Some of my favorite quotes come from Miyamoto Musashi. For those who don’t recognize the Kanji in the subject line, that’s his name. I thought it would be good to gather a couple of them together in one place.
Musashi, for those who are not familiar, was a legendary swordsman. Some say he was the greatest swordsman who ever lived. He was undefeated in some 60 duels and exposed the importance of the use of the pen being of just as paramount import as the use of the sword.
Here are my favorite Musashi quotes and what they mean to me.
“there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
I really love this quote. It reminds you that however you are today, in whatever format, you are indeed enough and embracing that fact is the path towards success. We are constantly bombarded by the projection of products and opinions that say we do not look handsome enough. Our clothing is not enough. Our education is not enough. Musashi famously declared that he never had a teacher and that he was a self made man in all things. Once we stop wishing we were something else, and realize that we are already all we need, great things will begin.
“Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.”
This is my favorite quote of all time. Each day that I work out or start a new task, I will repeat this. I tend to focus on the front half of the quote because I apply it directly to myself. I am competing against myself in all things. This quote reminds me that each day I can be 1% better than the day before. Most people will not make this effort because they do not see the reason to try for such a small improvement. The truth is that all real improvement shows up so incrementally as to not be noticed for quite some time.
Each day, 1% in the right direction. That doesn’t seem impossible at all, does it?
“I must say, to die with one’s sword still sheathed is most regrettable.”
I mentioned that Musashi was undefeated in 60 duels. Could you imagine fighting with your life on the line 60 times and coming out ahead each and every one? Musashi was exceptional in a way that few of us are. Even still, he put himself in a position to constantly test his skills and his faith in those abilities. How many of us take the easiest path to avoid having to really stress our skills? How many of us phone in a work out, or just really fail to give our all to a task? We’ve all done it. Each time that happens, you’re going into a duel against ourselves with our swords in the sheath. Fully prepare yourself for battle, especially against yourself.