10 Qualities of a Modern Day Warrior

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I hate putting the word “modern” next to the word warrior. Once a warrior always a warrior, I say. But the realities of our world are far different from those of warriors past; at least they appear to be on the surface…

The circumstances have changed. In the past a warrior knew his enemy. He fought with a clear purpose, to defend his family, and maintain or gain their freedom. To kill his enemy with his sword, he first had to bring himself within striking distance of his enemy’s weapon. Thus, to kill, he had risk his own death. Death was a daily occurrence (powerful and important). As a result, his death was accepted. There were no illusions surrounding his mortality or the preciousness of life because most of the men he knew never made it past 30 years.modern warrior

Today, my enemy doesn’t have a face. In fact, it isn’t a person or another nation or neighboring tribe. My enemy may be an idea that inhibits the freedom of my family, friends, and myself. It may be a line of thinking that removes freedom from my life or opposes my values. More often, however, my enemy is me.

This morning my enemy had already defeated me before I woke up, as I slept past my alarm (lack of discipline). It threatened me once again as I was tempted to check Facebook, Twitter, and my NFL Fantasy line-up before I started my day. Instead, I picked up a book and moved forward with my routine. Alas, notch one up for the good guys.

My enemy is my laziness. My enemy is my fear. My enemy tells me I can’t accomplish something, and that’s there’s no point of even trying. My enemy tells me not to stand up for what I believe because it’s unpopular, or to hide my values because they aren’t the norm, or to not speak my mind because no one’s listening.

The modern man doesn’t have the same relationship with his death as warrior’s past. His death isn’t accepted, and as a result, is feared even more. He fears his future, rather than focusing on what he can do in the present time. He fears his past and whether he’s done enough up to this point to be worthy of the challenges that lie ahead.

The modern warrior isn’t anything like your average modern man. He’s a throwback. Though his enemy isn’t as clear as it once was, he fights every single fucking day. He fights because that’s the nature of life. If you want to live, breath, improve, and evolve, you have to fight resistance from forces that want you to remain.

To live, you have to fight. That’s the nature of our existence. Man or woman, it doesn’t matter, if you want to live you have to fight.

To aid you in this fight, I’ve laid out the 10 qualities that make up the modern warrior. Use them. Let them help you grow into a stronger, better, more successful man.

10 Qualities of the Modern Warrior

It is better to live one day as a lion

Though modern times have made ease and laziness more accessible, the warrior continues to fight. The strenuous life is, and can be, his only way of life. To embrace ease, for the warrior, is worse than death. It’s giving up. It’s surrendering without honor. Let these qualities be yours in your battle that can never end.

I. Ambition.

Why have I put ambition in the first slot when a warrior of the past fought for the man to the right or left of him, and not for his own gain or glory?

Fighting, in today’s sense, means moving forward. It means providing for your loved ones, using your talents, and not waisting your opportunities. To fight in today’s society, a man needs ambition. He needs to help others by doing the very best he possibly can with the talents he’s been given.

He needs to hustle.

It’s through hustling that he’ll be tested. His endurance will be tested, as will his purpose, his courage, and his honor. If the modern warrior doesn’t push himself and instead accepts a life of ease, he’s not a warrior. The modern warrior is in the arena, he’s in Teddy Roosevelt’s Strenuous Life.

This is his battle. And a man without a battle, a man without a fight or something to fight for, isn’t a warrior.

Ambition, I have come to believe, is the most primal and sacred fundament of our being. To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence. ~ Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

II. Definiteness of Purpose.

Why do you exist? Who do you exist for? What are you working for? Who are you working for?

Answer these questions. A warrior must know why he’s fighting.

The man that wakes up with a purpose can call himself a warrior. The man that wakes up for no reason, purpose, and with no direction, needs to create one and find one, his life depends on it.

There are those who haven’t found a great purpose yet. To be honest, mine’s still evolving and growing. It will continue to do so for the remainder of my life as I continue to evolve and grow. The one thing I try to do, and you need to do as well, is to continue to move forward. A warrior isn’t static, he’s always moving.

Set aside a few days to create clarity with this quality. Head out in nature. Bring a book or a notebook and remove yourself from the noise and commotion of daily life. Answer these questions…

  • What do I want to do everyday for the rest of my life?
  • Where do I want to be in 5, 10, 60 years?
  • If failure weren’t an option, what would I want my legacy to look like?

In order to hustle while others rest, in order to feel the electricity of truly living, a man, a warrior, must know his purpose. He has to know what he’s working towards, what he’s creating, and why he’s here. It may take decades to answer these questions, but try and answer them nonetheless.

