9 principles of graceful success – Part 7

by | Jun 16, 2013 | Entrepreneurship, Mindset

Miyamoto Musashi, principle 7Circa 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 seventh post in a series where I interpret each one with the lens of a creative entrepreneur.

Today’s principle is:

Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye

There is a scene in Star Wars where Obi-Wan has Luke Skywalker practice with the light saber blindfolded. He tells him, “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.”

Perception may be reality, but our reality is warped by not only our experiences but how our eyes work, as well. I remember when I first learned I needed glasses. I was in the eighth grade and someone asked me what time it was. We were in the gym and the clock was across the room. I replied, “I can’t see the clock from here!” The person replied back, “I can.”

That was a chilling moment. My reality … a blurry clock when it was on the other side of the room … was not the same as my friend’s. Up until that point, I had assumed that others perceived things the same way I did.

It got weirder when I put on my glasses for the first time. I looked across the street at a tree and could actually see individual leaves. It struck me that that was why they called it “impressionist art” … the world didn’t really look like that!

When interacting with people, sometimes we need to rely on things other than our eyes. Judging a book by its cover can lead to many a misunderstanding. As Obi Wan says later in that Star Wars scene, “Reach out with your feelings.”

Sometimes a situation may look just fine, but feel wrong. Go with your gut, it is more often better attuned to your higher self than your eyes.

Here are some things you can do to help you perceive the unseen:

  • Study body language and NLP. When you aren’t consciously aware of the subtleties of human body language, you will more often than not “feel” what their body is saying. By increasing your knowledge of body language keys, you’ll be able to better understand what others are trying to say, as well as know when they are trying to hide things from you.
  • Experience your environment with your eyes closed. What do you hear? What do you smell? What are your senses telling you about what is around you. Do this often enough and you’ll improve the effectiveness of your non-visual senses.
  • Hold a blindfolded eating party. Invite your friends over to experience different foods with their eyes closed. Make sure everything is bite sized and safe. You might also check out a restaurant that serves in the dark — There are a few around the world, such as Dans Le Noir in London and Opaque in Los Angeles.

commentNow Its Your Turn:
How do you open your senses to information coming from other than the visual mode? How do your ears, nose, sense of touch and emotions help you perceive reality? Please contribute your wisdom in a comment below.

Did you miss the first six 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
  • Part 5: Be discreet regarding one’s commercial dealings
  • Part 6: Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all things


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