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The Many and the Few

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After the enormous discussion generated by the recent series of posts on the concept of Thick Face / Black Heart, I couldn’t think of any better way to clarify a few of the questions that came up than republishing this article.  It originally appeared two years ago under the title “Can Leadership Be Taught?”

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Before you begin reading this post, I must warn you it is not for everyone.  If you are someone who cannot bear a politically incorrect word or if you live life well within your own comfort zone, what you’re about to hear may very well offend you.

The words of this post will test your dedication to becoming a RESILIENT person.  What is a resilient person?  Quite simply, it’s someone who is on the way to becoming a true human being, to exploring and living out the full potential of a being created in the divine image.  And every resilient person is, in fact, a warrior, because no one can overcome the barriers that stand between mediocrity and resilience without great courage.

Every resilient person is also a leader.  First and foremost they are leaders of their own lives – they know who they are, what they stand for and where they’re going.   And it’s because and only because they know these things, that they’re fit to lead others.

Why is leadership so critically important for you?  Because it’s impossible to become a resilient person or to help others attain resilience otherwise.  Until you develop the qualities of a leader – on fire with an inspiring vision, living by noble principles, genuinely caring for others and dedicated to brutal honesty in all things – you’re as handicapped in your pursuit of a better life as a three-legged horse would be at the Kentucky Derby.

The Few

How do we recognize such people?  If you personally know even one or two such people, you’re truly blessed, because they are very few and far between.  You’ll recognize them because they will inspire and motivate you without even trying.  They’ll make you feel glad to be alive and enthusiastic about the challenges to come.  You’ll notice they serve a purpose far greater than their own self-interest, they live by principles rather than their own convenience and they can be relied upon one hundred percent of the time to give and demand brutal honesty and truth.  That’s why the cowards who surround them call them disruptive and “loose cannons”, considering them dangerous and inconvenient.

At least, that’s what they said about people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and many others.

Of course, the few are “dangerous”.  You see, the few have no interest in the artificial rules or the polite lies that all of society wallows in.  They’re completely committed to what’s real.  They have no interest in comfort, in playing it safe, or in avoiding the tough decisions.  No, they’ll jump in with both feet, knowing that audacity will always rule the day and snatch the victory.

The few don’t waste their energy trying to perpetuate ossified institutions or obsolete social structures and decorum.  Gandhi didn’t have the social standing to lead India to independence, nor did he have any interest in perpetuating the social evil  of untouchability.  The few are far too focused on the magnificent possibility they see in their mind’s eye to bother with such things.  And this passion that inflames their very souls is contagious – you can’t talk to one of these people about their passion without coming away with some of that flame yourself… if, of course, they think you’re worthy to hear about it.

The Many

The many are quite different.  Why do we call them “the many”?  Simply because at least ninety-five percent of the people around you fall into this category.  Now don’t get me wrong – the “many” can be perfectly nice people.  They can be your neighbors, your colleagues, members of your church and community and you can be very happy with them.  Yet however pleasant your social interactions with them may be, they are not leaders, no matter how prominent they may appear.

Despite this, they constitute well over ninety-five percent of the so-called “leaders” in our society – our politicians, our managers and bosses, and the leaders of our religious institutions.  And that’s only natural since, unlike true leaders, they actively seek the limelight.

Why is that?  Ultimately, it’s because they live for themselves, not for any higher purpose (despite any claims they might make to the contrary).  They’re not dedicated to any great and inspiring vision, which explains why, as “leaders”, they’re totally unable to inspire their subordinates to follow them.  Part of the reason is because they consider themselves superior to their underlings, they value control over collaboration and stability over results.  They’re really just functionaries, rather than leaders and, to them, the process is the product.

They live well within their comfort zones and see preserving the status quo as a sacred duty, even when the status quo is a total betrayal of the principles they make such a fuss about adhering to.  But that’s something they’ll never admit to themselves, let alone to you.  So life among the many leaves you swimming in a sea of lies and half-truths so bewildering it will have you questioning your own sanity.

The Crisis:

In the life of every institution, community, group or team there always comes a crisis.  And crisis is most useful because it lays bare for all to see who is willing to call a spade a spade, to stand up and be counted, rather than cower in the corner and submit to a lie for the sake of personal convenience.

