Adapt or Die
The wise man adapts himself to the circumstances.
The warrior lives by a certain set of
standards, a code of honor if you will. There are certain things that he will
not do because those things go against his beliefs and the standards which he
has set for himself. Many of his principles are not open to compromise; they
are set in stone and he refuses to bend where they are concerned, but this does
not mean that he is inflexible. Although the warrior is not willing to bend
where his principles are concerned, he must be flexible in his strategy.
First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do.
Warriors have to be able to adapt to the
changing circumstances. The willow bends and adapts during the storm and is not
broken, where the mighty oak does not bend and will break during the storm. The
warrior must be able to change tactics as the
situation changes. He will adapt his methods to that which the present circumstance requires. Not to do so would be foolish and costly.
This is not to say that the warrior should
lower his standards or set aside his ethics as he sees fit.
There is a difference in changing your strategy to fit the circumstances and in
changing your ethics to suit the situation. This is where
time spent meditating on your code of ethics and honor comes into play. You
must be clear about what you believe and why you hold those beliefs. Change
your methods to accomplish your goal; don’t compromise your ethics to serveyour methods. This may seem like a subtledistinction,
but it is an important one, especially for the warrior.
The secret of success is before attempting anything,
be very clear about why you are doing it.
Guan Yin Tzu
In today’s society, our culture is changing rapidly. This means that the warrior will have to adapt his strategies and methods to be successful in today’s political climate. While being straight forward is to be commended, you do have to carefully consider both your actions and your words, especially in a politically correct, litigation crazy culture. Trying to handle situations the same way as warriors might have even 50 years ago can get you into big trouble.
For example, 50 years ago, if some jerk was using file language or being crude and obnoxious at a public gathering, in front of ladies, chances are there would be a man there who would shut his mouth for him, and not in a peaceful way. On top of that, those around him who have most likely been appreciative of his actions, and if by chance law enforcement was called, they would have probably hauled the obnoxious jerk off to jail instead of the guy who punched this bum in the mouth. Times have changed…
Today, if the same thing happened, it is pretty much considered commonplace. Everyone would basically go about their own business and the jerk would not be called out concerning his behavior. And, if by chance someone did address his behavior and punched him in the mouth, guess who will end up going to the jail house? Not the file-mouthed jerk, oh no, he was innocently assaulted by some macho brute. This is just one example, but you get the point.
Do that which will not afflict you afterward,
nor oblige you to repent.
The warrior has to adapt and change his strategies for handling situations like the one described above. Not to do so is simply unwise. This doesn’t mean that you have to allow things such as I described above go unaddressed; it simply mean that you have to be smart and determine a better (more acceptable) way of addressing inappropriate behavior.
Emerson stated, “If one method fails, try another, and suit your methods to the characters you have to deal with.” Today’s warrior has to deal with a totally different breed of characters. It is to your advantage to adapt your methods and strategies to fit the culture and the people that you have to deal with in today’s society. Adhere to the virtues of old, but make sure that you adapt your actions to the times. Change your strategies and methods – not your standards or your ethics.
Each is responsible for his own actions.
H. L. Hunt
(Edited from Warrior Wisdom: The Warrior’s Path)