The progression of the work, good performance, never-slackening attention, knowing the utility of things and the relative spirits of the men, plus giving encouragement—all such things are within the master carpenter’s frame of mind. The principles of the martial arts are like this.
The Way is the same in all things. All worthwhile professions & pursuits have a path.
Worthwhile pursuits have paths for life. You learn and you teach.
Even if you refuse to choose a path you are still walking, albeit in circles, dying not far from where you lived. Born a beginner, dying a beginner.
Fulfillment comes from distance traveled on the path. This is The Way.
The master carpenter frames houses; individuals frame their lives. The principles of the master carpenter apply to all of us.
The Principles of the Master Carpenter’s Mind
- The progression of the work.
- Good performance.
- Never-slackening attention.
- Knowing the utility of things and the relative spirits of the men, plus giving encouragement.
The Progression of the work
Find fulfillment moving forward on the path.
You have to be in the moment to understand where you are. Lingering in the past or the future has consequences.
The internet era is full of distractions because organizations want your attention for themselves at the expense of your path. Progress and distractions move at the same speed; as people contribute, there is more to consume. You have to be selective.
Create a framework to measure the progression of work. Because Musashi chose the sword as his primary path, his progression framework was easy to understand as it was life or death. Competition ensures your growth is real and useful. Without, it is theoretical.
Without a framework to measure progression, you will walk in circles and feel like you are going nowhere.
There are ways to work, to learn, to train, without improving.
An unfocused mind will turn itself off or out of what it is doing. This generates an unconscious life of monotonous moments that burns life at both ends with nothing to show for it. Long days, short years.
Walking in circles.
Completing tasks on the path does not move it forward; you need to improve to move forward. Whatever it is you practice to be great at, you need to be fully absorbed in the process in order to have good performance.
You need to lose yourself in the path. This is hard for people who like to be in control because progress is often accompanied by a lack of control. The flow state.
Good performance is not subjective when applied to the concept of the path. It is objective. Good performance is making progress or showing up with a full mind. When the path is worthwhile, showing up with a full mind may be the progress, while no visible progress occurs in the moment. This is only disheartening to the individual who questions his path. The reward is the process.
If you are not making visible progress and struggle to engage your full mind, you may need a rest day off the path. Remember, you should be on the path at least 12 hours a day. If you struggle to do this repeatedly, the paths you’ve chosen may be incorrect. Taking a new path is required when the current one is not pleasant. Do not walk in circles. Do not expect observable progress at all stages.
Understand that following the path with a full mind will expand your knowledge in all things.
Full attention is required for good performance and the progression of work. The correct path will occasionally, rarely, produce moments of slack attention. The incorrect path will reveal itself because you will be bored and disengaged.
Will listened. Faint and far off, but still distinct, he heard the strange inhuman voice that had first welcomed him to Pala. “Attention,” it was saying. “Attention. Attention . . .”
“That bloody bird again!”
“But that’s the secret.” “Attention? But a moment ago you were saying it was something else. What about that young man who’s so reserved?” “That’s just to make it easier to pay attention.”
Rely on what you think in combination with what you observe. Be confident in your choices and adjust them to incorporate new data.
Knowing the utility of things and the relative spirits of the men, giving encouragement
Promote life and growth from within by refuting negative thoughts with constructive messages that eliminate negative emotions born from poor thinking.
Your thoughts are not who you are. They just are.
Self-love activities can sometimes be threats to the way. Too much rest and relaxation. You should take a break from the path one day per week, and rarely additional days when earned or desperately needed.
We are all responsible for our HEAT. That HEAT to bring forth our best selves to overcome challenges along the path. Our spiritual temperament comes from our thoughts and actions. Letting your thoughts run wild is not preferred. Like you control your actions, you must control your mind.
People who do not manage their minds, who do not control their inner consciousness, can easily divert to debilitating, anxiety producing thought.
If you do not control your mind it will control itself. The mind is always the beginner’s mind and cannot be allowed to roam.
Remind yourself that you care about yourself. Tell your friends your care about them. Give praise where it is deserved, but not beyond that. Accept praise deeply but get back to the path like you were never praised quickly.
How you speak to yourself when you’re failing is dire. There is no benefit to negative, hateful self-talk. Each occurrence must be defused with positive thought.
All setbacks can be framed in a positive way and interpreted in that way. Nothing is good or bad. How we react to feedback is our choice.