Global Resilience Solutions > Category:personal development

You Need a “Thick Face” and a “Black Heart”

Over the next two weeks I have something REALLY special for you on this blog and it will come in four installments. So, for your own sake, you’ll want to read all this VERY carefully and think it over deeply.  This is a series of unique posts I ran three years ago and they are so important that I’m updating them and posting them again because, well, I sure need to read them again and I know this subject matter can make a huge difference for anyone who takes it to heart!

You’ve no doubt read tons of stuff about self-help and personal development or you wouldn’t be reading this. So you’ve seen and heard lots of experts trying to answer questions like:

– Why do some people succeed and others fail to reach their goals?
– Why do some have total clarity about what they want, while most people don’t?
– Why do a very few find deep inner peace, while most remain tormented and conflicted?
– Why do 5% of the population make a difference while 95% don’t?

One of the most profound answers to questions like these came in a book first published just over 100 years ago. The book, called Thick Black Theory, was IMMEDIATELY BANNED by the government as far too dangerous for the population to read. Seriously!

That alone probably means it’s worth reading!

The catch is that reading the original might not help you much. First of all, the book was written in China, and is full of allusions to Chinese culture and literature that would make it next to incomprehensible, even in translation. After all, an expression like “how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?” means nothing unless you’re familiar with “Alice in Wonderland”.

The author of “Thick Black Theory” was Lee Zhong Wu, a sociologist of sorts who was dispassionately cataloguing the behaviors of the successful. Fortunately, a Chinese-American business woman named Chin-Ning Chu turned Lee’s somewhat obscure content into a superb book in the early 90′s, under the title, “Thick Face, Black Heart: The Warrior Philosophy for Conquering the Challenges of Business and Life”.

The catch is that a “Thick Face” and a “Black Heart” (hereafter TFBH) can serve the saint and the sinner equally well. The theory really describes powers or energies of the human spirit that could be used for great good or great evil. And that tends to put off the “bliss-out” New Age types who can’t get past that fact long enough to understand the incredibly profound content.

Over the next few days, here’s what I’m going to do for you:

1. Unpack the concepts of “thick face” and “black heart”
2. Show you how they apply to YOUR life
3. Demonstrate how they accord totally with the teachings of the world’s “Authentic Ancient Traditions” of spiritual life and self-refinement, forming the core of Warriorship, and…
4. Give you the basic principles of how to begin cultivating TFBH for yourself

CAUTION: The principles you’re about to see in the following posts should not be shared with unscrupulous people. Moreover, some of them may shock you a little. If that happens, just take a deep breath and say, “I guess I haven’t understood this just yet.”

TF and BH are concepts indispensable for success in any endeavour. Without mastering and applying them, either consciously or unknowingly, you’re always going to wonder what’s missing and why you can’t seem to make progress.

Moreover, when you look at where you’ve had successes in your life already, you’ll start to notice traces of these practices.

Are you ready for the ride? Okay, look for the next installment in a couple of days!

And if you know any other people of good character who need this knowledge, bring them along too.

Oh yes… don’t forget to leave your comments below!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Get Your Life Organized!

One of the single greatest keys to becoming a more resilient person is knowing how to get your life organized.  And, face it, it’s the ideal time of year to do just that – vacation time is wrapping up, kids are going back to school and the pace of life is picking up again.  Not surprisingly, September 1 used to be “New Years” in the Roman Empire, and it’s just as important in our own culture as January 1 as a time to make a fresh start.

Five Critical Activities to Organizing Your Life:

So just how do you get your life organized?  There are lots of possible approaches you could use and almost all of them work as long as you put them into practice.  However, if I could suggest just five things that will make a huge positive impact on your life between now and the end of this calendar year, this is what they would be:

1. Organize Key Areas of Your Living / Working Space:

Get your living space and your working space organized.  That means putting order into the public areas of your home, getting rid of the clutter, tossing out whatever you don’t really need or want, finding a place for the rest and making sure everything stays in its place.  It’s simply not possible to find inner peace or to work productively when you’re surrounded by mess.  This make take you a day or two, but it’s worth the effort.

2. Book at Least one Mini-Vacation between Now and Christmas:

If you have a spouse or significant other, book time for the two of you – without the kids! – and have a romantic getaway.  If you’re single, you’re free to invite a friend or to go alone.  In either case, just make sure you get out of your usual surroundings for a couple of days and put yourself into an environment where you don’t have to think too much or make decisions.  Plan activities that you’ll really enjoy.  

3. Book Daily and Weekly Playtime:

Make sure you have time to relax every day.  That could be just to read a good book, take a walk or do something else.  And make sure you carve out a few hours each week to have fun as well.  This could be a weekly dinner out with your spouse, a movie, to play tennis, volleyball, golf or your favorite sport.  It can be any activity that leaves you feeling refreshed and relaxed.

4. Know Your Results:

In every area of your life – your career, your relationships, your finances, your spiritual life and your health, ask yourself this question: “What one goal, if I could achieve it over the next four months, would have the greatest positive impact on my life?”  Once you have the simple set of answers to those simple questions, your life for the remainder of the year should be crystal clear.