That’s why it’s so often said that you only know who your real friends are when things go wrong.

That’s what makes crisis such a great gift – it sorts out who’s who with all the accuracy of the “sorting hat” in Harry Potter.  It also explains why the literal translation of the word “crisis” is so bang on – you see, the ancient Greek word “Krisis” means “judgment”, and every crisis is precisely that.  It divides the resilient from the weak, the courageous from the cowards, the leaders from the functionaries and the visionaries from those who play it safe.

Of course, in rare cases a crisis can be the catalyst that propels a person to leave the many and join the few.  The Lord of the Rings is a tale about exactly that: Frodo and his fellow Hobbits did not have to take the one ring back to Mordor at great personal risk, and we watch their inner debates unfold as they’re tempted to rejoin the “many” by giving up and going back to the Shire.  Perhaps it’s the sure and certain knowledge that there won’t be a Shire left unless they persevere that saves them.

The Myth

Of course, our governments, corporations and educational systems don’t want you to know all that and the reason is quite simple.  Just ask yourself who runs those institutions…  Instead, they tell you that anyone can become a leader through training, by acquiring the right “skill sets”.  In fact, that’s totally erroneous.

The many are not the many because they lack certain life skills.  The many are the many because on a level deep enough to remain hidden from the world and usually from themselves, the many are unwilling to put their well-being, their livelihood and ultimately their lives on the line.  They have settled down to live with the mediocrity, the political correctness and the polite lies that pervade our everyday experience.  Yes, they may be raising fine children, donating to charity and volunteering their time, but when the crisis comes, you’ll see them for who they are.  And no amount of training will change that.

Take the typical corporate manager.  Training in leadership, change management, team building or whatever else can no more turn this person into a leader than it can change their racial DNA from Caucasian to Negro or Oriental to Caucasian.  You see, leadership, like resilience itself, is not primarily a skill set.  The “many” can never become leaders by learning “skills”; they can only become leaders by doing one thing…

Repenting.  That’s right.  Until such a person decides that personal integrity means more to them than life itself, they cannot be taught.  You see, the fundamental dividing line between the few and the many, between the leaders and the functionaries, is precisely a matter of character, of virtue.

The many can think of lots of things to live for, but only the few believe that there are some things worth dying for.

In the words of Star Trek’s fictional Klingon general Chang, so ably portrayed by the great Shakespearean actor Christopher Plumber, as he addresses a group of elite recruits:

“You have surpassed your peers to earn a place within this distinguished hall.  Yet I tell you now, this is not enough.  In the days to come, you will be tested, well beyond your current limitations.  I am not interested in the names of your fathers, nor in your family’s lineage.  What I am interested in is your breaking point.  How will you conduct yourselves in battle?  How far will you go to preserve your honor, to fulfill your duty?  These are simple questions that will decide the fate of our empire.”

The crises you will inevitably face in daily life – at home, at work, in the society around you – these will test you beyond what you think you can handle.  And every one of these crises will reveal one thing – whether you belong to the few or the many.  Your social status, your previous achievements are irrelevant.  Will you live with integrity or won’t you?  Will you boldly proclaim the truth or indulge the lies of the many around you?  Which will it be?  You can’t fudge this – it’s one or the other.  This is the battle.  Will you preserve your honor and fulfill your duty to yourself and those who depend on you or will you not?

And it is not only your own fate on the line, it is ultimately the fate of your country and your whole civilization as well.

The Challenge

Several years ago, a great financial scandal broke out in my Church, engulfing hundreds of communities throughout the United States and Canada.  My bishop here in Canada had the temerity to stand in front of his people week after week and proclaim that nothing was wrong, that there were simply some “administrative difficulties”.  By doing so he willingly participated in the cover up of a felony – the embezzlement of some two million dollars that had been earmarked for victims of 9/11, the Beslan massacre, the Armenian earthquake and similar tragic events.  He also publicly besmirched the reputations of several people who were demanding an open investigation into the financial scandal, calling them “trouble-makers”.

