The path to mastery in any skill is a lifetime of labor in a pursuit that is both worthy and enjoyable. Over time the laborer receives the benefit of personal mastery as well.
Personal mastery is the end state for a warrior, whose labor is the preparation and conduct for warfare. We can also include in the warrior class anyone who dares to step up to challenge wrong-doing, evil or treachery. We need more of this latter group as we head into the next stage of our “we/me generation” where the collective mentality and shallow individualism will likely intrude forcefully upon individual rights and responsibilities.
The warrior path can be a lonely path, requiring humility and sacrifice. When the path is well worn, the warrior’s efforts are rewarded solely with internal gifts. There is no parade or vaults of precious heirlooms. The rewards are humility, grace, and honor, which are priceless.
The Master shows grace and humility in the face of difficulty, especially when the difficulty involves an obligation. Honor is at stake. The bitter pill swallowed strengthens resolve, as well as the reputation of the master. Word spreads that they are men or women of honor who meet their commitments. Resisting the challenge has the opposite effect. Resolve is weakened and reputation obscured.
The Master is humbled in the understanding that he or she can’t control anything but his or her mind. Humility begins with this acknowledgement – most things are out of our control. Thus it becomes far more practical to face a challenge and harness the fear associated with being out of control. It makes us stronger. The saying “the temporary pain of discipline is far better than the permanent pain of regret” captures this essence.
Humble acceptance keeps us leaning into our challenges, meeting our commitments, and allows us to leave this world with no regrets. Ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice to gain humility? Are you on the right path? What regret will you have at the end, if you don’t take action to fulfill your God given purpose?
When is the right time?