Book Review – Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
Dan Millman is a college student and talented gymnast with a lofty goal of qualifying for an Olympic team. His views of himself, his life and what is important to his happiness are challenged the night he meets an old man named Socrates at a late night gas station. Despite Dan’s resistance, Socrates leads him through a different kind of training – the way of the peaceful warrior – which is full of self-discovery and enlightenment. There are many bumps and roadblocks along the way, most of which are Dan’s own doing due to his skepticism, but throughout the book Socrates delivers his wisdom in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
There are many great takeaway points from this book, most importantly is the realization that we have everything we ever would need in order to be happy. Our lives become complicated when we set lofty expectations or goals in the hopes happiness will then come to us. How many times have you thought to yourself ‘I want/need [blank] to feel complete or fulfilled’?
I wish I had an extra $100 a month… or
I really need a new car… or
I want another pair of shoes…
Even if these thoughts are centered around something admirable as in Dan’s case – qualifying for the Olympic team is a goal that takes an extreme amount of effort and dedication. For any of us we think once we achieve this major milestone, we’ll be fulfilled, but as Dan finds out, that’s not usually the case. As Socrates explains,
“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer. If you get what you don’t want, you suffer. Even when you get exactly what you want you still suffer because you can’t hold onto it forever.”
I think the point of that statement is, if you continue to place value on superficial items or achievements, you’ll never truly be satisfied. There will always be something new you feel you need or want to have.
“The key to happiness is not found in seeking more but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
You are the only one who has control over your happiness, and it’s so important to realize the value in what you already have. Reframe your way of thinking about what happiness means. Live life in the moment and learn to appreciate the beauty in any situation.
“Happiness is not just something you feel – it is who you are. Feelings change…but beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.”