McNamara Family Bushido

Previously I wrote about A Prepared Mind in the Time of Covid- Part 1 and committed to share my family bushido as I explore more about mental models and construct my own approach. Here you go:

Live below our means

Punch above our weight

Bet on optimism

Gratitude over gravity

As way of background and to provide context, bushido is a moral or ethical code developed by the Japanese Samurai over hundreds of years that has persisted in various forms and still influences modern culture. The concept is to live one’s life not by a set of ambiguous values but by actionable virtues that can be implemented and influence how to live an honorable life everyday.

Not surprisingly, as I developed these virtues it was easy to discuss the concepts at length but very difficult to distill them into virtues that can influence action. I don’t know if the list will grow/shrink but these have stood up to scrutiny thus far. The simple fact is that they match how my wife and I naturally behave when we are at our best and making our best life choices.

I’ll expand a bit on “gratitude over gravity” as it has caused the most internal back and forth and maybe writing about it will unlock fresh insight. The concept to be thankful and approach life with gratitude is simple but seems too ambiguous and testing it is difficult. Hindsight has been the best method to stress test these virtues against real life. I reflect back at specific choices and ask: Would I have made the same decision using this construct? Would my decision have been more “true” to who I aspire to be? Would/Did I make a poor decision without using this construct?

“Gratitude over gravity” can’t be tested in hindsight as it’s a mindset that needs to be applied in real time as part of the decision. Fortunately, attempting to rearchitect life for/in the post covid world is a near ideal testing ground with potentially life altering decisions being debated everyday. Whenever I think about any one of these choices, I ask myself, Am I embracing the privilege that I get to make this decision or succumbing to the weight of having to make this decision?

When I embrace the “gratitude over gravity” mindset and the fact that I “get to” make this or that decision, I find a depth of perspective and clarity that creates a virtuous cycle where I make decisions faster with deeper conviction.

It took the Samurai hundreds of years to refine the virtues which leads me to believe it will take me longer than a few weeks to establish ours. That said, I’m pretty happy with the process and progress thus far.

If you’re interested in the context and/or how we got to the rest of the virtues, let me know and I’ll be happy to expand.

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