Miyamoto Musashi is considered to be the greatest swordsman to ever live, undefeated in 61 one-one-one duels. He killed his first man when he was 13. He fought in numerous wars, then transitioned into being a wandering swordsman, pursuing mastery over his chosen path.
Musashi was a Ronin. His master, Hirata Takehiko died in 1609. His masters death lead him to becoming a wandering ronin. A Ronin is a samurai without a master. Many believe a Ronin is an honorable figure. However, a Samurai’s purpose was to serve their lord, called a “Daimyo”. So a Samurai without a lord was seen as disgraceful, or an act of failure. Many Samurai would follow their lords into the afterlife, taking their own life to continue service in the spirit world. If they chose not to follow their masters into the afterlife, many would become hermits, retiring from The Way.
People in 17th century Japan viewed Ronin as untrustworthy sell-swords without honor. This stigma made it difficult to advance as a samurai; there was no structure to advance for Ronin. However, some Ronin were renown for their proficiency in battle and desirable as bodyguards, soldiers, and other careers in warfare.
Musashi specialized in fighting with two swords at the same time. It’s a style he created, called Niten Ichi-ryu” (二天一流)which translates into “Two Heavens as One” or “two swords as one”. He created a school to teach his method, as well as draw competitors to come to his school and challenge him, which Musashi never lost.
Musashi wrote the required reading, The Book of Five Rings.
He also wrote The Dokkodu, or “the path of aloneness”, 21 precepts for life.
Musashi understood that mastery must be passed down to the next generations so they can continue the master’s legacy by following The Way and walking farther down the path. This is The Way.
A precept is a law to live by–a self-governing disciplinary rule.
Although the history is not exact, it’s believed that Musashi wrote the Dokkodu one week before his death.
Other Translations of the Dokkodo include:
- The way to go forth alone
- The way of walking alone
The names of the Dokkodu could be a reference to Musashi’s students going on without him.
Musashi died in his 50’s or 60’s. The Dokkodo was his final work, completed approximately 5 days before Musashi died.
Technology changes but people remain the same. The precepts from the Dokkodu apply as much today as they did hundreds of years ago. Consider adopting these precepts to improve your experience on the path.
Musashi’s 21 Precepts for Life
- Accept everything just the way it is.
- Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
- Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
- Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
- Be detached from desire your whole life long.
- Do not regret what you have done.
- Never be jealous.
- Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
- Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others.
- Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
- In all things have no preferences.
- Be indifferent to where you live.
- Do not pursue the taste of good food.
- Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
- Do not act following customary beliefs.
- Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
- Do not fear death.
- Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
- Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
- You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor.
- Never stray from the way.
Musashi Precept 1 | Accept Everything Just the Way it is
You cannot stop change.
Change itself can be changed, but not stopped, like, how, you’ll never be able to stop a river. Water will continue flowing, changing, until the end of time.
Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
Change doesn’t change. Change is the true constant in the world. You’re changing right now. Maybe you’re on a path that is changing your mind, and making it stronger; If you’re reading the best books on the Samurai, you’re becoming more intelligent. If you’re exercising, or studying, or meditating, or following any path, you are progressing with change.
If you do nothing, you’re still changing. While the world turns–while the river flows–your problems and experience remains the same, but your spirit is older. That does not mean wiser, stronger, or happier.
If you make the wrong choices you change for the worst. Understand that you can change your direction and your path at anytime. It’s difficult to know if you’re making the wrong choice if you haven’t stopped–meditated–and took a few moments to determine what constitutes negative change; what actions make you change negatively. The things you do which don’t help you walk further down the path. Or you could be walking down the wrong path. Meditation will help you understand the truth. In an era of distraction, few people meditate, so we don’t understand ourselves, and that makes most people confused, which makes most people angry.
Change adjusts the needs of the people, which changes what professions are in-demand. Understand that to accept everything the way it is, you may need to accept that you will add more value to your life with a different profession.
Understand that the needs for ideas and art will never change.
If you can look to the future, you may be able to predict the needs or wants of people before humanity gets to that point, and take advantage of fulfilling those wants and needs.