5. Build Your Key Relationships:

What relationships matter to you the most?  If you could vastly improve your relationships with just 1-4 people over the next four months, who would they be?  Once you’ve decided that, the rest is comparatively simple – give your time and attention to those people in ways that are most beneficial for them and you will definitely see improvement.  

To help you think through your life and organize yourself even better, here’s a video by Brian Tracy, one of the world’s top business coaches and experts on the subject.  Brian’s advice is typically spot on, so you’d do well to watch this one through and give it your full attention:

As Brian suggests, the key to getting organized isn’t simply putting stuff around the house in its place; it’s having a central organizing principle.  And that principle comes from understanding who you really are and what you really want to achieve.  Once you know that, everything else falls into place.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 

Time to UN-INSTALL Your Brain’s Software?


Awa Kenzo (d. 1939)
Zen Archery Master

You may be thinking, “Philosophy is for geeks. What’s this got to do with me or my life?”

What if “philosophy” here is a metaphor for your entire belief system, for that invisible “software” you use to run your life? Do you suppose if that software were wrong, your life could go off the rails?

The fact is, your results in life are largely governed by your beliefs, and most people’s belief systems are a conglomeration of unproven assumptions they’ve uncritically absorbed from their parents, teachers, the media and their society in general.

What the #@!*&# kind of a basis for personal success or happiness is that????

These hidden assumptions are all around you. They apply to politics, religion, health, money, moral values, what it means to be human and to the very nature of reality itself. For instance…

My parent’s generation believed that all the food at the grocery store was either good for you, or at least not dangerous. Millions of them paid with their lives for that false assumption. They also believed the medical doctor was next to God, could do no wrong and the drugs he recommended were miracle cures. Millions more paid with their lives for this one.

Many a soldier has paid the same price for assuming his political and military leadership is both intelligent and honest.

I’ve seen many a martial artist put on his ass because he assumed his martial art gave him an accurate paradigm about how real combat works. Bottom line…?

Real life has a way of trashing our assumptions. And if we survive the fallout, we owe it to ourselves to ask some hard questions.

RESILIENCE involves rooting out all the absurd assumptions you still run your life by, so that you can start rebuilding your life. The choice is yours: you can build your life on a web of a thousand unexamined assumptions about life (most of which are plain wrong), or they can DECIDE what “software” or “philosophy” serves you best.

Since the state of your health, the quality of your relationships, the size or your bank balance and your overall happiness are hemmed in by your belief system, do you suppose you should reexamine yours from time to time?

How many unexamined assumptions about every area of life can you spot today? In yourself? In the media? From people around you?

Master Kenzo had no room in his life for unexamined assumptions.

What about you?

~Dr. Symeon Rodger

Resilience Tip: The Immutable Truth…

Do you want to become resilient?  Do you want to live up to your true potential as a human being?  Are you ready to take life by the throat and suck out all its marrow, as Thoreau put it?

Then give up the idea it’s going to be easy or comfortable.  Give up looking for ease and pleasure and start looking for challenge.  Teach yourself to revel in challenges and difficulties, spend your time devising tests for yourself and thinking of ways to make yourself tougher.  

Confucius said, “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor can the human being be perfected without trials.”  This principle is immutable.  

“No one ever became holy being coddled in his mother’s arms,” said the Eastern Christian sages. 

You have to know fatigue, exhaustion and even failure if you want to become a “real person”.  Failure, by the way, is not defeat.  Defeat only occurs when you give up!  The person who falls and yet never gives up is a true warrior.

We can’t boast about our civilization until we’re worthy of it.  In ancient Greece it was said that being born in Sparta doesn’t make you a real Spartan.  In ancient Rome they said that being born Italian did not make you a Roman.  These names were to be won by sweat and blood.  

Need inspiration?  Try these:

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Resilience Tip: Guard This Above All Else…

If you want to become truly resilient, to discover your true potential and rise victoriously no matter what life throws at you, then you must guard one thing above all others…

You must guard your inspiration

It doesn’t matter what good purpose that inspiration is for, since your ability to follow through, your persistence and determination ultimately come from the power of inspiration.

Without constant inspiration, your daily activities will seem more and more mundane  in your eyesIn reality nothing is mundane, but without inspiration you will be dragged down to the point where it all seems like meaningless toil.

Without inspiration, you’ll never find within yourself the power to persevereDetermination will be nowhere found and will lack the power to change your life. 

So if maintaining an inspired state is so critical, how do you do it, especially when the outside world seems to conspire against you?  You change your “diet”…

Build yourself a steady diet of inspiration – read inspiring books, watch inspiring films and videos, listen to speakers who give you courage, determination and confidence.  Consider great spiritual principles and dedicate yourself now to living by them.  Think about great leaders and decide now that you’ll start to think like them.

You weren’t born with the emotional bedrock of inspiration; you have to build that for yourself.  That’s part of having free will and enjoying this human adventure. 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

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