10 ways to live like a warrior: a code of honour for a better life
The concept of honour may be ancient, but it can never be out-dated. You don’t need to slay dragons or rescue maidens to follow a warrior code – it’s as valid in a modern family or a business setting as it was in days of old.
Being a decent human being is its own reward – when you know you’re basically a good person instead of a slimy, back-stabbing weasel, it makes you feel good inside.
Long-term, it can win you warm and loving relationships based on genuine liking instead of smarmy flattery. It can get you further in life than any amount of clever scheming and office politics. And it can give you a better life – instead of trying to achieve a popularity-seeking, artificial personality you’ll never truly possess, you’ll have a life based on what you really are.
Because what you really are is someone worth knowing.
CODE OF HONOUR FOR A MODERN WARRIOR
1. I will be worthy of respect
It’s much easier to command respect if you know you deserve it. So many of us put up with jobs and relationships where we don’t get what we want because we can’t convince ourselves we deserve anything better. Believe that you are a worthwhile person, and spend your time and energy on what’s worth doing.
2. I will speak the truth and keep my word
The truth can be a powerful tool. It can also be hurtful, but that’s not what this is about. If you can be relied upon to give gentle but honest opinions when you’re asked, your advice will be more worth having. If you stick to agreements you’ve made and and keep your promises whenever you possibly can, you’ll be liked and trusted.
3. I will give of myself and fulfil my duty
Being ready to carry out what’s expected of you and then willing to go the extra mile without being asked – that’s a quality which is appreciated everywhere, especially by employers. But your duty doesn’t stop when you catch the train home from work. What about duty to older relatives? Moral or religious duty? Duty to contribute in some way to your local community or the world? Duty to your family? That doesn’t mean you should try to give your children everything they want – just everything they need. Including a good example to follow.
4. I will face my fears with bravery and find the confidence to trust my own judgment
It’s not dishonorable to be afraid of real dangers – it’s common sense. For example, trying to arm-wrestle a polar bear isn’t a brave, worthy thing to do – it’s bloody stupid! Being afraid to enter a burning building to rescue someone isn’t cowardice, but your survival instinct. It’s important to use your judgment to decide if your instincts are keeping you safe or if your fear is irrational.
It’s often hard to overcome your fears, but no one claimed being a warrior was an easy life. Facing the fear of ridicule by taking up a hobby or job that’s not considered ‘cool’ could enrich your life. Overcoming your fear of rejection to reach out and make new friends, or start a new relationship, could be the bravest thing you’ve ever done. Making a business decision to take a reasonable risk can be the one step further needed to achieve success.
If your efforts all went horribly wrong, thinking through your mistakes and then bracing yourself to fight on and try again is what makes a warrior.
5. I will endure hardships with dignity and persevere until I reach my goals
Hard work is never wasted, if the end result is worth achieving – whether it’s scrubbing a filthy floor to protect your kids or putting in years of study after work to get an Open University degree. A warrior knows the best things in life don’t always come easily and is ready to go without luxuries or do whatever needs to be done for a better future.
6. I will be loyal and deserving of trust
Who deserves your loyalty? Your country, your partner, your family, your friends, your employer, your football team? If there’s a clash of loyalties, which should come first?
If you’ve given your allegiance, take time to think about what that means in real terms. Loyalty to your country means more than hoping they win gold medals in the next Olympics – it means obeying the law. Loyalty to your partner involves making time for shared experiences, being supportive and pointing out their good qualities to people who criticise them – and it doesn’t mean staying technically ‘faithful’ but flirting with sexy Sam from Accounts at the office party.
7. I will defend the weak and have the courage to stand up for what I believe to be right
The knights of olden days had a saying: Noblesse oblige. In other words, a noble life brings the obligation to help others where we can, to bring justice where there is unfairness and to speak out against wrongdoing.
You wouldn’t have caught Sir Lancelot shrugging and saying, ‘Hey – it’s not my problem, babe.’ (tweet this)
8. I will take only what is rightfully mine
Of course you’re not a thief, but this means more than that. You’ll be happy to take on your fair share of the less pleasant duties at work and at home, and you won’t take advantage of others’ good nature or lack of knowledge to grab more than your share of the good things.
You won’t take credit for others’ hard work and you’ll own up if you’re at fault and try to put things right. You’ll declare all your income to the tax office, not just the bits they’ll find out about anyway. You won’t describe that mobile phone you’re selling on Ebay as ‘in excellent condition’ when you know darn well it doesn’t always charge properly. You won’t cheat to pass exams, or tell lies to receive better treatment. You won’t watch a pirated DVD any more than you’d wear stolen clothes.
You won’t go out with your mates five nights a week while expecting your partner to stay at home and babysit. And – hardest of all – you won’t buy two delicious cream cakes, enjoy your own and then decide to scoff your partner’s before they get home!
9. I will seek always to be a better person
No one’s perfect. Warriors practise for hours to learn new skills, aren’t too proud to listen to others and learn from them, take time to reflect on their characters and life targets and think of ways to improve themselves – then make the effort to change.
10. And to this I pledge my sword.
Making a firm commitment to your code of honour and sticking to it even when things get tough is what being a warrior is all about.
So, what is your Code of Honour? And do you just ‘give it a go’ now and then – or have you pledged your sword?