It is difficult for the unmeditated to tolerate change because they are not able to associate their identity beyond their current circumstances, because they do not think deeply of themselves. So the swim against currents, always struggling, instead of swimming with the trends leading into the future.
If you swim with the current your life is accelerated as the world and momentum pushes you forward, passing those who continue to fight change. Those who swim against the current yearn for the gold old days, which creates an unconscious bias against creating good days in the future.
The world is yours if you accept it as it is.
The youth accept the world as it is because they haven’t formed personalities that demand the world be something else for them.
Musashi did whatever it took to win duels. He followed The Way, wherever the path took him. He didn’t do what his lust demanded, he stayed loyal to The Way. He changed as the path showed him he needed to.
Musashi accepted his path entirely. He trained swordsmanship often. He trained with a full mind, he sought masters and learned from them. Instead of rejecting new styles, he took from them to improve his craft. Musashi found solutions that worked for him and then searched for more answers. He always sought to improve his craft.
Musashi Precept 2 | Do not Seek Pleasure for its own sake
Pleasure is a trap. It feels good but it doesn’t make you walk farther down the path. Unearned pleasure keeps you away from the path.
You can never get enough pleasure; like how you can never get enough of the path. Unearned pleasure is a path of its own that leads to nothing and involves learning nothing.
Unearned pleasure is drugs and other vices that do not enhance performance but make you feel good. Pleasure is a motivational video.
Pleasure is a trap because it feels so good it becomes difficult to leave. As technology improves, pleasure becomes easier and more on-demand as the people demand easier lives not more fulfilling ones.
Discipline doesn’t feel good in the moment like pleasure
Discipline and the path create the journey; that’s the look-back of the path that gives life so much meaning because you see how many obstacles you had to overcome to get where you are now.
Instant, unearned pleasure is the wanderer in the flat desert. He can’t see where he’s been because everything looks the same. The flat ground makes his feet numb, not sore. Everything looks and feels the same. There is no struggle, but there is something far, far worse than struggle; monotony.
The pleasure path is an empty life.
Pleasure must be earned through vicious self-body-mind-spirit immolation. That means, to bring immense struggle to your three domains by your own accord. The pleasure path is the life with no obstacles that robs the wanderer of the journey.
The pleasure path is how to life a live of regret.
Do not aim for pleasure; aim for fulfillment. Aim to overcome an obstacle of any size. Find challenge in all areas of life to defeat monotony and create the journey.
Fulfillment is purchased via sacrifice. Pleasure is theft via lack of sacrifice.
Great accomplishments provide great fulfillment. Many small accomplishments provide great fulfillment too, which is why it is important to look for challenges in the monotony of life.
Fulfillment Through Accomplishment.
Musashi Precept 3 | Do not, under any Circumstances, Depend on a Partial Feeling
You cannot depend on your feelings, but you must be wary of your strong emotions, like a gut feeling. You want to manage your emotions as efficiently as possible so you can understand the difference between a partial emotion and a strong emotion that could save you from treachery.
Strategy through logic is a better defense than uncertain emotions.
You don’t need to be emotional to be a good person, nor do you need to be in-touch with them. What you need is control over most all of them, and listen to what you cannot control because it is probably very important.
Your actions–not your feelings–determine who you are.
Discipline is an accumulated momentum of small choices
The accumulation of yes and no to walking farther down the path versus staying in the same place or walking backward. Say yes to the path as often as you can.
Emotions are unreliable where discipline always shows up. Being in-touch with your emotions can mean you listen to them when they tell you to stay away from the path; understand your emotions can be WRONG.
Watching motivational videos does not move you farther down the path. It is not progress, it is not fulfillment. Motivational content attempts to give you the emotional response from success, without obtaining success. This is theft.
Emotion is chaotic and if left unmanaged can begin to make decisions for emotions(themselves), instead of for your best interests. Discipline involves understanding your best-interests and applying them consistently.
Musashi Precept 4 | Think Lightly of Yourself and Deeply of the World
Being self-conscious means you are too conscious of the self. Thinking of the world deeply means having a path and following it. Be engaged with life by choosing a path. Be deeply engaged with life. Read books, listen to podcasts, and watch videos about your interests.
