Listen as you read. Don’t worry, there are less than five words spoken in this song.

On the road, at fordable rivers be sure to hire carriers to take you across. If you cross by yourself to avoid a little expense, or because you think you are an expert in the water, and then the horse stumbles and the baggage gets soaked, or you get an underling injured, that is a big blunder.

As for those who board the ferry at Yokkaichi or take a boat at Awazu thinking to take a shortcut, they are extremely foolish. If you run into a squall while riding on the boats of Kuwana, the way everybody goes, then you have an excuse. But if you go to the trouble on your own initiative to take a byway and something goes wrong, then you have no excuse.

Therefore a poem by an ancient says,

Even if crossing Arrow Bridge

Is a shortcut for a warrior,

If you’re in a hurry take the roundabout way – 

The long bridge of Seta. 

This instruction does not apply to only a journey; one should have this attitude in regard to all things.

Bushido Shoshinshu | Taira Shigesuke

Short Cuts Have Short Stories

Shortcuts have short stories – they don’t end well.

Dedicate your mind to your craft to become a master. Masters don’t take shortcuts. A master never skips practice.

After practice, future masters on the path go home and watch tapes or read books about their craft. Masters on the path are gluttons. They feast upon knowledge of their craft as a lion feasts upon a fresh kill after days without eating.

Beyond skill, you need to gain confidence in your pursuit. The path which you’ve chosen to walk. Enough confidence to silence your mind will do.

Masters don’t think; they’ve merged with their chosen skill, their path, becoming something greater than human – the same student, who, when he began, couldn’t get the basics and contemplated quitting more times than a champion fighter seeing stars in his third title defense.

Years of practice lay new, black-asphalt roads that smell of industry & labor. A clear way to the next destination. The path guides you. The path possesses travelers. they want to be perfect. Those travelers on the path know perfect doesn’t exist – they have an excuse to learn forever. What travelers desire if they seek true purpose.

Those who take shortcuts don’t deserve greatness. They wouldn’t be able to bear the weight on their shoulders. Unlike Atlas, holding Earth high above his head supported by will. Will, will take you farther than talent can go by bullet train. Your will to win is your sword.

Professionals don’t take shortcuts.

Shortcuts Are Cheap Passes At Purpose

atlas holding earth

Everything you do matters. From how you brush your teeth, to the time you didn’t ask for a raise out of fear. Your brain records what you think and do while you’re awake. Your brain is a camera in an antique store watching until close. Your sleep cycle processes and sorts  data from the day more efficient than the post office sorts parcels.

Your brain is lazy.

It doesn’t want to work too hard. Your brain looks for patterns and memorizes them. When you practice basketball after school, your brain memorizes the patterns until they become second nature. The less you think the more energy saved. Your brain uses 20% of your daily caloric intake. Patterns reduce wear and tear. Not lazy. Efficient.

When people take shortcuts they teach their brains to take shortcuts. People don’t work hard at this, procrastinate that. Working hard & procrastination are both habits. Our omnipresent brains don’t care which habit they follow – but one, will for certain, be followed.

Behaviors we repeat become habits. being lazy is not a trait. Being lazy is a habit. Achieving is a habit too. Which do you want? Your actions, not your words determine your truth.

Being Lazy Is A Terrible Habit To Have

First, you stop going to the gym. Lifting weights isn’t convenient anymore – the gym is too far away. Has the gym moved? No.

You’ve moved closer to the worst version of yourself.

Try becoming the best version of yourself.

Work became hard; You didn’t receive a promotion either. Netflix is more important than a full eight hours of sleep now. Your co-workers recommended too many shows. You want to fit in.

Next was your diet. Waking up is hard when you stay up late watching Duane Johnson’s life develop into something interesting while yours decay’s into everything you said you didn’t want as a teenager.

You eat out. Preparing a healthy meal in the morning isn’t an option anymore. Drive through golden arches and giant spinning neon burgers. From fit to fat.

Being lazy is taking shortcuts. By taking shortcuts you teach your mind to look for the easy route instead of the correct one. That doesn’t mean you stop being efficient.

