As many of you know, I have spent the last month on the back of a motorcycle, traveling, writing, and absorbing a lot of experiences. During that journey, although much of my writing was aimed at a specific project, I had a great deal of raw time to simply think.
In a lot of ways, this trip was like a monastic retreat, and on all those thousands of miles, the mind wanders down myriad pathways. As I prepare to put out the Complete Transmissions Volume 2, I wanted to get down on paper some of the thoughts I had while I was out there, although most of this will be contained within what is tentatively being called “Book 4.”
Book 4 will be equal parts travelogue, introspective, and grimoire, and has been one of the most rewarding pieces of writing I have done to date. In the meantime, here is the third installment in an ongoing series of articles I have done for Operation Werewolf. I call the following list,
“The Eleven Pathways,” and I believe that by following these rules, one can avoid many of the pitfalls of modern life, especially the directionless or unmotivated existence that befalls so many.
I hope you will find them useful, and be able to apply them in your own greater mission.
1. YOU ARE ALL YOU HAVE.
At the end of the day, the only thing that truly belongs to us is us. But what makes us who we are? What is it that defines us as humans? I recently had a long discussion with my friend and brother Jack Donovan regarding this concept, and the idea that only by creating do we actually become.
We can only be known to others by our body of work, and we can only make something of ourselves by making something in general. Those who do not produce merely consume, and those who do not build up are only capable of tearing down.
We must realize this and begin to understand our lives as a cross section of our body of work, whatever that may be. Consider the difference between an artisan who can be known by his blacksmithing, or a carpenter whose houses stand for hundreds of years, as opposed to someone who is known by 16 vapid posts a day on social media. Who is creating something lasting, something of value?
Once we begin to think in this fashion, we can “start the world,” so to speak, and begin cultivating, maintaining, and protecting that body of work which we present to the rest of the world. One of the ways in which this is done is by maintaining dignity. This word is one that I hear very little in this day and age, but its meaning is “the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.”
When we engage with the outside world, we should do so with consideration to how we are presenting ourselves at all times, and to ensure we are doing so with dignity. Allowing ourselves to be physically unkempt, lacking discipline, becoming obese or frail, all damages not only our own dignity, but that of our peers and families.
Showing the world the inner workings and problems of your personal relationships, airing dirty laundry on the internet or other public forum, being drunk and obnoxious- all of these sorts of things work against our dignity. That dignity and respect is something that we can only damage so much before it becomes irreparable- we must view it as a priceless thing, to be manicured, upkept, fed, and cared for as we would a prize horse. It is all we have with which to work.
2. TIME IS FINITE
I have heard people say “I don’t have the time,” so many times, I don’t have the time to hear it one more time. Mostly in relation to exercise or some other type of training, but also to many other endeavors, as in, “I’d love to do that one day, but I never have the time.”
Usually, this is complete and total bullshit. In a recent example a friend of mine was encouraging an acquaintance of his to take up jiu jitsu, to which the individual replied with the above excuse. The guy in question is single, works a normal nine to five, and has no children. My friend is a husband, a father, owns his own business, is in the process of building his own house, and still manages to practice “the bloodless art” at 6 am each day, and often makes time in the evening as well, and this is the key: time isn’t infinite, it must be allocated.
Everything we choose to do is at the cost of every other thing we didn’t. This means that all endeavors come at the sacrifice of every single other action that wasn’t performed instead- this makes time a precious resource and one that we must spend wisely and budget with intention and discipline!
Instead of saying we don’t have time, we should be honest and say “I don’t care enough about that or don’t have the discipline required to sacrifice other, more attractive things in order to make the space in my life for it.”
Those who want to conquer the world must first conquer their own schedule. If something is important, sacrifice for it. Cut out things that are less important, and watch the sacrifice “buy you more time.” Understand the meaning of sacrifice in a direct way, and utilize it as a tool to bring more meaning into your life.
3.YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS
When you set sights on your life mission, your Great Work, it must consume you. The mission must be all encompassing, all important. You must love it enough to never burn out or fade away.
In this life, you can either do what you want to do, and follow your dreams, or you can take orders and make someone else’s dreams a reality.
If you choose to be your own master, you can never lose focus of this- all of your actions and decisions must become consonant with this and constant as well. You have to become obsessed with your goals, and reject anything, any relationship, any concept that stands in the way or detracts from this.
To do anything else is to attempt to serve two masters. If you cannot maintain your own mission, at least be a good soldier in a better man’s- I would rather be an excellent second than a terrible first.
4. DON’T PLAN YOURSELF INTO NEVER STARTING
Planning is good, overplanning is the worst. Often, I have seen good ideas derailed by two things: overplanning and over-talking. Overplanning becomes a Gordian knot of worry, too much detail and specificity, and ultimately can lead to never beginning the endeavor at all. Best to get started and maintain fluidity than to never start. The best time to do something is always right now.