Musashi Precept 5 | Be Detached From Desire your Whole Life Long
Desire is a deep painful wanting for something you do not have. By not having it you do not need it in that moment. If it’s a reward, it means you’re craving the reward more than the journey needed to get there; you feel pain because you are being punished for not embracing The Way.
Instead of having desire for things, keep mind of them, and accept what comes by following the path forward. The problem with desire is that desire is distraction. When you are disiring, you are not focusing.
Musashi Precept 6 | Do not Regret what you have done
Depression can mean you are living in the past, or in a fantasy, but not in the future. If you have traumatic injuries or repressed memories from the past, you need to pull them out and process them. This is like cleaning an air filter for your spirit. If the filter gets too dirty, performance will suffer.
Depression is not letting go of the suffering of the past. Depression is your burden and you are responsible with lessening that burden, and you deserve to live without burden.
Understand everything you endure only makes you stronger. Your past was suffering. Your future is yours to determine.
Negative self-talk of any kind is self-sabotage and is forbidden. Absolve it with counters or affirmations. You must be the greatest advocate for yourself journeying down your paths. Do not speak to yourself in your mind in a way that you would not speak to a close friend.
When you are depressed, or carrying unprocessed trauma’s, your are weak against failure. You need to be formidable against failure because the path is difficult.
We need to process our difficulties in order to gain strength from them. We need to consume them to stop them from eating us.
Love yourself but do not spoil yourself.
Musashi Precept 7 |Never be Jealous.
You can never compare yourself to another because individuals are composed of entirely unique perspectives and experiences. We only see the present and the surface, not the past nor the interior, which in both cases are where depth exists.
People are like icebergs. What you can see is almost nothing of what it is.
Be jealous of who you WILL BE farther down the path. Think to the future of the path if you follow it diligently.
You must focus on your path, not what someone else’s path has brought them. This is a common mistake.
You only know who you were yesterday. Compare against yesterday to frame today.
Musashi Precept 8 | Never let Yourself be Saddened by a Separation
Musashi Precept 8 | Never let yourself be saddened by a Separation
The only spirit that you possess is your own. Understand that different spirits are occasionally on the same path but their time together is determined by where their paths go.
Humans are chaotic because we operate on emotion, supplemented with logic. Logic is the dam, emotion is the water.
Emotions cannot be relied on, but they can be reacted upon.
“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Be thankful for time spent on the path with a companion, instead of torturing yourself with desire for more.
Musashi Precept 9 | Resentment and Complaint are Appropriate for Neither Oneself or others
Complaining against yourself is self-immolation of the spirit.
The obstacles do not move on their own. You move them, or you walk away. Throwing your emotions at your obstacles will not move them.
When you throw desire at another on a different path, you stop focusing on your path. This means you are no longer paying attention, so you have no idea which direction you are going. Jealousy of the rewards of another’s path is a sign that you are not controlling your spirit. Your focus is misplaced and you need to meditate.
Understand that happiness is not the focus, anyways. The focus is fulfillment, which comes from dedication to The Way and the path. Fulfillment is permanent, and happiness is fleeting. Enjoy happiness and be grateful to have experienced it when it goes. Don’t long for it.
Do not complain about yourself or the world. A complaint is registering desire which is longing for something off of your path. It’s irrelevant to who you are in this moment. It’s fiction.
Complaining introduces weakness in the spirit of the complainer and those around him. Therefor you must ensure you do not tolerate complaining amongst your groups as well as at the individual level. Do not correct an enemy when they complain. Not too gain an advantage, but because it is not your responsibility.
Musashi Precept 10 | Do not let Yourself be Guided by the Feelings of Lust or Love
Lust is desire focused off of your path.
Love is the highest level of emotional chaos. It is uncontrollable. Therefore it is crucial to control the experiences and emotions that could lead up to love.
Understand that feelings of love does not mean being in love, which means two people in love with each other. Falling in love with someone who does not love you is dangerous for both. Lust can become an obsessive pathway to falling in love, even if the target is a complete stranger. This is not healthy; a stranger is not on the path.