Yet the majority of our people were not outraged or overly concerned.  The “many” never are until it’s much too late.  The “many” are like sheep that an unscrupulous “leader” can lead straight over a cliff.  Only the “few” took action, often risking their status, their reputations and their livelihoods to tell the truth in the midst of endless lies, to demand openness in the midst of a cover-up and justice in the midst of criminality at the highest levels.  As for myself, I was only marginalized and effectively booted out of my own parish for speaking out.  Others suffered much more and for much longer.  In the end we were vindicated, though not necessarily reinstated or recompensed.

Events like this are distressingly common – they’re taking place all around you and you have a choice to make.  Will you tell the truth, live by your principles, and dedicate yourself and your energies to working toward a noble, inspiring and better future, or will you choose the easy way out?

Only you can answer that question.  Behold, I have laid the challenge before you.  Or rather, the challenge is constantly before you; I’ve simply brought it to your attention.  Time to make a decision…

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Why You Can’t REALLY Love Anyone Unless You Have a “Black Heart”

Welcome to the fourth and final installment on “thick face” and “black heart”.  If you’ve stumbled on this post and don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, be sure to read the previous three posts FIRST.

What an abhorrent concept!  What can possibly be good about having a “Black Heart” (BH)?  Doesn’t that describe a psychopath like Hitler, Stalin or Chairman Mao (the greatest mass murderers of the 20th century)?

Nope. Not the way we’re using the term here. Yes, they did use the same power of BH that you’re going to.  However, you’re going to use it for transformative purposes, not destructive ones.

There are three aspects to BH.  They all have one thing in common – they involve distinguishing between real compassion and false compassion. Let’s have a look at them:

1. HELP THOSE WHO SEEK TO DO GOOD:

Have you ever seen a parent whose child developed serious behavioral problems all because that parent was too spineless to say “no!” when it was necessary? Did the child then start to push the limits, disrespect the parents and shamelessly manipulate them? And did the parents let the kid get away with it?

If you’re nodding your head right now, you and I probably know some of the same parents!  And the parents’ excuse for this is always couched in terms of “compassion”, of not wanting to scar their child for life by denying him a candy bar, or not wanting to “impose their views” on their child, or wanting to let him “find his own way”.

This pseudo-compassion is a mental fiction covering deep emotional inadequacies.  It causes great harm to the child and to anyone that child will deal with over his or her lifetime.  It has devastating consequences, perhaps for generations.

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to train your child to be a polite, respectful and self-actualized person.  And that means saying “no” sometimes.  It also means challenging your kids, allowing them to make mistakes and get hurt, not shielding them from the nitty-gritty of daily life in the “real world”.  A false compassion would shield them.  Real compassion requires a “black heart”.  A BH means “tough love”, it means knowing when it’s more important to slap a hand than hold it.

In ancient Sparta, as in some native American societies, the tougher parts of the education were undertaken out of reach of the parents and especially the mothers, who wouldn’t have wanted to watch their offspring be put through hardship, even if that hardship was extremely beneficial in the long run.

It’s said that the 20th century Orthodox Christian holy man, Joseph the Hesychast, didn’t have a kind word for his disciples.  In reality, his disciples knew he love them deeply, but the feigned harshness of the old man was a vital element to help them discover the inner resources they would need to overcome their spiritual challenges later on.

Likewise, the great Taoist master, Wang Liping, always says he is deeply thankful for the unsparing, ruthless severity of his masters, because that’s what allowed him to achieve his extraordinary life.

Joseph the Hesychast and Wang Liping’s old masters were perfect examples of BH.  They know what needed to be done and they did it, regardless of the immediate discomfort of their disciples or of those who were “offended” by their way of life.  And, most importantly, they did it out of genuine love and concern for the welfare of those they were responsible for.

In essence, they were putting the power of BH at the service of those who were seeking to do the right thing.  Another scenario along the same lines is defending people who are unjustly attacked for doing the right thing. In the recent series of crises in my own Church, those of us who spoke up did so partly to protect others who had already stuck their necks out.

2. STOP THOSE WHO SEEK TO DO EVIL:

Black Heart also refuses the false compassion that would allow people doing evil to continue to harm others and wreak havoc.

There are many wonderful features of life up here in Canada. The criminal justice system is NOT one of them. Enslaved for decades to absurd ideas that the criminal is the “victim” of society, our system has a nasty habit of letting violent criminals go free. The penalties for real wrong-doing are a bit of a joke.

