musashi 21 principles - principle 21

This article is the twenty-first Principle in the series: Musashi’s 21 principles for life.

Musashi’s 21 Principles

Each principle has its own article expanding upon the wisdom of Miyamoto Musashi.


Never stray from the way.

musashi principle 21

Musashi Principle 21 | Never stray from the way

The way is your path. Your mission through life. You need to spend your life finding the beginning of your path. Then, the rest of your life walking as far as your feet will carry you.

Dedicate your life to finding your path; what you want to master, the activities you want to do until you die.

Once you find your path the next chapter of your life begins: mastering the way–never stray from the way.

Books on Musashi: The greatest swordsman to ever live

Musashi knew from an early age his path was combat. He killed his first man, at the age of 13 in a duel. He dedicated his life to the path guaranteeing his place among legends.

Musashi, on occasion, left his path. But not without purpose. Musashi left his path to teach, or train in an alternative discipline, he knew, would help him later–like calligraphy.

musashi principle 21

All of Musashi’s detours had a benefit to his path. When he left, the intention was to find knowledge, or some tool he knew he couldn’t find on his path to combat mastery.

How Wim Hoff mastered his mind through breathing

Cross training in other disciplines allowed Musashi to evaluate warfare from perspectives other than a swordsman. Like through the eyes of an Artist–or a philosopher. Musashi never strayed from the way. He returned to his path–his home.

Distractions remove warriors from their path

humans evolve at the same rate as their distractions

Humans evolve at the same rate as their distractions. More civilization brings more distraction. And more play. Distractions are like locusts: They multiply and can easily take a driver off the road, and into hell.

Distractions are a virus. Viruses spread and multiply. Video games created virtual reality. Netflix is a product of cable television. Both keep millions plugged into an alternate-reality Matrix, stealing time like a billionaire CEO vampire who found he could stay alive an hour longer for every hour of entertainment consumed.

After embracing the matrix, embracing reality TV and dragon queens, the real world loses its luster like a diamond without a shine.

Entertainment is a trap waiting for your discipline to turn around.

Video games and television are super-normal stimuli engineered to keep you watching, playing, episode after episode; quest after quest. You can’t stop now; four more hours and the show is over.

An entertaining show is a vacuum inhaling millions of hours of productive time, spitting back nothing.

the man who can abstain

Video games used to have an ending. Now, they have loot-boxes and real-world transactions for costumes to put makeup on pixels you never owned.

Video games are a race to whoever can play for ten-thousand hours, or spend ten-thousand dollars, to unlock the coveted golden gun, or golden armor, and become the envy of all the Orcs in Asaroth.

When you leave the game you’re still miserable. But, at least your elf girlfriend tells you she loves you, using the same cadence, every time you log in.

The way is the path to satisfaction – everlasting happiness

life has consequences

Happiness found through pleasure is short-lived. Satisfaction is forever.

accomplishment creates satisfaction: Self-fulfillment through accomplishment, one of the primary tenets of the Andreian Philosophy.

Happiness is a piece of candy; sounds good, tastes good, until you’re fat and alone sitting next to your cat, Roberto, the only friend you’ve known for the past five years.

Satisfaction is toiling on an invention for ten years without reward. On the eleventh year–success. Satisfaction takes longer to build but lasts forever. Happiness, the piece of candy, is here for a moment and leaves an acne-scar behind.

It’s easy to get a job. It’s hard to be Steve Jobs, convincing your neighbor while he checks his mail, you’re inventing a product that can hold thousands of songs in your pocket when most people still organize their music in a CD tower.

Steve jobs is made. A job is accepted, like accepting a piece of candy.

social distractions from the path

social media abuse

Drinking, gossiping, chasing girls. The news & politics; the worst offenders.

Oh Musashi, great warrior above, sharpening your swords on a whetstone preparing to kill another cocky challenger, inspire us to turn our backs on distractions while we travel down our paths to glory.

Be wary of the distractions vying to kick you off your path like the backstep of a horse.

It’s easy to spend your twenties drinking and partying–that’s why most people do it. It’s easy. Drinking catches up to you–thirty years old, fat, single, broke, balding–without status or purpose.

Distractions from your path are like the Sirens who tried to lure Odysseus and the Argonauts into the coastal rocks while they sailed the world seeking adventure, taking the men off their path, and into certain death; the Sirens in Homer’s story are a metaphor–for distraction.

Get The Odyssey For Free Here

Distractions are a lethal threat to your success. Everywhere you go–distraction waits–you killed John Wick’s dog; he wants your life.

Even your tools are fighting to distract you. Your phone is the worst offender. Inside your pocket, or, in your hands; right now, is the ultimate distraction and your greatest weapon.

If you use your phone to learn, you’ll become better than the average man who uses his phone to play Vegas slots–because he thinks he’s earning free perks, but really, he’s making the casino’s money because of ads.

How to stay on the path

Musashi dueling

Find your purpose.

Tend to it every day. If you don’t know your purpose–look until you find it. You’ll know because it’s all you’ll think about. Every night, falling asleep having wet-dreams about your purpose and not your wife.

Set clear goals.

Ambiguous goals are seldom accomplished. You can’t hit a target while it’s covered in a thick layer of fog–fog is ambiguity.

Create rewards for yourself.

You can’t be disciplined all the time; but you can most the time.

Life is for your enjoyment.

Earn your pleasures through your work, and you won’t poison your hard-fought discipline.

Create bounties for each challenge on your path.

After accomplishing a milestone, give yourself a reward you actually want–like permission to play a video game; five rest days; a vacation; or a new car–if you’ve earned it.

The path to mastery will give you more satisfaction than anything else you’ll experience.

Find your path–follow it–reward yourself. This concludes Musashi’s 21 rule series.

Read the full series here.

Musashi Principle 21 | Never stray from the way


This article is the twenty-first Principle in the series: Musashi’s 21 principles for life.

Musashi’s 21 Principles

Each principle has its own article expanding upon the wisdom of Miyamoto Musashi.

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