Love murders. Love sends countries to war. Love destroys empires. Love is an elevated form of human existence at its best, and a debased human experience at its worst. Being in the arena is worth it.
Understand love goes beyond humanity. Humans can fall in love with ideas and objects. We can fall in love with economic models, devices, foods(for better or worse), dead people(the idea of them), pretty much everything.
Humans lust and love with reckless, unconscious abandon.
Lust and love make us irrational and unpredictable because we reduce the allocation of our decision making afforded to logic, and replace it with the uncontrollable emotions of lust and love.
Lust and love need to be managed and controlled.
Understand you can fall in love with the path.
Musashi Precept 11 | In All Things Have no Preference
Preference is desire for one instead of the other. By being afforded preference you develop preference, which can make you desire some things less and other things more. Understand that access to preference can be revoked easily and unexpectedly.
Train for not having preferences.
The more preferences you have the less flexible your are in your choices. Having few preferences is having more options. This is important when considering the constant of change.
Preference exists within the sphere of what is known, or the comfort sphere. To learn you must expand the sphere of what is known, which requires stepping into the unknown and away from preference.
Musashi had no preference of combat style; he wanted what was best.
Preferences are attachments which can be weaknesses. Attachments attempt to anchor against change. They can survive for some time, but nothing is forever. At some point you have to let go of everything.
“The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day, when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords. Being carried away by surging waves. Being thrown into the midst of a great fire. Being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake. Falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease, or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day, without fail, one should consider himself as dead.”
Yamamoto Tsunetomo Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
Change move forward like the path does. Moving along with them is easier than moving against them. Preference and attachment can be an attempt to stay where you no longer belong and that is no place for you.
A river is clear because it runs. A swamp is murky because it stagnates.
Having preference can be an unwillingness to change when you need to.
Musashi Precept 12 | Be Indifferent to Where you Live
The potential of a location is only limited by the capacity of your mind to find potential within a location. Where you live does not equate with the places you can access both temporarily and permanently.
The internet is an area that is shared with 6.5 billion people or 65% of the planet, and that number will continue to grow. The internet provides infinite of whatever data you want; if you want to learn languages online, you will. If you want to watch funny videos, you will. The internet can be a distraction or a tool used to create opportunity from any location in the world.
Being stuck in a place can mean that you’re no longer open to changes in the path. It could be that there are none, or you have quit looking for them because you have not seen them in a long time so you stopped looking.
Where you live is where you are and that is where your path is in the present. So don’t be a type of way about it. Be indifferent to where you live.
You lose control of where your path goes when you ignore it through resentment. Living in the past trades in the ability to create the future. Living in the present and following a path step by step allows you some say in where you walk.
The opposite of being indifferent to where you live is desire to live somewhere else. Desire off of your path.
Don’t turn from the path because you don’t like where you are now. Embrace the path so you can walk away from the place you are in by focusing on the path forward. Plan for the future and execute for the present.
Musashi Precept 13 | Do not Pursue the Taste of Good Food
Food is what configures our bodies. A side-effect of food is pleasure because we needed rewards to continue to pursue food in order to survive, before the advent of farming, before the advent of the modern supply chain.
Understand that eating the easiest foods to eat makes the weakest bodies. The easiest foods are in the category of deserts. People can eat five pounds of chocolate; they could not eat five pounds of vegetables or meat, or starch.
Eating harder to eat foods like broccoli and chicken is more rewarding. It is more satiating, which means it is more fulfilling. You cannot be fulfilled eating sugar, which is why you can eat so much of it, why it feels so good, and why that feeling goes away so fast.
Eating easy foods makes you feel good but feeling good does not last long. Discipline is fulfilling, so eating fulfilling foods is the right way. The pleasure doesn’t last. Fulfillment lasts.
Precept 11 says to have no preference. A preference for taste can pull you away from discipline, depending on what your paths are of course. Understand that preference can be taken away from you, and that includes the taste of good food. The best position to be is appreciating foods of all quality while prioritizing those that are best for the path.
Good food can make you lethargic, depending on your definition of “good”. Musashi’s precept refers to “good” as in taste, which great taste can cause lethargy, like the great taste of cakes and sweets.
