Dan Millman | Way of the Peaceful Warrior (Episode 407)

According to The Way of the Peaceful Warrior author Dan Millman, everyone is a peaceful warrior in training.

“Heroes and cowards feel exactly the same fear, they just respond differently.” -Cus D’Amato

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Why doesn’t Dan Millman like to use the word spirituality?
  • What is FAST defense?
  • Do you have to travel in order to grow?
  • How to act with kindness, bravery, or other emotion — even if you don’t feel it.
  • What is Dan’s “outside in” approach to growth?
  • And so much more…


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Today the words New Age, spirituality, and personal growth have been overused and even bastardized by so-called gurus with personal agendas and self-interests. But our guest for episode 407 was the first to author a book in the New Age category; he was there long before the tricksters, hucksters and “gurus” made a mockery of the industry.

Dan Millman is the best-selling author of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior and 17 other books. Today he joins us to talk about what prompted his first book, whether you need to travel to grow as a person and what we can learn and apply to live the peaceful warrior’s way.

More About This Show

For those of you who don’t know him Dan Millman is the author of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, a book published in 1980. It was so new and so unlike anything else on the bookshelves that his publisher recommended the bookstores start a new category for it: New Age.

Whether you want to thank or chastise his publisher for that, Dan brings an immense amount of value on today’s episode. His background in gymnastics and martial arts (before it was cool) along with some life-changing experiences granted him a grounded, simple, yet incredibly powerful outlook and approach to living a peaceful warrior’s life.

Dan shares what it means to live life as a peaceful warrior: we live with a peaceful heart and a warrior’s spirit. That warrior’s spirit primarily does battle with our inner conflicts of self-doubt, fear and insecurity.

He also shares his experiences in martial arts, which he started participating in as a young child in the 1950s and ’60s. That training coupled with the fracture of his right leg in a motorcycle crash all helped him develop a very different, unique and disarmingly simple approach to personal growth: what he calls the “outside in” approach.

What that approach means is instead of changing our thoughts and our feelings and hoping our actions will change as a result, we change our actions. We have next to no control over our emotions and our thoughts, but we can control how we act.

Even if we aren’t feeling particularly kind, we can still be kind! Even if we aren’t feeling brave, we can act bravely by acknowledging our fear and acting despite it.

And Dan’s personal journey into understanding this and the life of a peaceful warrior began when he was a world-class gymnast at UC-Berkeley. One night he stopped off at a nearby service station and began talking with an old man who worked there. The old man would never tell Dan his name, so Dan nicknamed him Socrates after the ancient Greek philosopher.

Their friendship and mentor/mentee relationship would have such a profound impact on Dan he would later pen his book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, an inspiring blend of fact and fiction, based on his time with Socrates.


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AJ Harbinger - author of 1161 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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