Habits for Iron Mind

Iron Mind At Work

Iron mind is the mind which has realized itself and nourishes the whole person. It is not wracked with anxiety, fear or indecision. It is an inner citadel where strength, confidence, initiative, love and mastery reside. Iron mind embraces challenge, is excited by adversity and is free from fear. This mind fosters real, not perceived, happiness. A happiness bound by excellence and wisdom rather than gratification. Developing iron mind is a life’s work which is cut from years of exercise, routine, pain and trial. Such development is not only at the service of you, but at the service of your family, community, country and world.

  1. Focus only at the task, not the end. For the task, devote all effort. Eventually this will result in the end goal spontaneously achieved. You wish to “become strong” you should consider it as a series of hundreds of tasks (small increments in strength, raising the bar one more time) and throw absolutely everything into those tasks. The joy is in the labor, not the goal.
  2. If you are in a poor mood, exert your body. Move and do not sit.
  3. For everything say: can I control this? Is this my action, my opinion or my judgment? If not, how can I dwell on it, or be harmed by it, or become frustrated with it? It’s not in my power. Focus on what you can control, nothing else. Note that what’s not under your power may not conform to your wishes, prepare for that. Prepare to have things taken from you.
  4. Deny yourself the easiest path. If two trails are ahead, pick the tougher one. A nine mile trail is better than a four mile trail, always. Acknowledge nothing in the mind as difficult, only a teacher to make you better. The feeling of victory the end of a long journey, exhausted and sweaty, is a triumph like none other which will transform you. Love pain and difficulty. Scorn comfort and shortcuts.
  5. Skip a meal sometimes and embrace the hunger. Take a drink when you are thirsty and spit it out. You’re still alive. Reflect on those without.
  6. Meditate daily to determine where thoughts arise from, and why. If from self-defeating emotions or ego, detach from them and let skillful mindsets arise. Train Samatha and Vipassana meditation.
  7. To every action: is this how my hero would function? Is this helpful, loving and educational? Is this the behavior of a king? How can I improve this situation? Act, because none other will. When a flinch, delay or hesitation arises, immediately become aware that you are about to defeat yourself. Push on. If you have free time give back to those who are in need.
  8. Things are only bad if you deem them so: change your judgment and you haven’t been hurt.
  9. Be content with a cool breeze, a pleasant conversation and friendship. Stop desiring all out of reach – see that constant craving chains us so that we cannot advance and saps enjoyment out of the joyous act of being alive.
  10. Personal grooming, hygiene and keeping a clean living environment are not optional. Keep your hair well maintained, your clothes clean and your workspace free of clutter, garbage and disarray. Take pride in your appearance to develop self-respect, discipline and routine.
  11. Define challenges to accomplish on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Weekly: talk to that girl at work you fancy. Monthly: Improve your continuous run time from 10 to 12 minutes without rest. Yearly: climb a mountain. Nothing defined? No progress. No growth. Stagnation. Torpor.
  12. Train strength routinely and intensely. This transforms weak mind to iron mind more than anything else. If you can, find the best possible full contact martial arts teachers and devote yourself to them. Imitate them by watching how they speak and act. Do not complain, inside or out.