9 principles of graceful success – Part 5

by | Jun 14, 2013 | Entrepreneurship, Mindset

Miyamoto Musashi, principle 5
Circa 1645, famed samurai Miyamoto Musashi wrote The Book of Five Rings, a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general. Within that book, he wrote of nine principles one can practice and embody to achieve the success that comes with grace and excellence. This is the fifth post in a series where I interpret each one with the lens of a creative entrepreneur.

Today’s principle is:

Be discreet regarding one’s commercial dealings

Everybody doesn’t need to know all your business. There is a limit to how honest and truthful you need to be. Keeping somethings to yourself accomplishes a few things:

  • It protects you from scam and con artists
  • It protects you from jealousy
  • It helps keep you rooted

The first two are probably pretty obvious. If you give too much information away, scam and con artists can use it against you. And, there are those that may become jealous (or mean and spiteful) about your success (or lack there of) and you don’t need to encourage that negative energy.

But how does being discreet keep you rooted? It prevents you from giving out information too soon, thus ending up falling over your own two feet. Keeping private things private honours your soul, integrity and privacy. There is limit to transparency that you need to respect.

Besides, too much information can weaken your position and turn people off. That’s the last thing you want to do in business!

Here are some things you can do to help you be discreet with your commercial dealings:

  • Before revealing business information, ask yourself does the recipient need to know this information? Is it critical or tangential to their decision-making process? If the information is not critical, don’t share it.
  • Shred documents before throwing them away. Invest in a shredder … you can get a decent one for $20-50. Shredding your documents before throwing them away protects you from garbage jumpers (those folks who go through people’s trash looking for information they can use to steal someone’s identity)>
  • Know your rights. Educate yourself about information you must reveal and information you have the right to keep private.

Now Its Your Turn:
How do you practice discretion in your business? Do you have advice to help others practice discretion? Have you mistakenly shared too much? Share your story so others can learn from your mistakes. Please contribute your wisdom in a comment below.

Did you miss the first four posts in this series? You can read them here:

  • Part 1: Do not harbor sinister designs.
  • Part 2: Diligently pursue the Path of Two-Swords-as-One
  • Part 3: Cultivate a wide range of interests in the arts
  • Part 4: Be knowledgeable in a variety of occupations


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