The Peaceful Warrior

In this video, we have Dan Millman speaking about the lessons he teaches in his book the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. The book eventually became a best-seller, is now apparently available in thirty three languages and has become the basis for a movie starring Nick Nolte as Socrates. Yes, I know, you thought it could never happen, right?

Listening to Dan speaking, we can definitely hear something of the teaching from habit #1 (Be Proactive) in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You will, no doubt remember that habit #1, stated briefly, encompasses the idea that you can’t control what life throws at you, but you can control your reaction to it.

Where I do think this book scores is in its overall approach. It uses the parable style of teaching, which I personally love, to tell a learning story in which the master or guru instructs the student in the way of the Peaceful Warrior, a bit like the Kung Fu movie, upon which the TV series starring David Carradine was based – but without the violence.

Of course, the Kung Fu TV series was not as good as the film, but still, I used to enjoy watching it. I also love Eddie Izzard’s skit in which he sums up the TV programs as following a certain, well-trodden formula that went a bit like this:

“I will not fight you.”

“I will not fight you.”

“If I fight you, I have lost.”

“Oh … all right then … biff – bam – sock – kick.”

“Now, let that be a lesson to you.”

Perhaps I’ve got a bit of Batman mixed up in there, but I do remember it well. They don’t make programs like that anymore.

So, in Dan’s book, the guru teaches the student by telling him repeatedly that he is a ‘jackass’ and he does this until the student finally gets the message that the teacher is not making the student angry; the student is actually doing that for himself.

The message is that you are responsible for your own emotions. But like many lessons we have to learn in life, it is one thing to know that you are responsible and it is entirely another to actually take that responsibility upon yourself. Such is the power of this kind of learning.

“Ah yes grasshopper, when you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave this place.”

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