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Honesty (真 Makoto) – Principles of Bushido

Ader Sensei - Head Instructor of All Okinawa Karate & Kobudo in Colorado SpringsThis week I spoke with one of my black belts several times about the trait of honesty. We agreed that it is a principle that is in short supply but extremely important. Here are a few thoughts on the power of honesty.

Being honest with ourselves, and others, is a key principle of success for the modern warrior. In some of the seminars that I listen to on tape or even attend, participants may pay thousands of dollars to be surrounded by elite people that will be honest with them and tell them the truth about the validity of their goals and expectations. As people become successful in the martial arts or other endeavors, they tend to develop followers. Many may indeed be people that always say what great ideas you have or how wonderful you are. In reality, to ensure your success, you must surround yourself with mentors, colleagues and followers that will be truly honest with you.

This honesty is also critical in your opinion and beliefs in your self-worth and abilities. Most people never achieve their greatest results because of the negative untruths they think and recite to themselves. I have seen people achieve some great things simply because they got rid of limiting, negative beliefs and self talk and set higher expectations for themselves. We can achieve amazing things by setting goals that are achievable and not limited by false negative beliefs. In karate, I see shy, timid children become self-confidant and full of self-esteem in months through positive reinforcement and training in the martial arts, under the guidance of a good teacher.

Okinawa Martial Arts BlogFace it, you are either being honest with yourself, or not. There is nothing in between. There is no such thing as partial honesty. Integrity, a standard of personal morality and ethics, is not relative to the situation you happen to find yourself in and doesn’t sell out to expediency. It’s in short supply these days and is becoming even less common… but without it, leadership and honesty are just facades. A quick reminder also that being honest doesn’t mean being cruel. Honesty is a positive trait while cruelty certainly is not.

Those that live their lives on the crossed fingers philosophy, hoping and wishing things turn out ok, are doomed to living their lives in mediocrity. Those that analyze their abilities honestly and set clear and specific goals are the ones that make it to the top 10%. These folks will achieve more in a short time than most people do in their entire lives.

One of the success coaches that I read and listen to and a fellow black belt is Jim Rohn. Jim consistently talks about distinguishing the trinkets from the treasures. Many times, what we first see as something of value turns out to be worthless while many times, we overlook the most valuable items. The myth that all that counts is bottom-line success often leads to fleeting stardom and ultimate defeat. Ask a thousand has-beens. There are no degrees of integrity and honesty. And… I can guarantee, that any treasure you find will be steeped in honesty and integrity. This is a key principle of Bushido – The Way of The Warrior.

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