Great Lessons from Peaceful Warrior

Lessons Learned from Peaceful Warrior

I originally posted my lessons from Peaceful Warrior on my work blog because Sources of Insight didn’t exist at the time.

I’d like to say this is from the book, but I’ve only seen the movie (Peaceful Warrior: The Movie).   (Which reminds me, I haven’t actually created a movie category, but maybe I should.  That’s where I gain some of my best insights.)

(Update: I’ve read the book.  It’s worth it.)

Have you seen Peaceful Warrior?  It’s a pretty simple movie, and it’s full of lessons.  Probably the most important is how to keep getting back up when life knocks you down and how to continue to follow your dreams, even after your world is shattered.

Here are my lessons learned:

Where Are You, What Time is It, What Are You

This theme echoed throughout the movie:

  • Where are you? …. HERE.
  • What time is it? … NOW.
  • What are you? … THIS MOMENT.

Favorite Lessons

Here are the ones that struck a special “ah-ha” in me:

  1. There are no ordinary moments
  2. A Warrior acts; only a fool reacts.
  3. What do you do if you can’t do what you were born to do?  Everything has a purpose — it’s up to you to find it.
  4. Make every move about the move — that one moment in time.
  5. Don’t fall into the trap — If only I had this, I’d be …  If only … I’d get to be happy.
  6. If you don’t get what you want, you suffer.  If you get what you want, you still suffer.
  7. You control you.  Master you.
  8. Don’t pin your success on outcomes.
  9. The people that are the hardest to love, probably need it the most.
  10. Take out the trash.  Clear you mind of everything you don’t need (doubt, past failures, future victories, … etc.)
  11. Develop the wisdom to use the right leverage at the right time.
  12. Knowledge is not the same as wisdom.  Knowledge is knowing — wisdom is doing.
  13. You’ll never be better than anybody, the same way you’ll never be any less.

Additional Lessons Learned

Here are my additional lessons from Peaceful Warrior:

  1. Experience the moment.  Be fully engaged in the moment.
  2. Limiting beliefs.  Don’t become a victim of your own limiting beliefs.  Stay adaptable.
  3. Don’t miss out on what’s going on by letting your mind fill up with noise.
  4. Trash is anything that keeps you from the only thing that matters which is right here and now.
  5. Be right here, right now.  Don’t be in the past, gloating.  Be in the present, living.
  6. All you have is right now.
  7. Let go of attachments.
  8. Meditate.  Master the ability to clear you mind and focus on the moment.
  9. Don’t let your emotions control you.
  10. Enjoy the here and now — that’s the secret.
  11. Savor the moment.
  12. Other people’s perspectives don’t matter as much if you have your own perspective.
  13. Find your purpose.
  14. Assign meaning.  You’re the most important meaning maker in your life.
  15. There’s never nothing going on (take a look around.)
  16. Don’t give up the one thing you control — your response.
  17. The habit is the problem.  Wake up and experience the moment.
  18. Be conscious of your choices.
  19. Be responsible for your actions.
  20. Every action has its price and it’s pleasure.
  21. Most people don’t live at all.
  22. When you feel fear, use this sword.
  23. Don’t take for granted what you can do; don’t be sloppy with your life.
  24. Devote life to a higher purpose: service to others.
  25. The warrior doesn’t give up what they love.
  26. The warrior finds the love in what they do.
  27. The warrior is not about invincibility.
  28. The warrior chooses to act; the coward reacts.
  29. Life isn’t about 20 seconds in front of the judges.
  30. A warrior does what they love.  A warrior does the thing they are put here to do.
  31. Don’t live in fear of failure.
  32. It’s the journey, not the destination.
  33. Being a warrior is not about perfection.  Being a warrior is about absolute vulnerability.
  34. Life is about choice.
  35. Actions speak for themselves.

I have to admit, putting the list down really makes me want to watch the movie again.  It’s such as simple movie but with so many powerful insights.  It’s like hearing an old song sung a new way that becomes your new favorite.