In her book, “Thick Face, Black Heart,” Chin-Ning Chu illustrates this with the true story of two ancient Chinese warlords.  One was the emperor of the time and the other a peasant and rebel leader trying to overthrow him. The emperor captured the rebel leader at one point, but refused to deal with him harshly, considering him a worthy opponent of sorts.  This allowed the rebel leader to escape, muster his army again, and overthrow the emperor.  Chu points out that this act of “mercy” simply prolonged the civil war and the slaughter of innocents.  So the emperor’s “mercy” was self-indulgent and counter-productive.  Likewise, nearly every great tyrant of the 20th century was in jail at some point, and some damn fool decided to release him.  Hitler even wrote “Mein Kampf” in prison, explaining in detail his insane plans, and they still let him go!

One of my favorite examples comes from Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Captain Picard has a golden opportunity to destroy the Borg (the single most dangerous and sinister threat to civilization any sci-fi author could possibly invent).  Yet, he hesitates and finally doesn’t do it, rationalizing his stupidity by comparing the act to “genocide”.   Excuse me.  Time out!  What about the hundreds of billions of people whose lives will be destroyed in the near future when the Borg overrun their planets, and all because of your bogus compassion, Captain Picard?  I guess your “compassion” didn’t extend to them.

If you look carefully, you’ll see bogus compassion is all around you. In our Church, we were too soft-hearted to sack ALL the bishops who tried to cover up the financial scandal.  Instead we only sacked the top guy.  That has already come back to bite us.  Real compassion involves cutting off evil – suddenly and definitely.  That’s the essence of BH.  BH accords well with the old saying, “All that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

3. HONE YOUR KILLER INSTINCT:

The “killer instinct” is muted in our society.  It’s sublimated into other outlets like watching professional sports and playing video games.  People who like to talk about inner peace may be horrified by the mere mention of killer instinct, considering it something to be programmed out of human beings.

Great spiritual traditions thought otherwise.  They knew that the same power that you could use egotistically to kill someone who merely disagrees with you is the very power that you need to harness to overcome your inner obstacles.  Paradoxically, there is a war to be waged for inner peace.

Obviously, that same killer instinct is instrumental in “thick face” – it’s the inner power that allows you to develop a powerful self-image, stick to your guns and resist the criticism and opinions of others.

It’s also the power that allows you to become DEFINITE about your lifestyle, about who you are and what you stand for.  It’s the very power that brings clarity.

If you’re a man, a male human being, you are a hunter and a killer by nature. Yes, society’s gone to great lengths to program that out of you, to tell you you shouldn’t have those feelings or act that way or think that way. Ancient Traditions took a different approach – they taught you how to harness and redirect that power, not repress it.  Repressing it leads to neurosis and boredom.

And women need this too. It simply expresses itself differently. But find a mother protecting her child from physical danger and you’ll see true killer instinct.

CONCLUSION:

“Thick Face” and “Black Heart” express the reality of your mind-body organism. In your natural state, you’re impervious to the opinions and agendas of others, you’re definite with your life and clear on your purpose, you are “brutal” in defense of the good and “ruthless” in crushing evil.  These are divine traits within the human being.

Yes, they can be perverted, as they have been by tyrants, corporate executives and jihadists throughout history, as well as by fascists and religious fascists of all kinds.  That, however, is irrelevant.  You already possess the energies of Thick Face and Black Heart within you. They will come out somehow.  It’s up to you to channel them in ways that transform your life and the lives of those around you.   And when you do that, you’ll be well on your way to attaining true personal resilience, which is both your birthright and your natural state as a human being.

~Dr. Symeon Rodger

P.S. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on the concepts of “Thick Face” and “Black Heart”. Feel free to leave your comments below!


Using “Thick Face / Black Heart” to Get Clarity and Conviction

Welcome to our next installment on the warrior philosophy of “Thick Face, Black Heart” (TFBH) and what it can do for YOU. If you’ve just stumbled on this post, please go back to the two previous posts and READ THEM FIRST. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in a matter of seconds ;-)

Practicing TFBH clarifies everything in your life. TFBH means living in the world of the DEFINITE. Once you become very definite about your lifestyle – about your diet, your exercise, your responsibilities towards others at home, at work and in general, something miraculous happens…

GREAT CLARITY ENSUES:

One of the defining characteristics of most people in our culture is their glaring lack of definiteness and direction. We’re a deeply conflicted people who create deeply conflicted lives.

