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Cue Forest Whitaker.

1 July 2011

Anyone marginally familiar with the first book of the Twitter Novel Project, (White Male, 34) might remember that another book played a huge part in that novel. The book is Hagakure, written between 1709 and 1716 by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, a Samurai. The point of the book was to provide rules and guidelines for how the Samurai should live and conduct themselves, and it’s definitely worth a read when you get time.

However, some events today have made me think back to a specific passage from Hagakure:

When one has made a decision to kill a person, even if it will be very difficult to succeed by advancing straight ahead, it will not do to think about going at it in a long roundabout way. One’s heart may slacken, he may miss his chance, and by and large there will be no success. The Way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong.

This is, of course, about killing someone (something I hope none of you are doing or contemplating), but the lesson applies to almost everything. Consider writing — how much time might you waste preparing to write, making sure each little thing is in order before you start. How might you get distracted and not make it to the goal, then feel bad about it later?

My own opinion here (and I like to apply this to multiple facets of life), is that when you’ve set to doing something, just jump in and do it. Excuses, delays, problems — these things melt away when you jump in and start hammering.

Or, who knows. I might be way off base. Perhaps it’s not the best idea to take advice from a guy who’s been dead for 400 years or so.

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