Get the Peaceful Warrior

Image by Raphael Goetter.


  1. fantastic sum up of great film!
    my favorite is “Don’t fall into the trap — If only I had this, I’d be … If only … , I’d get to be happy.”
    What a pitiful trap to fall…!
    How about this one? – “I want to be happy, now let’s see what it takes to accomplish it”

  2. Hi J.D. – I was reading this and thinking how different parts were my favorite, but as I continued reading, I realized this is all fabulous advice. I’m going to print out your list so I can reread it often. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Haven’t seen it.

    I like this lesson:

    “If you don’t get what you want, you suffer. If you get what you want, you still suffer.” Sad, but true.

  4. @Alik
    Thank You. Yeah, happiness doesn’t belong on a pedestal as an elusive prize. I suppose it’s OK to pursuit happiness as long as you find the joy along the way.

    It is a great movie. It’s not very theatrical, but it’s like a toned down Karate kid.

    Each time I watch the movie, I find a new nugget. Someday I’ll read the book.

    That lesson made me think a bit at first. It’s heavily tied to putting happiness on an elusive pedestal.

  5. Love this movie! So much so that I watched it over and over for a full week and then went out and got the book! And they were both fun and inspiring!

    But seriously, there are so many lessons to take away from it all (but then I don’t need to tell you that, just look at the list you put together).

    When I watched the movie, it really gave me a lot to think about and reflect on. About life, my goals, etc. So much so that I started writing about it (that’s when I started my blog) to gather insights for myself but to share and contribute thoughts and experiences with others. I haven’t been writing much from that perspective lately but I’d like to get back to it.

  6. The movie really is an essay about how to live a happy and successful life. As a movie, it has its flaws. But when the message is taken in, it really speaks volumes.

    Thanks for sharing the great lessons that are in this film.

  7. Oh wow!!! Thumbs up to your lists here!! I enjoy your favorite lessons best!! There are so many sayings that I find myself nodding my head to.

  8. @ Ricardo

    That’s a great story! There’s something powerful about exposing your thinking and sharing your learnings.

    @ Chase

    I agree. I had to be in the right mindset for the movie. It struck me more like a made for TV special. The insights and reminders were worth it.

    @ Evelyin

    Thank you! It seems like each time I go back to the lessons, I get reminded again of a little perspective that makes a big difference each day.

  9. […] I read J.D.’s post titled: Lessons Learned From Peaceful Warrior, the lessons he listed prompted me to print the page. Where else can you find dozens of “one […]

  10. This is one of the wonderfull movies i have ever seen.
    I Just wanna say …….if your are frustated and demotivated of your life just go and watch this movie

  11. This is such a great post and timely too, J.D.! I was thinking lately of the modern-day peace child analogy and a peaceful warrior. I wondered if that was possible to put the two words together, it felt right but I was not sure exactly how.. this was really insightful! I will post on my fb today so i can read through this more later on.. and to share with others.

    take care,

  12. Peaceful Warrior? My favorite part: Probably the most important lesson is how to keep getting back up when life knocks you down and how to continue to follow your dreams, even after your world is shattered.

  13. p.s. I might just watch this movie, by the way the movie category is another great one for your site sidebar! I might have to rent this movie soon, you’ve got me curious!

  14. Dan: “Hey Socrates, if you know so much why do you work in a gas station?”

    Soc: “This is a service station, we offer service.”

    “There is no higher purpose”

    Dan: “Than pumping gas?”

    Soc: “Service to others”

    ——————————— DING DING

    Soc: “How we doing tonight?”

  15. I agree Peaceful Warrior is a great movie and thanks for sharing your lessons… Just finished watching it for the 100th time with my mom! For sure in my top 25!

  16. I rank this movie to be best which i have ever seen.
    This article is a very good sum of all the learnings from the movie.

    Keep up the great job by posting some more write up’s from good movies.

  17. […] to Sources of Insight […]

  18. […] (h/t to Sources of Insight blog) […]

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