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4 Tactics For Becoming an Unconventional Tourist

The following is a guest post. My love of unconventional travel started when I was 12 years old. My dad had decided that, of all the ways to spend Christmas, we should go on a cycling tour around Cuba. And so we did it. We figured out how to...

I Hate Hair: Reasons Why Shaving Your Head Skyrockets Confidence

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Aron James: Hair loss is something that happens to our grandfathers. It is the sign of the wisdom that comes with old age; a rite of...

How to Be a Solo-Female Hiker: Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes shares how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Hayley Turner (a.k.a. Little Foot): I can still remember everything about that day, from waking up and walking 12 miles by noon, the dogs...

Do You Really “Find Yourself” When You Travel?

"I know this sounds cliché, but I have to ask—do you really 'find yourself' when you travel?" the girl asked me. Her young friend crouched next to my table, gently stroking the cats as they slept. Café Neko is a small coffee shop in Vienna that allows cats to wander...

When Not Everything Goes as Planned, It Still Goes: A Story About Finding Your Passion

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Jen: As a kid, I was told that I was lucky that I already knew what I wanted to do with my life. From age four, I knew I wanted to be...

The Digital Nomad’s Roadmap – A Complete Guide: Successfully Live, Work, and Travel Anywhere

So you wanna be a digital nomad. I’m not surprised: the future is bright for freelancers and location independent workers. Statistics show 40% of Americans will be contingent workers by 2020. That’s a lot of potential for digital nomads! Yet there’s no hands-on guide...

Limitations: Why the 9–5 Job Doesn’t Need To Stop You

Over the years I’ve had a number of conversations with people who talk about cool things they want to do, see, or make. A lot of these conversations end with “Well, I’d love to do it, but unfortunately I have XYZ,” and many times those XYZs are very valid limitations...

Stealing Second Base: From Side Gig to Self Employed Full Time

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Katherine Stimson: “You can’t steal second base with one foot still on first.” In the spring of 2010, a Facebook ad posted by a total...

Dreams Are Like Pirate Treasure: Hard to Find, But Worth the Risk

All dreams start somewhere and typically, no matter the size of the overall dream, most dreams start small. Let’s say yours is to feel better at work every day. You focus on sitting up straight in week one. Week two finds you taking a 10-minute walk at lunchtime. Week...

Give Me 2 Minutes and I’ll Give You the Willpower of Hattori Hanzo

Let’s say that you have plans for running a ninja clan and leaving behind such a badass legend that people will talk about you for, oh, say the next 470 years.

I can tell you right now that you’re not going to succeed.

Why? (Hint: It’s not because you probably don’t have access to the training you would need to be that badass.) It’s because you don’t have minions or any other kind of support team. The fact that you’re here means that you don’t have the intrinsic willpower that you need to keep yourself going alone. Don’t feel bad though — most of us don’t.

When you want something epic for your life, you should find a mentor that has accomplished epic things and imitate their behavior. As pirate ninjas, it’s only right we take to our roots and dig into the life of Hattori Hanzo to discover where he was able to source his extreme willpower from, and how you can apply it to your own life.

Note: This still makes sense even if you’re just trying to change your life in a simpler way, say by eating healthier, being more productive at work, or learning how to surf.

Being Hanzo: Never underestimate teamwork.

Hanzo was born a humble samurai of no unusual importance. Unlike the pirate Roberts (who had wanted to be a navigator), Hanzo always knew he was going to be samurai.

As he grew up, he was able to persevere in his training by relying on his family and his clan. He earned himself the title Devil Hanzo because of his amazing abilities.

So what was it about him that allowed him to gain such distinction?

Simply put, Hanzo knew how to draw on the power of a support team. 

He began serving in several battles when he was 16 years old. It was during these battles that he first began to make a name for himself. He did so by working together with other leaders, and playing to the strengths of his team members.

Hanzo would never have found the strength to continue without joining forces with the other men during battle. In every story you can find about Hattori Hanzo, he is making friends in all the right places. Hanzo knew that when you have someone at your side who is encouraging you to keep kicking ass, you’d be surprised at the motivation it gives you.

Teaming up with people provides you a net of accountability. When other people are checking in on you to make sure you’re doing your job, you’ll find that your willpower to keep going is much stronger than when you’re trying to accomplish something alone.

Being Hanzo: Find your support team.

Nothing says “We should work together” better than having a common goal. 

