I don't have to tell you that we're living in dark and perilous times. Each time I look at my news feed, it seems as if everything that's great about America is circling down the drain of decadence and social decay. It reminds me of that quote from author G. Michael Hopf:
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And weak men create hard times."
If we are to escape the hard times that have been handed down to us by these weak men (and women), then the only path forward is the one through which we unlock the inner strength within ourselves and forge our own path to greatness - true greatness. It is the warrior's path. It is long, it is hard, and it is fraught with peril. But, honestly, it's the only viable option open to us now.
In order to navigate life's complexities and overcome its adversities, it's essential to invest in your personal growth. Becoming a scholar and athlete has immense value. The pursuit of knowledge expands our minds, enhances critical thinking, and broadens our understanding of the world.
Consequently, engaging in physical fitness and sports helps build discipline, resilience, and a strong body necessary to overcome life's challenges. By becoming well-rounded individuals, we equip ourselves with the tools needed to thrive in any situation. Is there anything that could be more practical, more needed in this day and age?
Plato wrote that "the ideal citizen must be a scholar-athlete, a man of thought, and a man of action."
So what are the pillars to becoming this scholar-athlete that Plato spoke of? For me, it's the following:
1. Embrace the Warrior Spirit:
Members of the military and law enforcement communities possess a unique responsibility, one that demands strength, courage, and unwavering commitment. The warrior spirit encompasses more than just physical prowess—it is a mindset characterized by discipline, honor, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. By combining the attributes of a scholar and an athlete, individuals in these professions can elevate their performance, enhance critical decision-making abilities, and develop the mental and physical resilience necessary to protect and serve with distinction.
But you don't have to be a soldier or cop to embody these ideals. When it comes down to it, warriors are built to serve the community in which they belong. If you have a family, work a job or own a business, or involved in any type of group that comes together to benefit something greater that the individuals, then you serve a community. Your community needs you to be mentally and physically strong, intelligent, and honorable.
2. Cultivate Intellectual Excellence:
Intellectual growth is a lifelong journey that fuels personal development and empowers individuals to adapt to the ever-changing world. Engaging in continuous learning, reading, and expanding knowledge helps sharpen critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and decision-making abilities. Apart from my career as a soldier, I pursued a law degree. My business partner, Alex, left a career in special operations and to attend chiropractic school. (I'll never call him doctor, but I don't mind him popping my back. Just kid'n, Alex.)
Now, I'm not saying that you need a post-graduate degree or even go to college. The point is that you focus on training your mind as well as your body. Critical thinking and problem solving skills have never been in short supply as it is now. That's why on my bookshelf you'll not only find books on shooting and tactics, you'll also find Plato, Nietzsche, and Jung as well.
3. Hone the Body:
I believe physical fitness is crucial for any individual interested in personal security and self-defense. The body and mind are deeply connected. By nurturing our physical fitness, we enhance our overall well-being. Engaging in vigorous exercise and sports not only promotes physical health but also develops mental toughness, discipline, and resilience. It prepares us to face adversity head-on, both in professional and personal spheres. It enables us to perform at our best when it matters the most.
We are all at different stages in terms of age and ability. Many of us can't engage in the same type of physical regiment that we did in our twenties. That's not the point. The point is to do something. Lift weights and run if you can. If can't run, go for walks. You are a soul experiencing life through a body. Build it and strengthen it the best you can.
Becoming the best version of yourself requires discipline, commitment, and an unwavering desire for self-mastery. It is a journey marked by continuous improvement, self-reflection, and the willingness to push beyond your comfort zones. Embracing the ideals of a scholar and athlete empowers us to develop a balanced life, one that prioritizes both intellectual and physical growth. It is through this journey that we discover our true potential and unlock the reservoir of untapped capabilities that lie within us. You have it in your power to recreate yourself into the image you hold in your mind. Give it your thought and attention. Create a program that suits you and pursue it fully.
Gents, it's time to step up our game. We can't continue to complain about the current state of affairs in which we find ourselves. It's time to look in the mirror and reflect the image of the scholar-athlete that Plato found was so crucial to the health and viability of any Republic.
Let us focus on improving ourselves - mentally, spiritually, and physically. Let us dedicate ourselves to learning and expanding our knowledge. Let us transcend who we are now by becoming the BEST of who we can be.
It's time to stop being a spectator in life and become it's most zealous participant.
It's time to become the strong men who create good times.