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Mythologist Joseph Campbell used to tell a story about a samurai whose master was assassinated.
It was this samurai’s duty to restore his lord’s honor by avenging his death.
As days stretched into weeks, the samurai relentlessly tracked the killer.
When he finally found the assassin, the samurai drew his sword and prepared to deal the killing blow that would settle the score.
But before he could, the murderer spat in the samurai’s face. Enraged, the samurai sheathed his sword and walked away.
The samurai knew that if he killed his master’s assassin from a place of anger, there would be no honor in his actions.
The samurai understood that motive matters.
He knew that to live with honor, we must practice self-awareness, be deeply honest with ourselves about what’s really driving our behavior, and make choices based upon that which we truly value.
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