Efficiency Isn’t Lazy.

Silver surfer is efficient.

Efficiency is different.  Efficiency is purposeful improvement. Efficiency is what takes our ass’s from leather saddles to heated seats in new Audi’s. Horses aren’t efficient anymore.

Efficiency isn’t lazy. 

Thomas Edison tried over one-thousand times to perfect the light bulb. He didn’t stop after he found bamboo conducts electricity. Edison could have celebrated. He wanted more from his path.

 The master isn’t pleased to stop at an inn on the way. He walks until he reaches his destination. In a way, the master has one true fear. Complacency. 

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.

Thomas Edison.

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison continued inventing until he created the light bulb he wanted; not a meager trinket of work that gave him partial fulfillment.

Edison doesn’t take shortcuts – he follows his path like a young boy follows his mother in the supermarket, afraid to leave her side, she, the source of the young boy’s truth. The only truth he knows. The path.

Edison knows inventing is him; the mother he holds hands with. No longer an inventor, Edison became a vehicle for his creations – no longer Thomas Edison, or any name. He exists as a vessel for expression.

Edison is a professional. He creates. Thus, Thomas Edison is a god by choice. Gods create. You too can be a God, if you choose a goal larger than what you believe to be possible. If, you use your gifts to create.

Thomas Edison built the modern world. He is a true master.

The best book on Edison is called Empires Of Light: The Race To Electrify The World. You can read the book, or listen to an audiobook while you’re at the gym, working away, or mowing the lawn.

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Two Free Audiobooks from Audible. No strings attached.

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The Professional Doesn’t take shortcuts.

Lazy, is not making your bed in the morning because making your bed doesn’t matter; You’re going to sleep tonight anyways. Making your bed is not about rearranging sheets, blankets, and sixteen pillows though you sleep with two.

Making your bed is a declaration.

You don’t have to do anything. You choose to make your bed because you, sweet sleeper, are declaring war against the person you were yesterday before the Senate Of Habit & Control in your mind.

Your path is more important than how you feel today. Your journey is your responsibility. While making your bed may not matter to you, your brain is watching.

Discipline is the right choice for every test question like a rigged SAT exam. If you refer to your study guide, you’ll get the answers right every time.

study guide.

The answer is discipline.

Not All Answers Are Black & White.

Discipline is a dairy cow, she’s black & white. Ask discipline to produce for you and she will. She’ll never run out of supply either. Until, you run out of time, buried without your accomplishments. Good. You don’t need accomplishments in the grave – you gave everything to your one life.

Most Don’t.

The Agents Of Average Don’t want you to be special. They want you to fit in.

What Is A Shortcut?

Shortcuts are reactions to lost time. Lesser Samurai looked for shortcuts across the Kiso river when they were late to an appointment. Rather than continue on the path they let anxiety take them into the weeds and foxtails. Anxiety is dangerous. When you’re in the swamp all you see are alligators.

Shortcuts are unnecessary risks. The rock climber regrets not turning around for his GPS for fear of running late. Now dehydration and terror run in his mind and on the back of his neck. Two emotions he’ll die with. He’s lost. When the sun is gone so is he.

lost climber

We take shortcuts because of FOMO. The fear of missing out. FOMO occurs when we lose our grounding in the present. We feel, we aren’t on track with our timeline – we lose the present. We lose our focus. Head in the future or the past. Some lose their lives over shortcuts.

Mindfulness keeps you in the present moment. Below are three, amazing books on the topic for you.

Shortcuts Steal Failure

Failure is a blessing.

Failure is a gift from Zeus and the gods long ago. Our minds don’t understand. We reject failure. Teachers taught us failure is a Leper – failure is bad, failure is poor, failure is a big red F on your homework.

We want likes. We never learn. To fail, learn, and never repeat. Without failing, we don’t know anything.

Failure is a brick. With enough bricks, you can build a house. With enough workers, you can build an empire.

Most People Take Shortcuts

failure is a brick

The weak take shortcuts like greedy brunch-goers stopping at a garage sale because they saw a a box labeled “free”. Nothing inside the box except someone’s trash. shortcuts are trash. Normal folk love trash. Reality tv is the most-watched genre of television.

