“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse.” ~ Carlos Casteneda
There’s a profound difference between the ordinary man and the warrior, and it has not to do with their physical attributes and gifts, but everything to do with their view of the world and of life. While the real man curses his starting point, his setbacks, and even those shitty days that are shrouded in darkness, the warrior sees it all as one big challenge.
The Tale of Two Men
There are two men, one, a warrior, the other of the ordinary variety. Both start with the same misfortunes, riddled with poverty and weaknesses. Somewhere along their paths, however, the warrior began to see these setbacks not as misfortunes, but as challenges, and as challenges, he chose not to see them as a burden, but as an opportunity. The ordinary man, however, continuously compared his life to those of others, seeing his setbacks as curses, not as the opportunities that he very easily could have seen them as.
As they grew, the warrior grew, but the ordinary man, for the most part, remained the same.
The ordinary man lived a small life because he didn’t see the point in working. He saw how the odds were stacked against him and figured it best not to even try. Why try if you’re inevitably going to fail? He’d try to work harder, for a time, but he’d never get the promotion. He worked harder in sports, for a period, yet he still wasn’t the best.
The warrior, on the other hand, went about things in a different way, thinking in a different light. He saw his setbacks as opportunities to prove himself, and not to others, but to himself. He saw the odds that were stacked against him and relished the opportunity to conquer them. So, he hustled. And when he failed, he learned the lessons he needed to learn, and he went back to work.
To him, failure wasn’t the end, it was merely a lesson.
Alas, quitting could never happen. It wasn’t a possibility. Not for him.
As the ordinary man stayed small, the warrior grew, he extended himself, he became smarter, tougher, and more resilient. He became more self-reliant. He acquired grit. He saw that any journey was a lifelong journey. So when the ordinary man would work hard for a time, the warrior would work hard for all time. His work never ended. Failure always came, but it would soon leave, and greener pastures would be once again on his horizon.
In the end, the ordinary man, with his view that life was a series of blessings and curses, grew envious of those he felt were in a better position than he. He became cynical about society. He thought that success and happiness weren’t things that were in his hands. He thought they were things you were either born into, or not. He, in his own eyes, had no real power.
He became hunched over in his posture. He couldn’t see the good in life, only the bad. He hated those who were living the life he wanted to live, all the while not knowing that the life was always within his grasp had he seen the world as the warrior had.
The warrior, on the other hand, accomplished a lot in life. He lived his dream life, filled with ups and downs, and much more failure than the ordinary man, but much more success and happiness as well. Even in his depths he saw the light, because it was all a part of the never-ending challenge of life. He grew into a strong man who stood tall with pride and power. People wanted to be around him. His mindset was infectious. He had more friends than any man needed. While the ordinary man was left alone with his misery, the warrior was accompanied by his friends and family and his purpose.
Wherever you are in life, you have a choice. You can choose to see life as the warrior did, as a challenge, or you can choose to see your life as a series of curses. The key is that it’s your choice. Choose wisely, my friend, your life depends on it.