The second enemy is too much talking. When we talk too much about an action before we have launched into it, we crack open the container- we lose explosive force, like a motor with a crack in the cylinder, there is no compression because we have let it out too early.
Knowing when to keep things to yourself to generate more force and fire, and when to crack it open and unleash it is key to getting things done.
5. WILL BEATS MIND
An iron will trumps a brilliant mind. It may be best to have both, but determination and the ability to be tireless is better than a rapid fire intelligence. Both can be cultivated to a degree, but the will is more receptive to improvement than the brain.
Set yourself up for success by taking on challenges both great and small and seeing them through to the end. If you can set this idea of always getting through to the finish line with everything in life, you will be able to outwork those who may be smarter than you but less capable of pursuing the kill over hill and dale, inexhaustible, like a blood hound.
Break habits, work out, get up early, take cold showers, defeat your fears. All these things lead to an increase in the willpower which will serve you time and again. One good idea in the hands of the tireless is better than a thousand million dollar ones in the hands of the chronic quitter.
6. CHOOSE SOCIAL CURRENCY OR TRUE POWER
If you want to be popular, be popular- take care that you say nothing wrong, do nothing wrong, and spend no time with people who say and do things that are “unpopular,” and always be aware of the moving goalposts that determine this.
Cultivate within yourself the thirst for acknowledgement from all and sundry, and make statements often that are applaudable and very safe. Seek out friendships that are based on a mutual need for recognition and acceptance by the largest amount of people, and carefully watch what people are saying about you, in order to apologize or correct your behavior wherever necessary so that it falls in line with what the in crowd wants from you.
Never tie yourself to any belief, but maintain an ironic aloofness from anything too serious- being serious and unironic is a sign of conviction, and conviction is dangerous! Try to change what you do and like and listen to and wear as often as needs be to keep abreast of what new fads are going on around you, and spend a lot of your time on educating yourself on these things by watching TV, listening to popular music and feeling out the current narrative you need to uphold.
Alternatively, you can seek real power.
You can say what you feel, when it is appropriate, or keep your motives hidden, when it serves you best.
Spend time with powerful people who motivate you and educate you.
Disregard the moving goalposts and ever changing scenery and laws of political correctness and blaze your own trail. Associate with outlaws.
Cast aside the need for respect or love from those you do not respect or love.
Ignore what people say about you, and instead, be the best at what you do and allow your work to speak for itself.
Choose your convictions carefully, and then adhere to them with an iron will and a heart of fire. Never let down your peer group, and never surrender to the narrative of the day- create your own mythology and live it.
7. CONSTANTLY SELF EXAMINE
Place the same attention on the within as the without. We must thoroughly know ourselves honestly, and without guile or self deception. In order to do this, we must make the time for it.
We have to explore our negative attributes and work toward fixing them, or turning our devils into our servants by making our weaknesses into strengths.
Mostly, we must turn a merciless gaze inward and never accept from ourselves what we would not accept from anyone else. Be honest. Be ruthless, and be consistent.
8. GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT
Before you put something into your body or mind, ask “why?”
The things we consume are absorbed into our person, our physical form, our personality- avoid poisoning yourself with useless trash, and put in high octane instead.
The same goes for our output- before we speak, do, or punch the “enter” key on that comment, post, text, whatever- ask yourself WHY? Does this serve a positive function that is consonant with the Mission, or is it a frivolous act with no true purpose or motivation?
Take in quality, become quality, produce quality.
9. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
When it comes to figuring out “what you should do with your life,” the most obvious answer is the correct one. Don’t agonize over what the “right thing” is. You already know it, you are more than likely just avoiding it because it seems too obvious.
The same goes for people, places, things. The more you put in quality, the more tight the filter becomes, the more you can trust your worldview and instinct, until you naturally choose the consonant thing every time.
Remember the mission at all times, and act in accordance.
10. BE LIKE WATER
A commonly repeated quote from Bruce Lee, it bears repeating and remembering.
Rigidity doesn’t often work for a battle plan as well as fluidity because it doesn’t account for change in the movements on the battlefield. Strategy leads to success- rigid planning doesn’t.
We have to leave ourselves the option of flow, and to know when to adhere to the plan or to go off course and move like water, acting in the best way possible for the current situation.
What makes or breaks a good leader is their ability to act under pressure in adverse conditions. When water is placed into anything, it flows, it fills, it occupies space, and makes itself fit into the situation, knowing where to go and how.
11. KNOW WHEN TO BE LIKE STONE
In your life, you must be the commander of your destiny, not its lieutenant. There are times when the previous rule must be abandoned in favor of a hard approach.
Knowing the difference between the need for flow and the need for violent refusal to go with that flow is crucial. Sometimes we must remain like the oak, and resist with everything we have, in order to not be swept away- our conviction and loyalty to ourselves and our chosen peers must be monolithic, immovable, unbreakable, eternal.