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    The first personal growth experts? The Samurai

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    Robert Maurer
    @robertmaurer
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    Personal growth pearls contained inHagakure - The secret book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo.

    A saying that dates back to the time of the daimio Katsushige teaches: "Put your foot wrong and fall seven times, get up eight and rise again."

    Hagakure (1, 128)

    When you are talking about personal growth names like: Anthony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, Stephen Covey, Steve Pavlina, Roberto Re come to mind (the list is far from exhaustive, it's my top 5 personal development authors ;-)). Yet it is possible to find the key concepts of personal growth in different cultures and historical periods.



    In this article I want to bring you some aphorisms taken from Hagakure, the book that handed down the ancient wisdom of the Samurai, and some practical tips to apply these tips in everyday life.

    Prioritize and act accordingly

    Among the maxims carved on the wall of the daimio Naoshige there was one that said: "The most serious matters must be treated lightly". Master Ittei commented: “Those less serious must be treated seriously”.

    Hagakure (1, 46)

    But these are all fools! Yes I admit, the first time I read the aphorism, this was the first thought that jumped into my mind. But reflecting deeply, I understood its real meaning: among the many challenges we face, there are never more than 2 or 3 that we must really take seriously. To solve these problems it is enough think about it in advance, and then treat them lightly when the time comes to deal with them. This means: studying an exam at the right times, avoiding spending money without control and then finding yourself in debt, keeping fit to safeguard your health, etc.



    In other cases, it happens instead of to neglect o postpone continuously issues that we consider not important, only to realize that these situations get out of hand. For this reason it is necessary to treat the apparently unimportant issues in the short term, but potentially decisive for the quality of our life, with the utmost seriousness. Examples are: routine medical checks, training, unnecessary small expenses, etc.

    Addressing challenges with the right attitude

    Something can be learned from a thunderstorm. When a downpour takes us by surprise, we try not to get wet by hurrying our steps, but also by trying to take shelter under the eaves we get soaked anyway. If, on the other hand, from the beginning, we accept to get wet, we will avoid any uncertainty and not for this reason we will get wet more. This awareness applies to all things.

    Hagakure (1, 79)

    As far as we can get away from this idea, life will always put us in front of thunderstorms: sometimes they will be short summer storms, on other occasions the rain will not abandon us for days. But between the occurrence of an event and our reaction to that event there is always a space: this space can be filled by our atteggiamento. Honestly, I don't think I can add anything else on this subject, because I believe I have had a very lucky life so far. However stories like that of Randy Pausch, the computer science professor author of “The last lesson. Life explained by a man who dies ”, or by the pilot Alex Zanardi, returned to racing despite a very serious car accident, remind me that if these men have been able to face terrible storms, we too can overcome the little rains of everyday life.


    Achieving your goals through focus

    When you are determined, the impossible does not exist: then you can move heaven and earth. But when man lacks courage, he cannot be persuaded. Moving heaven and earth effortlessly is a simple matter of concentration.



    Hagakure (1, 144)

    As you may have guessed, I am not a lover of the Law of Attraction, yet of the 3 key steps that allow you to apply it (1. Ask, 2. Believe, 3. Receive), I particularly appreciate the second: Believe. There determination, supported by a focus focused and constant on your goals, it is really able to make you move heaven and earth. However, determination and focus are muscles that must be trained daily: are you sure that wandering around the internet is the best way to spend your time right now? Perhaps it would be better to tap into your determination and shift your focus to a different action, taking a small step towards a goal that you think is important? And don't worry, you can always subscribe to the GetPersonalGrowth newsletter to not miss the next articles. ;-)


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