The Detergent Of Loyalty

In ancient Japan, men who became the armed guards of the aristocracy were known as samurai, or “attendants.” Later when the samurai seized power from the aristocracy, they needed to distinguish themselves from the “attendant” label. They began to call themselves bushi, or “warriors” or “knights.”

Hundreds of years of war hardened these knights and warriors to a way of living that was unlike any other. As the fighting ended, the older battle-seasoned warriors worried about the new generation becoming soft.

Taira Shigesuke, a military scientist and scholar of Confucious, wrote a handbook, called Bushido Shoshinshu, in order to pass the lessons down from an older warrior generation to the next.

The handbook was not focused so much on strategic and tactical training methods of the bushi as it was on practical and moral instruction. It was written as a guide on how to live better. It was a benchmark on professional standards and conduct.

“There is a variety of detergents used for cleaning white jackets. Similarly, there are various practices that are like detergents for cleaning the hearts of warriors. What are these practices? They are loyalty, duty, and courage.” Taira Shigesuke, Bushido Shoshinshu

Loyalty, duty, and courage.

For thousands of years, these ideals have shaped cultures and individuals. The samurai knew these to be instinctive. Thousands of years before in ancient Greece, the Spartans and the Athenians lived too by these values. Why? Because it is ingrained in us as human beings.

“Think only good thoughts, and with time they will become good deeds.” – Leo Tolstoy

In our hearts, we know what is right. We know what is wrong. How often in your job do you think of loyalty, duty, and courage?

“When the stain remains stubborn even after washing with loyalty and rinsing with duty, then you use the detergent of courage, and make a determined effort to scrub it clean. This is the warrior’s ultimate secret of cleaning the heart.” – Taira Shigesuke, Bushido Shoshinshu

You do not need to be a swordsman to be a warrior. You do not need to be proficient with any weapon to adopt the heart and mind of a warrior. You need courage. You need a sense of duty. You need loyalty to a cause. You need loyalty to your fellow man.

Our time here is limited. We should all avoid wasting time in battles not of our own choosing.

“Space I can recover. Time, never.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Loyalty requires a purpose. Loyalty requires a direction.

“It is not enough to be a hardworking person. Think: what do you work at?” – Henry David Thoreau

How we spend our time is a direct reflection of our loyalties. What does your calendar say about your loyalty?

Too often we find ourselves hurrying from one task to the next. With loyalty, duty, and courage, you can realign your efforts. You can regain your purpose.

Just because our time is limited does not mean we should frantically rush about. Real warriors are calm. They are cool. They are collected.

“Hurried work done in irritation attracts the unfavorable attention of others. Real work is always quiet, constant, and inconspicuous.” – Leo Tolstoy

Quiet professionals. Learn to be one.

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