Good can also mean quantity.
You have to police both the quantity and quality of the food you consume to best keep you on the path. Understand that the modern world is eating itself to death. Eat for pleasure second, and utility first, which is the way all things should be. Utility first, aesthetics and experience second.
Understand your body is made of what you eat. Your body is also the first-impression you make with the world because the world cannot see your mind and spirit until you show them. They see your body right away. Your body is how you interface with the world.
Be cautious of food addictions–addictions to the pleasure food causes.
Musashi Precept 14 | Do not Hold onto Possessions you no Longer Need
The more that you own, the more that you have to manage. You only want to manage what is useful for you. This is how the Master Carpenter behaves.
Possessions occupy physical AND mental space. Too many things make the mind busy with things which makes it harder to think about the path. Your attention can be spread thin with a collection or obsession with belongings.
Possessions you no longer need are distractions or paperweights. Remove them via donation, sale, or discard.
We form relationships with our possessions. Having too many things creates many shallow relationships and few deep ones. Depth, distance, is where fulfillment and meaning exists in all things.
Some possessions we are better without.
Your tools used for furthering your progress down the path need to be useful at all times. If your primary tool is a laptop, and it has a broken screen that reduces your focus, you must consider replacing it for hindering your performance. The same applies to any tool used to interface with the path, like a hammer, a piece of software, or a chef’s knife.
Do not let progress suffer due to unrelenting emotional frugality.
Understand what you TRULY need
For progress down the path. Many of the things we assume we need, we do not actually need when we think about them. We often don’t think about our possessions, so we assume we always need them. Thinking about your possessions is the process of minimization which should be done often.
Diligent scrutiny should be used for unique purchases that occupy physical and mental space.
You can possess an idea
Understand when you must move beyond an idea. People get upset when you change which is strange because change is the only constant we all have.
Be aware of when a habit no longer becomes useful, or YOU become a servant to the habit, instead of the habit serving you.
Holding on to the familiar
Possessions can become familiar and difficult to part with, even if the path is pulling you in a different direction. You need to follow the path. We never really own anything. We just temporarily take care of objects until their maintained by someone else or they are dead and without use to anyone.
An attachment to a familiar job may keep you from a better one that you are ready for. Like you lease an object, you also lease your occupation. Your work can be taken from you at anytime.
Let go of baggage slowing down your passage down the path.
Musashi Precept 15 | Do not act Following Customary Beliefs
Customs serve the average, the mediocre, the most. Usually this is to make things easier, since few follow the path to bring challenge to their life voluntarily.
Customary beliefs are often wrong. They can be created by powers who want to control with motivations you do not understand. You should not follow conventional beliefs unless you have meditated on them and found reason to follow the custom. If you cannot find logic in a customary belief, do not follow it just to do it. No reason for being, no reason for believing.
No belief will be as true as your own.
A customary belief is a belief that is assumed to be on your path, because it is assumed to be on the path of many others. A custom is not a truth, it is a shared habit. Like how individual habits can no longer bring benefits, customary beliefs can no longer bring benefits, but people continue to adopt them because other people around them adopt them.
Your way may not be their way.
Your way is the only way you will be fulfilled. You cannot walk the path of another culture or adopt their ideas if it does not organically align with the path you are walking.
Musashi didn’t follow customs in the martial arts. He created the two-sword style, Two Heavens As One. He learned from other martial arts, and may have followed their customs when aligned with his own path, but ultimately he lived in accordance to The Way and his path.
Musashi Precept 16 | Do not Collect Weapons or Practice Beyond what is Useful
When Musashi says do not collect weapons, he is referencing his swords, which he was on the path of swordsmanship. So this precept is referencing collecting tools that do not benefit the path. He is exclaiming not to carry tools that do not enhance the path, nor practice in a way that is not useful.
Even if you train in something off your path, if you are improving, you are on the path.
From one thing, know ten-thousand things
In all things you do, seek to improve in them.
Pay attention to the things you do daily and improve them. Find a way to brush your teeth better. Run faster. Cook better. Drink more water.