Hanzo knew the secret of making friends that he could count on was finding people who wanted what he wanted.

When you fight in battle, the common goal is clear and defined for you. In your own life, you’ll have to learn how to set goals that you can achieve before you’re able to find your core team.

Finding your support team can be as easy as talking to a few of your existing friends and working together. It can be as easy as joining a community online that is willing to be there for you as you’re working towards your changing your life (more on that later).

Hanzo developed an inner circle of 2-3 important men that he kept in constant collaboration with. He also had the men that served under him in battle. You should have the same.

Seek out a core team of 2-3 people that will have the most influence on you. Then, set yourself up with a support team that will keep you going in the right direction, even if you all have slightly different specific goals.

Being Hanzo: Provide support for your team.

It’s not always about you, you know.

In order to get ahead in life, you have to know when to step back and focus on the other guy. Just because you made friends based on common goals doesn’t mean that you will both always be at your A-game.

If you expect your team to support you, you need to be there to support them in return.

People don’t need help when they’re doing well, but that’s usually when people offer it to them because they’re hoping to ride the wave of success. People need help when they’re down and out. That’s when you need to be there for your team. Maybe they lost motivation. Maybe their willpower is draining.

It’s up to you to figure out the ninja tactics required to get them back on track. 

In Hanzo’s case, he even went so far as to save his best friend’s life when he found out that his best friend had been betrayed in a fatal power play.

You may not be able to save your team’s physical life, but you will make an impact on what their future looks like. 

Being Hanzo: Listen to your support team.

Hattori Hanzo was well known for his ability to treat his teammates well.

It doesn’t take a lot to figure out that people feel better about their bosses and coworkers when they feel like their needs are being met. How could Hanzo possibly know what their needs were?

He listened to them.

Not only that, but he took their advice for action under consideration. He had to collaborate many times during his battles, and in many of those cases it saved his life because he was paying attention to what his teammates had to say.

You won’t know when your team is down and out if you’re not paying attention. You won’t realize when you need to change up your strategy if you never listen to the people who can give you a new perspective on your approach.

If you’re going to use a team as your strategy for success, you need to learn how to listen.

So, where does willpower come from?

Sustainable willpower requires accountability.

Whether it’s accountability to yourself, to your family and friends, or strangers on the internet, you NEED someone to be accountable to.

Princeton defines willpower as:

self-control: the trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior.

Nothing new, right? It only makes sense. The word is fairly self-explanatory. We’re talking about your power to control your own will. We now know that Hanzo’s secret was getting a support team to keep him going when times got rough.

Generally speaking, willpower is not a strong asset in most of our lives. Anything that is not necessary or required for our day-to-day living tends to get pushed to the side and ignored.

It’s because willpower is a hard muscle to work when we’re by ourselves. Life is frustrating. Bills are looming. You’re barely making ends meet, let alone finding the time and energy for extra work. The odds are stacked against us. We’re tired, man.

Willpower in its most raw form comes from passion. The drive of willpower comes from a spark of desire for whatever it is we are powering towards. Unfortunately, passion dies and desire fades. We move on and resign ourselves to a lesser fate.

Accountability: Hanzo’s Secret Weapon

In between disappearing like a ghost, holding his breath under water for hours, and generally engaging in brilliant espionage strategies, Hanzo knew that he needed to keep himself accountable to something bigger than himself in order to succeed.

Hanzo had it figured out:

Raw willpower: Passion

Real willpower: Accountability

Willpower is rooted in passion, and fulfilled in accountability.

Growing up in a ninja clan, he was naturally provided with the accountability he needed to sustain the passion he had for developing his insane ninja skills. As he became a man and moved on to battle and protecting people from betrayal, he had to find his own team for accountability through the rest of his life.

You may not have the luxury of ever having had a built-in support team, but you can start finding yours now.

Join our crew and get your own support team.

Every project starts the same. You’re ready, you’re willing.

Then you hit road bumps. Things start going wrong. Unexpected events happen.  You don’t know how to deal with mistakes.

Once you have get a support team, you find that those little things are a lot easier to deal with. You realize that it’s not just you fighting the good fight for a better life.

All it takes is 2 minutes (or less) every morning to tell me your mini-goals for the day, and post it to YouTube as a video reply to the most recent Without Boxes challenge video. We’re all in this together, and we’re waiting for you to join us.

If you’re interested in changing your life and rebooting your willpower in just 2 minutes, you can learn more about the challenge here.



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