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Discovering Your Warrior Spirit: Nourish and Unlock Ancient Instincts to Master the Modern World

Applying Your Warrior Spirit

Discovering Your Warrior Spirit: Nourish and Unlock Ancient Instincts to Master the Modern World

The “warrior spirit” is a nebulous but ancient concept that lies somewhere at the intersection of spirituality, psychology, and fitness. As a result, humankind’s relationship with the warrior mentality is long, complex, and sometimes dark.
Of course, life on Earth has often been a violent proposition. For as long as humankind has been organizing itself into distinct groups, we have also been embarking upon efforts to defend ourselves against one another.1 In fact, people have made war since before written history. With the rise and fall of distinct cultures, evolving military tactics, and steadily improving technology, people have also done their best to prepare themselves for that warfare physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Throughout the millennia, this preparation has taken many forms. Legendary Viking berserkers stripped off their armor before battle and often seemed to enter a different mental state entirely.2 Greek armies performed highly ritualistic sacrifices before marching off to launch a military campaign.3 Of course, ancient civilizations can seem needlessly violent and thus irrelevant to our modern sensibilities. However, it is this intense spiritual preparation—rather than a lust for violence—that lies at the true core of the warrior spirit.

How Do You Know If You Have a Warrior Spirit?

A warrior spirit can be adopted by just about anyone through proper meditation and practice. Like so many other traits, however, some people are more naturally attuned to the warrior mindset than others. Remember: what seems like innate “warrior sensibility.” like any other personality trait, comes from a luck-of-the-draw combination of genetic, cultural, and environmental factors. So, if you don’t feel like a warrior from day one, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or that you’ll never unlock your warrior spirit. It simply means you’ll have a different journey ahead of you than those with different traits. That in itself can be a beautiful gift.
Due to the violent and (let’s face it) often disturbing history of our world and our species, there are many misconceptions and some fairly loaded imagery attached to the word “warrior.” 4 Many times, modern, mindful people are inclined to shun the imagery and language of the warrior altogether. This stems from a pervasive belief that any war-like influences are toxic to one’s spiritual growth and emotional well-being.
The warrior spirit you can experience today, however, is an unconditionally positive, selfless mindset. Far from being a tool of destruction, the spiritual warrior can add great value and beauty to their own life and the lives of those around them. The true qualities of a spiritual warrior can be subtle and sometimes hard to define, especially when contrasted with those of the ancient warrior. For example, strength is definitely part of what makes a warrior spirit, but rest assured, it has nothing to do with the use of brute force or inflicting pain on others.
Let’s look at what does—and what doesn’t—make a warrior spirit.

What Makes a Warrior Spirit

The warrior spirit is about adaptability and preparedness above all. Since these are extremely broad concepts that can be applied to all situations and lifestyles, it can be difficult to nail down a concrete list of warrior spirit traits that can be observed in an objective way.

What we can do instead is identify some important overarching themes:

  • Commitment to preparation on both a personal and community level.
  • Dynamic personality—the ability to quickly alter mental/emotional modes to deal with unexpected situations as they arise.
  • Willingness to risk oneself to protect the safety or rights of others.
  • Values the greater good over self-enrichment.
  • Ability to lead groups or follow orders as needed (and to understand which role to fill in a complex situation).

What Doesn’t Make a Warrior Spirit

Common, toxic misconceptions about what it means to demonstrate a Warrior Spirit in a modern-day context include:

  • Commitment to self-preservation and personally “winning” situations.
  • Conflict-seeking personality.
  • Preparation focuses on combat training with no spiritual or psychological elements.
  • Constant need to be in charge/bossy or entitled attitude.

Real-World Signs Your Warrior Spirit is Manifesting

Signs Your Warrior Spirit is Manifesting
Life is hard on all of us—after all, life is truly what kills you. However, individual daily tests of our inner strength are different for everyone and can range from the trivial to life-altering. That means you may already be exercising your warrior spirit on a regular basis without realizing it.
Here are some simple signs that may let you know you’re already on the path to becoming a spiritual warrior:


Do you excel in a job where you have multiple roles in a fast-paced environment? Do you enjoy never feeling quite sure what you’ll be working on from day to day? If you perform well under this type of stress, it may demonstrate the adaptability and can-do attitude that makes a great foundation for the warrior spirit.


In one of the most quotable exchanges from George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones, the young Bran Stark asks his father, “Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?” His father Ned poignantly replies, “That is the only time a man can be brave.” 5 Courage is neither the absence of fear nor the ignorance of fear but instead means doing the right thing despite the fact that you experience fear just as sharply as anyone else.
Unlocking your warrior spirit isn’t about shutting yourself off from fear, nor from any other natural, human emotions. Mastering doubts and insecurities so they can’t lead you into bad choices or self-defeating behaviors is a key aspect of the warrior spirit.


