Warrior tending to a garden or a gardener in a war?

It is better to be a warrior tending to a garden than a gardener in a war

I use this phrase to enforce why I must stay in shape physically and mentally. If I am able to conquer the harder things, I may be more prepared to deal with the easier.

A battle is not relegated solely to the physical, the “enemy” might not be as obvious as one may assume. How many people do you know, yourself included, battle addiction or a psychological condition? How about more benign battles, like those in the office or at home? And then there’s the obvious question: do you know how to fight?

The hubris of that statement made my head spin. Aren’t we all fighting battles at any given time? Battles others know nothing about? Aren’t we all warriors?

Next, we ought to deal with the fact that most of the fights one undertakes throughout a lifetime are rarely physical and/or violent. I say this with the understanding that it only takes one violent encounter to put your life in peril and that you should prepare for those as well. But I will let others tell you how to do battle with your body and how to train in the handling of weapons.

What I would like to do, if you’ll allow me, is to show you how to prepare and fight your daily battles; to become a warrior in the garden.

The answers to the questions below may appear obvious at first glance, but I implore you to meditate on it.

1. What is a battle?

For the purpose of this writing, a battle is any conflict in which you find yourself antagonized by an object, person or circumstance. These things we will call “the enemy”. From your inner demons to that balanced glass of whiskey staring up at you that you no longer wish to have, from that sales person trying to hit their quota to your boss breathing down your neck to hit yours. Battles come in all shapes and sizes, and once you recognize them your next determination should be if they are worth the fight.

2. Why are you fighting?

For your own sanity, a salary increase, ego? This question is going to determine your level of commitment because once you are in a fight you are in it to win it. Which brings us to the last question:

3. What does victory look like?

Do you want to stop drinking for one day? Do you want your friend to recognize that your political views have merit? Do you need your victory to be absolute or will you accept incremental steps?

The warrior in the garden fights to achieve peace or balance. At the end of each battle, that goal is in mind. Any result that leaves you open to another conflict is not a victory.

A one-size-fits-all approach to fighting your daily battles, can this be achieved? I would argue that yes, it is possible. As expressed before, battles come in all shapes and sizes but the way you fight depends on the same three elements: Skills and Knowledge (as one), Choices, and Opportunities.

Skills and knowledge: Anything that you know or have trained for and anything you can learn or can train for (public speaking, accounting, karate, etc.).

Choices: The more pertinent skills you have available to you, the more confident you will become in your decision-making ability. In a fight, indecision kills, bad decisions too.

Opportunities: Confidence in your skills and in your decision-making abilities will allow you to not only recognize an opening but to actually make them.

Let us use two fighters inside a ring as an example. A boxer is skilled in the use of his fists. A fighter who can also use his legs to strike has more choices in the battle. But for both fighters, understanding their skills and the choices available to them will allow them to see and create opportunities for striking.

If you are skilled at persuasion you have better than average choices to move an argument in your direction or even find the opportunity to convince your opponent that your point of view has merit. This holds true for the great majority of your daily battles.

What is important now is to recognize which skills are useful to you in a fight and which skills you need to acquire. I will expand on these three elements in greater detail in upcoming posts. For now, I want to leave you with this: Everyone is a warrior fighting a battle you know nothing about. The world is a battlefield, your life a constant war, and the ultimate goal of the warrior is peace. Let us become warriors in the garden, let us get ready for the fight.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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