Poor regions show us how you can get by with little, and what really matters. To play basketball, you need a ball and a hoop. Children in poor countries play without shoes, without nets, making their own backboards and air pumps. This isn’t to say that you reject modern conveniences. Understand that the path does not need to begin with advanced tools, nor does it often do this, nor is this recommended as an investment.
If you have the best tools before the path starts, it becomes difficult to understand if this is even your path because you’ve invested so much into it before you have walked. You need prove of authenticity before you begin to collect tools that are beyond a direct need. You should also consider only acquiring tools when you need them to not carry beyond what you need.
The more things you own, the slower you move. The more complex things get. Seek to lay simple layers. Progression through levels.
Musashi Precept 17 | Do not Fear Death
The Samurai meditate on their death so they are always prepared for it. They live in accordance with their paths and The Way because they understand their deaths are imminent. Death makes the Gods jealous because death gives live meaning; the Gods do not get the gift of meaning.
Fearing death prevents loving life
You cannot hold a love for life while holding a fear of death, because this fear prevents you from loving life. Those who fear death attach to pleasure because the fear of death prevents the embrace of fulfillment.
Death is not the end. It’s just the time before you were born. You were there before, and you will be there again.
Death is not defeat
Fear is defeat. Death is inevitable, fear is weakness and optional.
A good death is honorable. A cowardly death is shameful.
Musashi Precept 18 | Do not Seek to Possess Goods or Fiefs in your old age
In your old age, you want to reduce the amount of things in your life that require management or maintenance. As you get older, you need less, and you minimize, and hopefully get to pass some wealth on to the next generation.
In Musashi’s final days, he lived in the village of Ōhara, where he had established a hermitage, which is a secluded place meant to be simple and modest with a focus on meditation.
Musashi Precept 19 | Respect Buddha and the Gods Without Counting on their Help
The gods help those who help themselves. Those are the people who do not complain, who do not give energy to jealousy, who do not fear death, etc. Musashi’s Dokkōdō The Path of Aloneness, was written more than 350 years ago and still applies today.
The Gods do not start momentum, they add to it. You have to show up to have a chance of being helped. You need to find the flow state in practicing your pursuits of mastery. This is the place of no mind. Being grounded. Pursuing mastery is one way; breathing methods, working out intensely, the cold, and other methods work.
Flow is divine assistance. We have to call out for it using methods that work to obtain it.
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
- The Rise of Superman: Decoding the science of ultimate human performance
- Deep Work: Rules for a focused success in a distracted world
The muse is found while you are on the path, respecting the Gods.
Musashi Precept 20 | You may Abandon your own Body but you must Preserve your Honor
Your legacy(honor) is forever, while your body is temporary. This gives life meaning because a finite resource like time is scarce, which makes it valuable. None of us no how much we have of it. So be diligent and present in all things you do. You can spend an entire life working while not being fully focused and grounded, not improving, not moving forward.
Honor can be accumulated throughout life. This will build the reputation you have with yourself as well as all those who you effect. Keeping your honor builds self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
The honorable thing to do is often not the easy thing to do so we need to be in control of our minds and in management of our emotions.
Dishonor is a scar
Dishonor is a self-inflicted cut. It scars over. Avoid dishonoring yourself in all situations. You have to carry the burden which is another mental-injury that will need processing.
Lost honor cannot be regained. You can only move forward. Do not linger in the past and wonder what the future would have looked like if you responded differently.
Being honorable is staying consistent in your values even if the consensus has moved against them. Live to your highest standards.
Musashi Precept 21 | Never Stray from The Way
The Way is the act of wandering down your paths to mastery. That is the purpose of life. Walking as far as you can go, dedication to the path. What you want to do until you die, what you want to spend the most time doing.
The objective of growing up is to find out what you want to pursue mastery in. Musashi knew from an early age his path was the sword. He killed his first opponent in a duel when he was 13 years old.
Musashi had many paths in his life. He started with swordsmanship, and taught another generation. Then he began to take on calligraphy, painting, sculpture, writing, philosophy, gardening; You can have multiple paths following The Way.
From one thing, know ten-thousand things