Victus Spiritus


The Kensai Sacrifices Everything to Master the Sword

26 Mar 2010

What matters most is conviction

A recurring theme of mine is the vital importance of aligning motivation with work. In order to discover and complete our finest work, genuine interest and passion must serve as both our compass and guide. But passion alone won't get us all the way there. The driving goal has to matter, to ourselves and to those who choose to make the journey with us. The projects worth sacrificing our time and live's to need to have substance and be deeply aligned with what we want to achieve. I like to play twice as much as the next guy, but in order to succeed at my current goal (breathing life into a startup that matters) I'm more than willing to sacrifice entertainment and leisure temporarily.

At my dayjob there are short periods (weeks up to a couple of months) where we put everything else aside and just crank. But that effort can't compare to one I "own". In ancient Japan the Kensai (sword saint) sacrifices everything to master the sword. This kind of conviction can't be simulated when working for someone else. This thinking will play a large role in how I plan to maintain team focus over extended periods.

Causes and excuses

To succeed at our biggest life challenges we must maintain vigilance for excuses that masquerade as causes. There's an ocean of difference between these two labels. A cause is evidence, a direct and measurable conditional event or decision, often times outside of our control. An excuse is a rationale tacked onto a decision after the fact, to explain an undesirable outcome. The best way to differentiate between an excuse and a cause is to fully understand what was known, and what can be influenced or changed. If a positive outcome could reasonably have resulted from a different decision, it's better to own up to to the mistake and learn from it. Excuses most costly curse is that they nullify the learning process. Identical errors will be repeated, leaning on the same flimsy excuses as causes. I'm guilty of more than my fair share of excuses. The best method to eliminate excuses is straight forward: recognize them in yourself.

The road to success is clearly visible only after surviving a legion of trials. Best of luck friends, may we all get there before our energy leaves us