Medieval Warrior Helmet

The Tale Of The Warrior And The Coward

“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.

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  • anonymous

    this article is the best :)

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

      Thanks!

  • John Daoust

    Not sure how you come up with all these great works but keep it up. Gives a guy something to really think about. Thank you for that.

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

      Appreciate it man. Humbled. Glad you found some value.

  • Davide Sanzullo

    Chad, I’m following your blog from Rome, Italy! Your work is really inspirational, keep it up! ;)

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

      Very cool! I’ll be in Rome on Sunday for a few months. Any chance you could give me some tips on where to go? Email me if you get a second – chad@chadhowsefitness.com

  • Marco

    Chad you’re great! Any time for a thin guy who want bulk up? I’m trying so hard but nothing

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

      Of course! Shoot me an email and I’ll give you some tips – chad@chadhowsefitness.com

  • http://aggressiveevolution.com Ryan Kuchel

    “He saw his setbacks as opportunities to prove himself, and not to others, but to himself.”

    I can relate to this. When I’m in the gym running off low sleep, the only thing my mind is doing is trying to convince me that I can miss it just this once, with valid excuse after valid excuse.

    I laugh at these stupid thoughts and put the bar on my back and squat it. I say to myself:

    “If you can’t do this because you’re feeling sleep deprived, how are you going to have to strength to achieve all of your other goals?”

    Adversity is your chance to show yourself what you’re capable of.

    Awesome work man.

    Ryan

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

      WELL SAID! … and well done too man.

  • Doc

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

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

      Brilliant

  • Doc

    The quotes below are by Theodore Roosevelt… it about says it all:

    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
    Theodore Roosevelt quotes (American 26th US President (1901-09), 1858-1919)

  • 82nd11B

    I wish people would stop using the word warrior as a description or even metaphor for non-military endeavors. A warrior is an infantryman, cavalry trooper i.e. tanker, artilleryman, the crew of a warship or an military aircraft carry weapons. Their job is to destroy the enemy of his nation, or their will to fight. As a combat infantryman & paratrooper I have my prejudices to who is truly a warrior, who has been through the test of combat but I accept anyone who has carried arms for our nation. This is a great article for the concepts of honor, perceverance & perhaps duty, but not what a warrior is, even as a metaphor. I would also remind you the vast majority of the grunts that do the killing for this nation are peasants. I do not care what Carlos Castenada says; more like George Patton. And when I see nonsense like “that golfer is a real warrior” or “Rainbow Warrior” sorry, but I want to puke. So please use some other word – gentleman*, good man, honest man not warrior. * one of the most abused words these past few decades. I saw a film on Pelican Island “gentlemen, please place your bags in front of you”