9 principles of graceful success – Part 9

by | Jun 18, 2013 | Entrepreneurship, Mindset

Miyamoto Musashi, principle 9Circa 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 ninth and final post in a series where I interpret each one with the lens of a creative entrepreneur.

Today’s principle is:

Do not engage in useless activity

I’ve heard it said that time is money. Therefore, if you engage in useless activity, you are wasting and/or losing money.

When it comes to business, focus on the activities that you do best. Hire out the rest. Evaluate all that you do in your business and if any activity does not contribute to your bottom line or happiness in your business, it needs to go or be hired out.

Many will advise you to stop doing things they see as useless. For example, my ex-husband insisted I stop writing fiction because it didn’t earn money. As soon as I did as he requested, a bit of my soul got locked up in a closet and slowly started dying.

Useful activity is something that makes a contribution to your life in some way and that contribution does not need to be financial. Useful activity contributes to one or more of the areas in life that make us complete:

  • Health – Does the activity make you healthier?
  • Wealth – Does the activity help your finances?
  • Love – Does the activity bring you closer to the ones you love?
  • Spirit – Does the activity bring you closer to the divine?
  • Intellect – Does the activity stimulate your mind?

Here are a few things you can do to avoid engaging in useless activity:

  • Take a look at all the things you do in a day and ask yourself those questions. If you can’t find a yes, drop or outsource that task.
  • Make sure you do at least one task that contributes to each area of your life every day … even if it is only for five minutes.
  • Stand up for your right to contribute to all areas of your life. Don’t let another person’s values dictate how you should be spending your time. I may not like sports, but I won’t stop someone else from engaging in or watching them.

commentNow Its Your Turn:
How do keep focused on useful activity? How do you handle the urge to procrastinate and do useless activity? Do you have resources others can use? Can you share an experience you’ve had that we can all learn from? Please contribute your wisdom in a comment below.

Did you miss the first eight 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
  • Part 7: Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye
  • Part 8: Do not be negligent in trifling matters


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