Discipline is difficult – making your bed is hard. Alarm blares hit snooze. Again. And again. Before the bedroom lights are on, Instagram floods from your phone into tired eyes. The victim-end of a water pistol blast held by a child. You close your eyes. Direct hit in the pupil and the heart.

All the women I’ll never meet.

The cars I’ll never drive.

The places I’ll never see.

Boys & girls flexing and posing for your entertainment. Or likes. No one makes their bed now.

You sit up, pull the sheets back. A decision. Make your bed, run your morning routine, or take another rest day? When has easy done anything for you?

The winner starts their morning with their primer. Always. The morning routine. A cold shower, a little meditating and a happy mug of black drip coffee. Ask the loser what he does in the morning – he won’t answer. He doesn’t know.

The winner knows his day before it starts. The loser is still deciding if it’s too risky to “heart” a woman’s photo on Instagram he’s never met because it’s 8 weeks old.

Discipline needs momentum.

Discipline is an old car. She needs a push-start to get going. Once she gets going this kitten knows how to purr. Most people take three steps forward and nine steps back. You need to be on the path at all times. Even when you rest, don’t forget the path and your goals along the way.

Moderation is for the average and the critic. The person who doesn’t need all. Some will do. The person who believes they’ve earned the right to merge with their couch like Frankenstein’s monster because they put in eight hours today.

Work never stops. Neither do your competitors. There is no equality or fairness. There are winners who understand winning and losers who believe lies.

Andreians hate moderation.

Those that follow the philosophy of Andreia. The Samurai hated moderation too. The samurai didn’t want to beat their enemies in combat; the Samurai sought enlightenment through bloodshed and warfare.

Samurai, means to serve. Beyond serving their master, the Shogun, lord of the domain, the Samurai served their craft – warfare.

The path of the Samurai is combat.

Your path may be becoming a veterinarian or a firefighter – both are acceptable. Unacceptable, is walking down another’s path instead of your own. Like doing what your parents want from you instead of what you want.

Shortcuts are different than innovation.

Don’t fear changing for innovation. Embrace it. An improvement of 0.5% made today will compound forever. Do something today a little better.

Can you save two minutes in the shower? Let’s say the average man showers twice a day. Each scrub, four minutes. That’s 48 hours under the silver-head per year. Cut that time in half – two minutes. Now you’ve got a golden ticket for an extra day. 24 hours saved.

Shortcuts are dangerous for everyone. Shortcuts and money saving alternatives get astronauts killed due to low quality equipment. Cutting costs murders business. Delegating tasks to your assistant that requires your talent. Serving a veggie-burger to a man who ordered medium rare Wagyu.

Instead Of Shortcuts

Do the work. Create the art. You can’t outsource talent. Art can’t survive a cutback. True masters, the few who create art always do the work. Doing the work is the way to mastery.

Do Not Take Shortcuts Across The Kiso River

Instead look to innovate without sacrificing quality. Test along your path. Test often; look for improvements to make. There are opportunities if you look for them. Embrace suffering & discomfort.

Absorb the lessons of your failures like little-colored raindrops falling into the ridges of your gum under-the-table colored brain.

Lessons collected add talent to your reservoir. Soon your talent flows over its container like a glass of wine poured on the carpet by drunk co-ed girls. You’re too big for your own world. Now, the public wants a taste. The people celebrate your dedication.

Your victories teach you how to celebrate.

Your losses teach you how to win.

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Even if crossing Arrow Bridge

Is a shortcut for a warrior,

If you’re in a hurry take the roundabout way – 

The long bridge of Seta. 

This instruction does not apply to only a journey; one should have this attitude in regard to all things.

Read More Bushido Articles Here.

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4 COMMENTS

    • Brother. Thank you for sharing. Shortcuts never help us. I’m so happy you had the opportunity to suffer. I mean this in all the love I can. Suffering is how we grow – you’re an author and an artist – you know. I can’t wait to see what you bring to the world.

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