're not just telling the truth but also that you'll follow through on your promises.
Perhaps more than any other quality, honor was prized by Samurai.
As a samurai, your honor was everything, and betraying it was punishable by death. Dishonor, in fact, often ended in a samurai executing harakiri or ceremonial suicide with a sword.
Clearly, such ideals are not followed by the typical individual. Honor, on the other hand, is essential to becoming the finest version of yourself. Honor is a reflection of who you are as a human being. It is your words, deeds, and overall value as a person that is all mirrored in others.
A samurai is well aware of his status in the world. Those you care about and work with should know that they can trust you no matter what, which is closely related to honesty.
This sort of unwavering commitment not only benefits others but also aids in the formation of unbreakable ties since it reflects and expresses how important they are to you.
The Bushido's last premise is to have the self-control to follow and embody the complete code.
The first seven principles contain all of the samurai's responsibilities. However, a focus on adhering to the ideas themselves is also crucial. Even though the concepts seem lyrical, if you don't put them into practice, they'll be meaningless.
The Way of the Warrior was far more action-oriented than academic, with character development and satisfaction at the forefront. As a result, exercising significant self-control was required in order to adhere to those beliefs.
Leadership Lessons for Samurai Bushido
1. Defeat Is Not An Option
When you look at the top leaders and talent on the planet, you'll see that they all feel loss is not an option.
“Defeat is not an option, not for surgeons. We don’t back away from the table till the last breath’s long gone. We’re not easily intimidated.
We don’t flinch. We don’t back down, and we certainly don’t surrender, not at work anyway.
“… To do our jobs, we have to believe defeat is not an option. That no matter how sick our patients get, there’s hope for them, but even when our hopes give way to reality, and we finally surrender to the truth, it just means we lost today’s battle, not tomorrow’s war.” (Season 5, Episode 19 – Sweet Surrender)
We understand that failure is a part of the journey to success. If, on the other hand, we sincerely think that we will succeed and win at the end of the day, we will swiftly brush off the dust, get back on our feet, and work hard to achieve our goal.
Knowing that failure is not an option, we will have a total bias toward action and will strive tirelessly to achieve our objectives.
Failure isn't synonymous with failure. When we submit, failure turns into a defeat. Failure is defeat when we don't want to go through another failure and have to pull ourselves up.
According to legend, when Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés' soldiers stepped out of their boats onto enemy land in 1519, he set fire to them all. He did this so that his warriors would have no choice but to sacrifice everything they had in order to win.
Do we really offer everything we've got? Is it really all? Or do we have the choice of giving up when we're weary, uninspired, and lazy?
2. Victory Begins From Within
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey discusses the importance of achieving personal success before achieving a public triumph. The Samurai warriors are in a similar situation.
They must have won their "inner struggle" before ever going into war. According to Sun Tzu:
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
Within each of us, there is a fight raging. We need to put an end to that internal "conflict" and be clear about what success looks like when we reach the public sphere.
Many of us don't have a clear picture of where we're going or what we want to accomplish. If we don't settle this before our "public performance," we may not be able to tell if we succeeded or not, regardless of the results.
Each of us has a distinct purpose as well as varied aims and ambitions. We may never realize our ambitions if we are unable to adequately describe that aim. It needs to start from the inside out. Is it possible for us to be conscious of our own existence?
3. The Excuses Are Nonsense.
When we fail, most of us have a long list of explanations and justifications. These are often acceptable justifications.
There can be no justifications or justifications for the Samurai warriors. If you don't succeed, you don't succeed. It makes no difference whether your reasons for failure are impeccable. You were unable to succeed.
And, if we learn anything from the Samurai, it's that there's strength in never having a reason. What is the reason behind this?
Because explanations frequently supply us with justifications for continuing to act in a dysfunctional manner. We seldom strive to examine ourselves and our flaws unless we have a reason for our failure.
Excuses keep us from taking a hard look at our personal flaws.
I've seen that many people in various organizations, including mine, will point to a flaw as the reason for their failure. Instead of repairing themselves, they focus on how the world (or the office!) needs to be fixed, but never on themselves.
The most effective method to change the world is to change yourself first. Having strong arguments and excuses, on the other hand, is a certain means of blaming others and avoiding seeing the "log in your eye."
Determine in your heart, like the Samurai did, that anytime you fail to achieve something or miss your aim or aims, you must first and foremost look at yourself. Remove the requirement for a rationale. There will be no more excuses.
4. Continuous Improvement
Musashi, who lived from 1584 to 1645 and wrote a treatise on the Samurai Bushido code, emphasized another crucial point. He stated that one of the most significant aspects of life achievement is to "constantly develop your talents and knowledge."
Musashi and the Samurai warriors recognized the significance of continuous progress more than 500 years ago.
Many of us are content with the status quo. We prefer consistency in our lives and despise change. Musashi also emphasizes the need to maintain an "open and responsive mind" throughout the book.
We must continue to learn and grow as a result of our experiences. Learning is a difficult process since it demands us to modify our mindsets, skillsets, behaviors, and even our abilities and capabilities. It is never simple to change. We must, however, continually alter and learn in order to improve and become great.