Once you DECIDE to adopt a definite manner of life – meaning you stick to your lifestyle even when others attack you or, more importantly, when you yourself “feel like” caving in – then the next step is this:

Decide who you really are and what you stand for. Ask yourself these questions (yes, really do it!  Get out a piece of paper or open a new document on your computer):

1. What are my highest values as a person?

2. What moral standards do I refuse to compromise on?

3. When have I been asked to go along passively with something unjust or to live with a lie?  Have I become “politically correct” (in other words, a pathological liar)?

4. When have I actually gone along with a lie?

5. If I could contribute just ONE good thing to the world in my lifetime, what would it be?  And what am I willing to do about it?

6. What infuriates me?  What will I absolutely not tolerate?

Yes, contrary to what you might think, righteous anger is not an evil. The ancient Christian tradition considers it a protective force implanted within you by your Creator. If you see evil and injustice done to others and that doesn’t infuriate you, then you’ve got a real problem. Not that you should lose control of yourself; simply that you should feel impelled to take action.

As many of you know, my jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church has suffered a debilitating financial scandal and a generalized leadership crisis over the past couple of years. At one point the lies became too much for me and I spoke out. And I took the criticism that comes from the spineless and unprincipled who fear nothing quite so much as rocking the boat. That’s an example of “thick face”. However, many who did speak out and continue to do so have suffered for it much more than I did, and they deserve great respect for doing so.

Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. are perfect examples of people who felt compelled to speak out. They saw injustice and got REALLY ANGRY about it. However, they were able to channel the force of their righteous anger into great moral principles and to achieve victories once thought completely impossible.  Their righteous anger became the very power of their inspiring vision of a better future for everyone.

REFUSING OTHER PEOPLE’S DEFINITIONS FOR YOUR LIFE

My family has a dear friend who’s over 90 years old right now. He was a best friend to my father for over half a century. Lately he’s become a bit obsessed with telling my children how off-track they are with respect to their educations and career choices. They need to become doctors, lawyers or dentists, he says, because those are the people who make the real money.

Well, that kind of career advice is understandable from a post-war immigrant, but it really lost its validity after the sixties.

Likewise, you’ll find all kinds of well-meaning people trying to define your life for you. Some of them may be success “gurus” telling you success is measured in dollars. Some may be family members who think you should go to university because the previous three generations of your family did.

One thing you can be sure of: if you are definite about your lifestyle – adopting a “thick face” in that department – and if you’re increasingly definite about who you are and what you stand for, you’ll become more and more CLEAR about what you want to contribute. And when that’s the case, you WILL find all kinds of people putting obstacles in your way.

The great thing about practicing TFBH is that once you become very clear and definite about the little things in life, you’ll get CRYSTAL CLARITY surprisingly fast on the larger issues, including your long term dreams and your most immediate goals.

Try it. Don’t believe me; see for yourself! “Thick Face” and “Black Heart” are the essence of the world’s ancient spiritual traditions and of the Warrior’s way of life worldwide.

This coming Thursday, I’ll finally explain to you what “Black Heart” means – it doesn’t mean what you’re probably thinking it means… ;-)

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Get a “Thick Face” – Regain Your Personal Autonomy!

As promised, here’s the first installment of how you can understand and cultivate the profound philosophy of “Thick Face, Black Heart” in your own life. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you MUST read the previous post FIRST.

THICK FACE

You probably know that Asians tend to be VERY concerned with matters of face (as in the expression, “saving face”). In other words, reputation means everything to them and what others think really matters. To us in our individualistic culture, this seems a trifle overdone at times and it has a couple of major disadvantages – it means you cede control over your behavior to other people’s ideas and standards and it also makes you reactive and highly predictable.

Not surprisingly, “Thick Face” (hereafter “TF”) is quite the opposite. It’s more like our concept of “Thick Skin”. It means you stop caring what other people think or say about you. You stop trying to live by other people’s standards and start living by the principles you really believe in.