III. Physical Strength & Skill in Battle.

Fear is okay. It’s a good thing. But you can’t be a pussy and call yourself a real man. Weakness doesn’t exist anywhere in the definition of a warrior. Moments of weakness, of course, but not someone whose essence is weak.

You can’t let fear stop you from walking your streets, trying new things, and defending someone who needs defending. You can’t be a victim, physically or otherwise. You can’t march down Wall Street begging for equality and doing nothing to create your own equality. You can’t ask for handouts without the intention of paying them back. You can’t ask for others to defend you when you wouldn’t do the same for them.

Cowards are not only spreading like termites, they’re in power. They’re making decisions yet failing to be effected by those decisions.

Strength brings about confidence. So get in the fucking gym and start building confidence!

Feel the pain coursing through your muscles as you push for one more rep. Feel your lungs burning as you near the final bell of a fight. Feel the satisfaction that comes from growing stronger. Feel what it’s like to be a man!

It took me months of saying I was going to, before I actually walked into the boxing gym. I was worried by what the more seasoned fighters would say, what the trainer would say. And guess what happened on that first day?

I got my ass kicked! The trainer at the gym wasn’t paying much attention, and he put me in the ring to spar – yes, on my first day – with a guy who’d fought in the nationals. The guy was an insecure prick. As such, he took it upon himself to “show me the ropes”.

I did what I could, hitting him as often and as hard as I could, but he clearly got the better of me. And as I walked out of the ring with a crooked nose, and a red shirt that was once grey, I had, at the very least, earned his respect and the respect of every other fighter in the gym.

I gained confidence from doing something that I was worried about, even fearful of. I gained confidence from giving almost as good as I was getting. And as I progressed as a fighter, I gained confidence from knowing, not wondering or imagining, but knowing that I could handle myself.

Learn skill in battle to remove fear, doubt, and the desire to prove yourself to others from the equation.

Let this program help you in your journey: Strong Like a Warrior

courageIV. Endurance of the Mind, Body, & Spirit.

Quitting isn’t in the warrior’s vocabulary. As they say, death before dishonor. Quitting isn’t honorable. When you’ve created endurance in your mind, body, and spirit, you make it easier to face that voice inside your head that continually tells you to quit.

Endurance is forged through pain.

Push your body beyond what it can currently accomplish, and do the same with your mind and spirit. Work longer hours. Hustle. See where your limits are, and break through them.

In life, as in business, it’s those who fail to quit that succeed. So many could have reached their goals or created their dream had they not quit. Had Edison quit at 9,999 attempts, he would have never created the lightbulb. We gloss over this example because we’ve heard it so many times. But think about it. Be there. Have you done anything 10,000 times?

Endure your hardships not because you have no other option, but because these hardships are what makes you a warrior. It’s the tough times that will one day bring you happiness, success, and courage. Embrace them. Enjoy them. Rejoice that they’re yours and no one else’s. These long, hard roads are where lessons are learned and warriors are created.

V. Honor.

Honor is rare in today’s society for the same reasons that hard work eludes the majority as well. When ease becomes the norm, the easy way out does as well. Honor is doing the hard thing because it’s also the right thing, when the easy thing is right in front of your face, and no one would know which path you chose.

This is what makes honor so difficult, it’s only the man in the mirror that can hold you accountable. It’s internal. It isn’t for show, when everything in this world seems to be about appearance, not substance.

Without honor, a man cannot be called a warrior. In its absence he’s merely a hired hand, a mirage, a facade. He must be honorable to his allies and his enemies, his friends and his foes. Honor doesn’t waver. It’s a constant.

How do you develop honor?

You have to first know what is right. In your heart, you may know, but your weakness will allow you to rationalize the other options. When you know what the right thing is, you then have to have the courage to practice it and carry it out.

Never cheat to get ahead.
Always help someone in need.
Never compromise your values. Ever.
Never be, or see yourself as, a victim.
Never stab a man in the back even if he’s done it to you.

The warrior continues to live by a code of honor even when everyone around him is lying, cheating, and compromising their values to get ahead.

Though you’ll make many mistakes, a man of honor, a warrior, owns up to them. He stands while others fall. He fights while others flee. Death isn’t a concern of his, he’s accepted it. In modern times, failure isn’t a concern of his, he’s accepted that it happens, he’s also accepted that to fail to try is the way of the coward, and that is not who he is.

Stay your course if your course is one of honor, founded by the values of a warrior. You will waver, but always come back to the course you’ve set for yourself.

