The word “Samurai” typically does not bring about visions of corporate dealings and everyday encounters. The Samurai were strong, fearless warriors. What business then do they have in… well, business? Honestly, the answer might surprise you.
The Samurai lived by a code of ethics, a set of virtues that guided them both in battle and in everyday life. They typically lived by a 7-5-3 code… seven virtues, five keys to health, and three states of mind.
Let’s first take a look at the seven virtues of the samurai warrior.
Let’s first take a look at the seven virtues of the samurai warrior.
The Seven Virtues
Rectitude – Integrity was an essential virtue for the Samurai. The warrior’s code calls for consideration of all points of view and personal accountability. The code of the Samurai emphasizes justice, commitment, and a sense of pride.
Respect – The samurai greatly valued respect. They gave it, and they expected it. They aspired to be kind and courteous even to their enemies. They were not cruel or deceptive. They were strong, yet gentle. They displayed strength and humility that set them apart from others. They valued quality over quantity and looked for what was best for all who were involved in any situation.
Courage – The Samurai warriors were courageous. They did not back down or live their lives in fear. They were confident and took risks because they knew that was the only way that true growth was possible. They always strived for improvement and refused to settle. They stood up for what they believed in and did what they felt was right because it was the right thing to do.
Honor – The Samurai warrior looked within and embodied self-improvement. They did not seek judgment or validation from others. Rather, they held themselves accountable for their actions. They did not misrepresent themselves, nor did they live in denial. They owned up to any errors in judgment and did all that they could to make things right when mistakes were made.
Benevolence – The Samurai worked hard and endured intense training that made them both physically and mentally strong. They used that incredible strength for self- defense and to stand up for those who needed it, rather than intimidating others or acting upon them harshly. They showed compassion and helped their fellow man at every opportunity. They also actively looked to improve the lives of others and make a difference in the world.
Honesty – Honesty was essential. The Samurai warrior had no reason to hide things from themselves or anyone else. They did not deceive or made empty promises. If they said they would do something, then you can be sure that it would get done. They valued trust and would rather die than break that trust.
Duty and Loyalty – The Samurai held themselves responsible for all their actions and the consequences of those actions. They were immensely loyal to everyone who relied on them. They knew the power that their words and actions had, and they were careful not to misuse that power.
While many people do scheme and cut corners in the pursuit of success and profit, the price of these dirty dealings often far outweighs any perceived direct benefits.
Success is short-lived because clients or colleagues tire of the shady practices. Nobody wants to do business with someone who puts themselves and their bank account above the needs and safety of others. If you cannot trust the person, you most likely can’t trust their business.
Values such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, compassion, courage, and respect are important. People gravitate towards those who display these qualities, and they are far more likely to put their trust in them and their businesses.
A person with these characteristics makes decisions that benefit everyone they affect. He or she will not sell a product that is harmful or not properly tested. They will not cut corners to move product or services more quickly. They follow guidelines and make things right whenever mistakes are made.
These people are much more successful in business and in life because they are trustworthy and loyal. They are also successful because they do what they love and strive to help others, whether that means providing goods and services that make day to day life a little easier or solving major problems and donating profits to charities and people in need.
The Five Keys to Health
In addition to the seven virtues of the Samurai warrior, the code takes into consideration personal care and wellbeing. These factors are also helpful in the business world. When you take care of yourself, then you can focus better and take care of your business and your family or anyone else who depends on you. The five keys to health are rational nutrition, sensible exercise, efficient rest, proper hygiene, and a positive attitude.
Nutrition is obviously important. A person needs sustenance to survive, and fueling your body with food that is good for you leaves you healthy and full of energy. When you eat well, you have the strength to make it through long days, which are typical in a world of seemingly nonstop business meetings.
Samurai warriors were not the only ones who relied heavily on proper nutrition to ensure their ability to think clearly and perform well. Long meetings, big decisions, and juggling responsibilities as an entrepreneur are much easier when you eat well and exercise. A well-balanced diet is a great way to ensure a healthy lifestyle, as is exercise. Exercise strengthens your muscles, increases energy levels, and improves your overall health.
Rest and relaxation, deep meditation, proper hygiene, and a positive attitude were important to the Samurai. While it should be obvious that these are important for everyone, most people sacrifice these areas to do more work faster.
Working long hours (including overnights) are the norm nowadays, especially for entrepreneurs. This can lead to poor health and hygiene, enormous stress, and even hostility. The best thing you can do for your business is to put yourself and your family first. If you are healthy and happy, then you are going to perform your best and be much more successful than you would otherwise.
The Three States of Mind
The three states of mind detailed in Bushido are alertness, clear mind, and emotional balance. If you are meeting all your needs, displaying the qualities discussed in the seven virtues, eating well, and exercising; then you will certainly achieve emotional balance. Meditation helps to clear your mind so that you can focus better. You will be more aware of your surroundings and better able to solve problems than you would have been otherwise.
As you can see, the code of the Samurai details characteristics that are desirable in all aspects of life. The Samurai obtained great strength and endurance, which were useful in battle and when helping those around them. Entrepreneurs can use these same guidelines to increase their overall wellbeing and performance, which will lead to more success, higher profits, and loyal customers. Who wouldn’t want that?
Chris Arima is the Co-Founder/Chief Branding Officer of Influencive. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Startup founder, Author, Spoken Word Poet/Rapper & lifelong Martial Artist.
Published July 6, 2016