Yes, at its worst, this could mean you’re a sociopath who thinks he’s the center of the universe and the fount of all wisdom. Hitler, Stalin and Chairman Mao all had very thick faces. However, consider the following…

Back in the early 1920s, a very enthusiastic young spiritual seeker arrived on Mount Athos, the most important center of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. Despite immense pressure to “settle down” and join one of the large monasteries, to become “one of the crowd”, he steadfastly refused. He knew exactly what kind of spiritual life model he wanted to follow and endured lots of abuse for it. And later on, when he was living the life he so ardently sought, he was verbally abused by other monks who condemned him as eccentric and unfriendly, all because he insisted on following a schedule and carefully managing his time and the time of those who had joined him (and that meant, “if you show up when we’re praying, we won’t stop to talk to you!”  Hence the reasons others felt slighted by him).

This young monk’s name was Joseph… later known as Joseph the Hesychast, one of the great spiritual masters of the 20th century. Joseph’s refusal to cave in to the pressures to conform or to surrender the integrity of his lifestyle to criticisms of others are the epitome of THICK FACE.

Politicians tend to have very thick faces. They have to. Of course, not a few of them are self-centered sociopaths who don’t care who gets hurt. On the other hand, consider Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King – they were all the object of violent criticism and they all survived and succeeded by having a TF.

TRUST YOUR OWN JUDGMENT

By now it may have dawned on you that you can’t have a TF without trusting your own judgment. That may sound arrogant, but it isn’t always. So let’s clear up a common misunderstanding – being humble does NOT mean you cave in to other people’s opinions. After all, Joseph the Hesychast’s whole life was about cultivating humility, and he never caved in. Humble people do not surrender their principles for any reason. Opportunists do… at the drop of a hat.

Think back through your life. Can you think of times where someone in authority was pressuring you to do something or agree with something you thought was inadvisable or wrong? Looking back on the incident, were you right? Should you have trusted your gut?

When have you been right all along? On the other hand, you need to admit the truth when your judgment has been wrong.

I’ve been viciously criticized and even plotted against because some people found the “controversial” things I wrote in The 5 Pillars of Life totally unacceptable. They would happily have banned the book and had me tossed out of the priesthood of the Orthodox Church.

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s to trust my gut on matters of spiritual life and personal development. I’m so convinced I’m right about certain things to do with the history and development of Christianity, for instance, that all the opposition in the universe won’t even make a dent. Now, if someone comes to me with “new evidence” and can prove that I might be on the wrong track, I’ll happily listen. This isn’t an egotistical thing – it’s about what’s true and what’s not.  So far, no one has been able to present any evidence to the contrary.

And you can probably find a parallel in your own life.

The essence of TF is regaining your personal autonomy, no longer having your life controlled by the opinions of others, by what they think of you or say about you, by the standards of the prevailing culture – standards that always claim absolute truth is on their side, even though they differ from one culture to another and shift over time.

It is NOT POSSIBLE to do anything significant in life if you don’t have a TF, simply because anything worth doing WILL bring criticism. People WILL try to drag you down to their level. They WILL be jealous of your accomplishments and rain on your parade. Get used to it now and determine from this moment on to adopt a TF.

Fortunately, everyday life gives you lots of opportunities to practice. Think about it and make a list of what you’ll do this week to practice!  First, you need to know who you are and what you stand for.  What values are non-negotiable for you?  What activities and pursuits mean the most to you?  What makes you happy and fulfilled?  Then ask yourself what people or social pressures in your life are “asking” you (overtly or in a subtle way) to abandon what’s important to you?  Hint: they’ll be the ones telling you to “grow up”, “be responsible”, “be realistic”, “be a team player”, etc.

THICK FACE AS A WARRIOR PHILOSOPHY

Chin-Ning Chu was quite right to call TFBH a “warrior philosophy” in her subtitle. In fact, I’m convinced that the warrior traditions of the world’s “Authentic Ancient Traditions” (as I called them in The 5 Pillars of Life) already contain the essence of TFBH, simply because TFBH describes your natural state once you’re rid of all the cultural conditioning that’s holding you back.

In the next post, we’ll go on to discuss how TFBH can give you COMPLETE CLARITY about what you want to do, and very quickly!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


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


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