One of the mysteries of life that I find most fascinating is the existence of Paradoxes.

If you have already read my posts about it, you will know how observing the Paradox helped me in my journey to healing. For me, understanding it is about accepting that I can not understand it, and be ok with it. It’s about surrendering to the higher powers of the universe and about having faith.

In the past five years, I have been practising martial arts as a hobby. First I started with Karate, then Kung Fu. Being slightly immersed in the Chinese art of battle was more about getting to know myself rather than learning to be aggressive with others. I found it magical to understand myself as a form of energy connected with nature and how I could be in control of that energy called Chi.

So I would like to share a snippet of The Samurai Paradox of Death and a quote from Mark Twain, which I love and I think complements divinely with my previous posts. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The Samurai Paradox of Death

“The Samurai embraced the soldiers-paradox: If you fear death, you will die. They were brave, as all warriors must be. The basic neurological fact that fear causes your brain to shut down your ability to do parasympathetic tasks (like complex sword fighting techniques, or snatching) was intuitively understood by ancient Samurai. However, they weren’t just interested in surviving. Bravery and Courage are not the same thing. To be brave is to do something despite the fact that you are frightened. To show courage is to do something that scares you precisely because you know you must – because it is the right thing to do. So, courage is a kind of bravery, but not always the other way around. What makes the Samurai a particularly unique brand of warrior was their sense of total righteousness and how that impacted their sense of courage. The soldiers-paradox, when correctly understood and applied, will keep you alive (or will – at least – make that more likely).

The samurai were said to possess a resolute self-belief, so much so that they believed they could accomplish anything. Certainly, when confronting a battle scenario and the prospect of death, self- belief would be paramount. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the spirit of ‘shinnen’ helped repair a post-war Japan and turn it into the world’s second largest economy today. We must also possess self-belief, particularly when confronting the obstacles (and sometimes discouraging statistics) that are part of startup life. In Japanese, the 2nd code of Bushido is “Yuuki” which translate as Courage – the quality of a confident character not to be afraid or intimidated easily but without being incautious or inconsiderate. It is the ability to do things which one finds frightening.”

“Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” ~ Mark Twain