Miyamoto Musashi is recognised as one of the greatest warriors who ever lived. A Samurai who was famous for using two swords at once. He went his entire life undefeated as a Samurai winning over 60 duels in the process. Miyamoto Musashi was known far and wide for his achievements. His 20 rules for life that were followed religiously for generations. Not being as well known in western culture we have compiled his famous list below, hopefully you can apply some of his teachings to your own life.
1. Accept life, as it is.
To be mentally strong you must accept life’s difficulties, we all have doubts, fears and challenges. How you approach them will determine your outcome.
2. Do not actively seek pleasure
Live in the moment, do not chase pleasure but appreciate when it comes naturally.
3. Acting on an impulsive emotion is wrong
Miyamoto Musashi believed following one’s heart was wrong, for decisions that appear from thin air are rarely well thought out. We should know what we want and not act on emotion.
4. Don’t self-obssess
If we focus on ourselves too much, we can easily miss out on the real meanings of life.
5. Jealousy should not affect your life
Jealousy is a powerful form of hatred. Miyamoto Musashi says that if we get stuck in a world of jealousy we can easily destroy ourselves, he notes be grateful for what you have, for true abundance.
6. Lower your desire
Desire is striving for things we do not have. Miyamoto Musashi suggests we should not want more than what we have, but rather wait for things to come to us.
7. No regrets
We need to learn that the past is something that will not change, and need to learn to accept that. Musashi’s belief was that everything in life happens for a particular reason. We often learn after much suffering that was happened in our past prepared us for our future. We must be patient to learn why.
8. Remove sad separations from your mind
Having sorrow over someones death or departure prevents us from moving forward with our lives. Miyamoto Musashi believes if we cannot bring those people with us there is no point in being sad.
9. No complaints
We can all fall into the habit of complaining, but it is damaging to our mental strength, we must learn to endure. Musashi’s advice is to leave our problems where they are, in the past, so that our past doesn’t trap us.
10. Don’t let lust control your life
We are erotic creatures by nature, but many people spend time being controlled by lust. According to Miyamoto Musashi we should focus on love and long term relationships instead as they are much more constructive in the long run.
11. Keep your options open
Do not become narrow minded, accept all possible actions as a way to move forward, if we keep our options we are ready to allow better things into our lives.
12. Don’t be a slave to society
People that spend their lives chasing material possessions are buried in the same size hole when they die. Focus on building character for that will be remembered much longer.
13. Don’t be gluttonous
Miyamoto Musashi believed food was fuel for the body, we do not need to indulge in gluttony to obtain adequate nutrition. A warrior understands food as a tool to be utilized, not a pleasure to be abused.
14. Practise minimalism
Musashi believed that we do not need many things to be happy, if we have things we don’t need we should get rid of them, and focus on leading a simpler and purer life.
15. Do not follow the crowd
Don’t believe everything you are told, we must learn to form our own opinions, and follow our own ideas.
16. Respect the gods, but do not rely solely on their guidance
Show respect, but do not depend on the gods for a saviour, we must save ourselves and forge our own path.
17. Do not fear death
If we fear death, we can not live life fully. Do not fear the outcome of every action. Live bravely in the moment.
18. Only use weaponry when necessary
Miyamoto Musashi was a famous swordsman who remained undefeated in over 60 duels, but he believed that attacking someone for no reason was a sin, but that self-defense was a right.
19. Get rid of possessions you don’t need, live in the moment
Live simply, possessions distract from our lives not add to it. If you don’t need it, get rid of it.
20. Protect your honour
Musashi taught that we must follow our own beliefs. Live with integrity and honour, and do what you believe is morally correct.