The Warrior Spirit can be an extremely powerful tool—yet, spiritual warriors never let that power inflate their sense of self-importance. Spiritual warriors respect and appreciate themselves while also truthfully confronting their flaws, selflessly considering the well-being of others, and weighing the impact of their actions on the greater universe. This relationship between power and humility sounds like a paradox to those who seek power for their own gain, but for spiritual warriors, it is merely the true order of the universe. Conversely, if you often catch yourself bragging, you may have work left to do unlocking your warrior spirit.


Do you place a high value on promises made to the people in your life? Do you consider them permanent and unconditional? Oath-keeping between warriors is a sacred tradition dating back to the earliest human history and is a good sign that you have a warrior spirit. Remember, adaptability and courage are also key. If you are bound by promises that could harm innocent people, for example, you must be flexible and courageous enough to do the right thing.


When you have the confidence to boldly pursue the things you love, whether that means relationships, career goals, hobbies, or building a family, you exude the warrior spirit. Courage, humility, and honesty mean little if they’re not done in service to a life worth living—and a life worth living is a life lived passionately. Passion does not need to be a flamboyant, outward-facing display and can be detrimental to the warrior spirit when expressed in an ostentatious way. Very private, peaceful people are also deeply passionate.


The spiritual warrior is someone who gets back up after life takes them down. Make no mistake, people with a warrior spirit are not above despair or depression and often feel their negative emotions very sharply. That’s because being a spiritual warrior is never about shutting off or avoiding your natural, human feelings. Instead, the spiritual warrior is the person who survives and finds value in these painful experiences. A person with a warrior spirit knows the difference between embracing pain and succumbing to darkness and understands that true victory is in the struggle itself.

Radical Empathy

Spiritual warfare, defined broadly, is the struggle of the human spirit against the many corrupting influences of the world.

There is no room for judgment or spite on the right side of that struggle. In fact, the battlefield is crowded with both enemies and fellow warriors who struggle with misguided, self-centered ideas.

By contrast, the true warrior seeks to uplift and protect others amid this upheaval—especially the vulnerable.

The Duality of the Warrior Spirit

We often use a fixed set of concepts to describe ourselves. A list of adjectives—funny, shy, tall, fierce, beautiful—readily becomes a shallow stand-in for the complex, dynamic reality of being a human. In truth, we are each one of several billion different people given a million different situations. Despite having the benefit of consciousness, we still go through life reacting to the stimuli in our environments like the millions of other organisms on the planet.
This fluid nature is at the core of the warrior spirit and its ability to adapt to any situation effectively. The spiritual warrior embraces the contradictory nature of the roles we must sometimes undertake from moment to moment. For example, we can be empathetic yet ready to defend ourselves from harm, friendly yet fierce. We can at once seek peace and prepare for turmoil. The warrior spirit is a beautiful illustration of the concept of Yin and Yang, 6 for it must always remain both sensitive and unbreakable.

Applying Your Warrior Spirit to the Modern World

The most impactful way to leverage your warrior spirit in the real world is to remember that your actions speak louder than words. Having a set of values, an understanding of adaptability, and the ability to explain both to others doesn’t mean much if you don’t put each into practice.
Exuding the warrior spirit in the modern world is not about making grand gestures or confronting others. Instead, simply help others when you see the opportunity to do so. Speak up when you know something is wrong—and, just as importantly, learn how and when to listen instead. 7 Work to understand what other people are feeling when you have conflicts and collaborate to find the correct outcome instead of trying to win an argument.


1. Dehumanization does not cause moral violence. Tage S. Rai, Piercarlo Valdesolo, Jesse Graham. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2017, 114 (32) 8511-8516; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1705238114. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from
2. Berserkers. (n.d.). National Museum of Denmark. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from
3. Jameson, M. H. (n.d.). Cults and Rites in Ancient Greece: Essays on Religion and Society. Cambridge University Press.
4. MacKenzie, M. (2021). Iconic war images and the myth of the ‘good American Soldier.’ Media, War & Conflict. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from
5. Bean, S., & Payne, I. (n.d.). Eddard Stark – A Wiki of Ice and Fire. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from
6. Interpersonal Harmony and Conflict for Chinese People: A Yin–Yang Perspective. (2016, June 8). Frontiers. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from
7. Can we teach effective listening? An exploratory study. (n.d.). ERIC. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from

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