VI. Compassion.

Of course, the word war exists in warrior, so that’s the part of the essence of a warrior that we constantly focus on. But what about compassion?

A warrior doesn’t fight for his own gain or for himself, but for his family, his nation, his friends, his fellow warriors. Everything about a warrior screams compassion. It screams selflessness.

In today’s society we need more creators, innovators, and hustlers. We need more people taking it upon themselves to ensure the welfare of their families and their society. Once they’ve reached a certain point, they need compassion. They need to give back. They need to help others rise up and create their own fruits of labor.

While a modern warrior works, struggles, and strives, he must also help others along the way.

VII. Faith.faith

Faith shouldn’t be blind. That’s a misconception that limits faith, it impedes its power, it weakens its resolve. Faith should be founded on sound principles and facts. You shouldn’t believe so much as you should know.

So how does a warrior have faith, especially in today’s society?

Well, for one, in today’s world its even more important. We’re losing our sense of community, our support systems, and our families. The greatest source of unhappiness today, is loneliness. Loneliness, though, isn’t something we should run from, but embrace. And the only way you’re going to be able to forge a path on your own, is with faith.

You need faith to do anything of great value. You need the faith that what you’re doing is both the right thing to do – which is where your compass for honor comes in – and that it will be a success. If you don’t think that you’re going to be successful, if you lack that faith – in any venture or adventure – your beliefs will become your reality.

The road of the warrior is long and arduous. Whether the warrior holds a sword or a pen, he walks alone because most others are too afraid to accompany him on his journey. He walks off the beaten path, in the face of reason, and it’s in the face of reason that we need faith. Keep Marching on Page II >>>>

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  • Will

    Recently found your blog and love your articles Chad! This site has quickly become my go-to for some instant motivation. Your no-nonsense, unapologetic style is perfect and its refreshing to see someone talking about the real virtues and values of being a man and not just a bunch of macho cliches. I agree our generation as a whole is weaker and it’s good to see someone else taking the road less traveled and trying to break the mold. Keep up the good work brother!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks, Will!

      It’s funny, the more I write the more opinionated I get because my opinions and values and beliefs are becoming clearer everyday. It’s good to see I’m not alone in this!

  • Alexander

    Hey Chad, is there a way I can send you a personal message? I don’t know if you remember me, I posted something on one of your posts in June, and you seemed to really like it because you said you’d save the comment? Anyway, I have some questions and doubts and even insecurities I would like to ask you. If not, I will just post them up here, but I’d prefer it if it was private.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Fire me an email man – chad@chadhowsefitness.com

  • Nikita Zarouba

    Chad, I recently stumbled on your site and you have become a person that I look up to. These articles make me want to become a better person not only for myself, but also so that I may be able to help those around me. Thank you very much for your work and I hope you will continue to help people like me to find their inner warrior!

  • Dustin

    I don’t believe you did but when you said. “To kill his enemy with his sword, he first had to bring himself within striking distance of his enemy’s weapon. Thus, to kill, he had risk his own death.” Did you imply that modern warriors (soldiers, Marines, etc…) don’t face the same risks as they once did?

    More importantly, that was an amazing read and I really enjoyed it like always. Keep up the good work motivator!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Hey man, that comment isn’t meant to diminish the risk and dangers that marines face today. It’s just a comment on the changing nature of war. Pressfield talks about it in The Warrior Ethos – great book, pick it up. And thanks man!

  • http://performdestiny.com/ Kevin Cole

    God damn that’s a value-packed post.

    I seriously couldn’t agree more with the points you made. Even though you pretty much covered it, I feel another important aspect of a warrior is taking a stand. It can be for anything a man desires, but taking a stand is so huge. It’s the difference between living life in neutral versus living life in drive.

    Keep rocking it bro.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Well said! Appreciate it man. Good to see you on here.

  • Phan Tam Quyen

    I think you should have mentioned flexibility. A real warrior should have flexibility in everything he do, have a plan and a back up plan. Understand the complexity and able to simplify it. What do you think?

  • Spencer

    Hey man, I haven’t been on here for a while, and I truly am sorry. Your articles, especially ones like this one, really get me thinking about who I am now, how far I have come and how much farther I want to go. I don’t plan on giving up, because life is like a marathon. I plan on running this race to the end, no matter how hard it gets, no matter what tribulation I face, and no matter what happens. There will be times that go perfectly to plan, times that are like those golden miles in literal marathoning where you feel so good you feel like you could run forever.

    But no matter what happens, I WILL NOT GIVE UP.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/blog/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks for the comment man, great to hear from you, keep at it!