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The warrior mindset is something often sought after by those seeking self-actualization. In a world largely bereft of opportunities to be a real warrior, we seek to leverage the mindset used by warriors since time immemorial for our own purposes. This can be a difficult process, but it is one worth pursuing – the benefits are enormous.
The warrior mindset is one born from necessity. When the warrior stops fighting, he dies. While the stakes are not quite so high for most of us living in the modern world, being able to tap into this mindset can provide us with a serious advantage in moving toward our own goals.
While our lives might not be a life or death struggle (or at least, not every day), they are, indeed, a struggle. This is where there is overlap with the way of the warrior. For many of us, the daily struggle is not about moving toward the new disruptive app or finishing the Great American Novel — it is a genuine struggle to organize the self, to overcome real adversity.
Perseverance in the face of adversity is the essence of the warrior mindset and what we must do on a daily basis. To do otherwise is to give up and, in some small but significant way, to die a death.
The following quotes on the warrior mindset and perseverance will come in handy on those days when you simply feel like you have nothing left to give. We hope they help you to find the way on those darkest of days.
Quotes About Being a Warrior and Having a Warrior Mindset
“Assume nobody’s gonna help you; but nobody’s gonna stop you either.”Florent Crivello
“When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man, it will exercise his mind with suffering, subject his sinews and bones to hard work, expose his body to hunger, put him to poverty, place obstacles in the paths of his deeds, so as to stimulate his mind, harden his nature, and improve wherever he is incompetent.”Meng Tzu
“Of the great men of the past whom I hold up as models, almost everyone of them has been either imprisoned or threaten with imprisonment for their spiritual beliefs: Gandhi, Jesus, Socrates, Lao-tse… I have absolutely no fear of imprisonment…I know that the only real prisons are internal.”Timothy Leary
“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”St. Catherine of Siena
“It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”Emiliano Zapata
“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”Jean-Paul Sartre
“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”Carlos Castaneda
“To do all that one is able to do, is to be a man; to do all that one would like to do, is to be a god.”Napoléon Bonaparte
“Nothing can resist a human will that will stake its very existence on its purpose.”Benjamin Disraeli
“For [my girlfriend] the point of life is like, happiness, to be with people that make you feel fulfilled; to have a good time. For me, it’s all about performance. Anybody can be happy and cozy… Nobody achieves anything great because they are happy and cozy. It’s about being a warrior. It doesn’t matter about the cause, necessarily. This is your path and you will pursue it with excellence. You face your fear, because your goal demands it. That is the goddamned warrior spirit. I think the free-soloing mentality is pretty close to warrior culture; where you give something 100% focus, because your life depends on it.”Alex Honnold, Free Solo
“Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting, but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no narrow illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of the night; we wake up to it, forever and ever; and we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it.”Henry James
“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”H.L. Mencken
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”Henry David Thoreau
“Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.”Ignatius
“I will participate in the game (of life). It’s a wonderful, wonderful opera – except that it hurts. And that wonderful Irish saying you know – ‘Is this a private fight, or can anybody get into it?’ – is the way life is. And the hero is the one who can participate in it decently. In the way of nature. Not in the way of personal rancor, revenge, or anything of the kind.”Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers Season 1 Episode 2 Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth – “The Message of the Myth”
“Children have a lesson adults should learn, to not be ashamed of failing, but to get up and try again. Most of us adults are so afraid, so cautious, so ‘safe,’ and therefore so shrinking and rigid and afraid that it is why so many humans fail. Most middle-aged adults have resigned themselves to failure.”Malcolm X
“Every society honors its live conformists and dead troublemakers.”Mignon McLaughlin
“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”Theodore Roosevelt
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”Theodore Roosevelt
“You don’t want to be in a place where there’s no challenge. You might even quit your job if there’s no challenge. Say, ‘Well, that’s a good job. It gives you security,’ and you think, ‘God, I can’t stand this. It’s eating away at my soul. It’s all security and no challenge.’ So why do you want a challenge? Because that’s what you’re built for. You’re built to take on a maximal load, right? Because that’s what strengthens you, and you need to be strong because life is extraordinarily difficult.”
“(Why is that?) Because the evil king is always whittling away at the structure of the state. And you have to be awake and sharp to stop that from happening so that you don’t become corrupt. And so that your family doesn’t become corrupt. And so that your state doesn’t have to become corrupt. You have to have your eyes open, and your wits sharp, and your words at the ready. And you have to be educated. And you have to know about your history. And you have to know how to think. And you have to know how to read. And you have to know how to speak. And you have to know how to aim. And you have to be willing to hoist the troubles of the world up on your shoulders. And what’s so interesting about that, so remarkable. And this is something that’s really manifested itself to me as I’ve been doing these public lectures. I’ve been talking about responsibility to people, which doesn’t seem to happen very often anymore, and the audiences are dead quiet. And I lay out this idea that life is tragedy tainted by malevolence, and everyone says, ‘Yeah, well we already always suspected that, but no one has ever said it quite so bluntly, and it’s quite a relief to hear that I’m not the only person who has those suspicions.”
“Then the second part of that is the better part, and it’s the optimistic part, which is despite the fact that life is a tragedy tainted by malevolence, at every level of existence there’s something about the human spirit that can thrive under precisely those conditions if we allow that to occur, because as difficult as life is – and as horrible as we are – our capacity to deal with that catastrophe and to transcend that malevolent spirit is more powerful than that reality itself. And that’s the fundamental issue. I think that’s the fundamental issue of the Judeo-Christian ethic, with its emphasis on the divinity of the individual.”
“As catastrophic as life is – and as malevolent as people can be, and that’s malevolent beyond belief – fundamentally, a person has, in spirit, the nobility to set that right and to defeat evil. And that more than that the antidote to the catastrophe of life, and the suffering of life, and the tragedy of life that can drive you down and destroy you, is to take on exactly that responsibility, and to say, ‘Well, there’s plenty of work to be done, and isn’t that terrible?
“There isn’t anything so bad that we can’t make it worse, but I have it within me to decide that I’m going to stand up against that. I’m going to strive to make the world a better place. I’m going to strive to constrain the malevolence that’s in my own heart, and to set my family straight, and to work despite my tragic lot for the betterment of everything that’s in front of me.’ And the consequence of that – the immediate consequence of that – is that when you make the decision to take on all of that voluntarily – which is to stand up straight, by the way, with your shoulders back – to take all that on voluntarily, as soon as you make that decision, then all the catastrophe justifies itself in the nobility of your striving. And that’s what it means to be an individual.”Jordan Peterson
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”Abraham Lincoln
“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”Unknown, often misattributed to Winston Churchill
“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”Winston Churchill
Quotes About Perseverance and the Value of Continuing Even When Things Are Difficult
“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“Some people plant in the spring and leave in the summer. If you’ve signed up for a season, see it through. You don’t have to stay forever, but at least stay until you see it through.”Jim Rohn
“The only thing in the middle of the road is yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”Jim Hightower
“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”Friedrich Nietzsche
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”Paul the Apostle, Letter to the Romans, 5:3-4
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”Confucius
“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”John Quincy Adams
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”Babe Ruth
“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”Franklin D. Roosevelt
“To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.”Franklin D. Roosevelt