Resolute Acceptance

Business is akin to war. Battlefields constantly shift. Hagakure teaches us to act decisively, without fear of failure.

Resolute Acceptance
Photo by yoo soosang / Unsplash

Business is akin to war, where strategy is critical, well-resourced tactical execution paramount, and the battlefield constantly shifts.

During my career as a founder, marketer, and executive, I benefited greatly from the wisdom in the writings of classic authors like Sun Tzu and Yamamoto Tsunetomo.

Yamamoto's Hagakure is a collection of thoughts and insights written in the Edo era ...

"during a time when there was no officially sanctioned samurai fighting, the book grapples with the dilemma of maintaining a warrior class in the absence of war and reflects the author's nostalgia for a world that had disappeared before he was born."

It is nonetheless a book about acting with certainty of one's death. Through this understanding we become free to fulfill our purpose.

In the first chapter of William Scott Wilson's translation, he writes:

"There is something to be learned from a rainstorm.

When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet.

When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking.

This understanding extends to everything."

Let's consider how this relates to business and marketing leadership:

Resolute Acceptance

At the heart of Yamamoto's thought is the concept of acceptance of the present yet also being resolute in one's predetermined actions. In life, just as in a rainstorm, there are circumstances beyond our control.

Attempting to evade the inevitable — in this case, getting wet in the rain — is futile and can lead to frustration or confusion.

By accepting what cannot be changed and resolving to face it head-on, one can maintain composure and clarity of mind, regardless of the outcome.

In business, very few of our actions cannot be undone. Not acting decisively is a more permanent failure than proceeding with excessive caution.

Preparation and Equanimity

The idea of being "resolved from the beginning" speaks to the importance of mental preparation and equanimity.

By preparing oneself mentally for all possible outcomes, one can maintain an even keel through the vicissitudes of life.

This state of preparedness and calmness is crucial in the Bushido code and in business. It enables us to make clear, tactical decisions in the heat of battle, unswayed by emotion.

Interconnectedness and Flow

On a metaphysical level, one could interpret the quote to be a reflection on life's interconnectedness and impermanence, akin to the flow of water.

Just as rain falls without regard to those who get wet, life's events occur independently of our desires.

Accepting life's flow, like water, encourages us to be adaptable, resilient, and to understand that not all things need to be – or even can be – achieved through force of will.

Knowing when to push and when to let go is a common characteristic of highly successful people.