In Fuedal Japan the Samurai believed that loyalty was more valuable than life itself. The bushido virtue of Chuugi, loyalty, was central to how a Samurai lived and died. Think of it, there were men who were willing to give their own lives for a cause, a calling, even to preserve the life of another. Can you imagine it?
Economic realities have dealt a blow to loyalty around the world. Jobs come and go, most new college graduates are being told that the idea of a “career organization” is dead, that they should not plan to be with any company more than 5 to 8 years. Marriages are not immune to this loss of loyalty in our society with divorce rates running better than 50% in most areas of the world. When a cause or calling becomes “unpopular” people quickly abandon them, choosing instead to follow the tide of the “popular vote”. In today’s society the concept of loyalty, as practiced by the Samurai, is seen as unnecessary, even insane.
Nonetheless, true warriors remain loyal to those to whom they are indebted. There are still men, and women, who fight to remain loyal to organizations, callings and other people in their lives. These modern day warriors understand that loyalty is crucial to living properly. The modern Samurai is always aware of his, or her, “indebtedness” and strives to remain loyal to those who have helped them. The larger the perceived debt the deeper the loyalty and willingness to sacrifice to help and preserve the other. True loyalty always involves Yuuki, Jin, Rei and Makoto. Living the virtue of Chuugi, loyalty, allows one to build their Meiyo, their honor.
A few thoughts on how loyalty can be lived:
- Act Big! – Get involved in a project and do whatever it takes to make that project a success. Do not think of yourself, take on the cause or project of another person or organization and get involved in something “bigger than yourself”. Give freely of your time, treasure and talents to see that project succeed.
- Be Considerate – If you give each day thorough consideration you will see many examples of others helping you. Many of these are “small things” and can be given due loyalty by “paying it forward”. Times where someone has repeatedly helped you or really stepped up and helped you in a large way, fix them in your memory and begin looking for ways to display your loyalty by returning the effort, and more!
- Seek the “One” – Look for the one person, above all others, that has positively impacted your life. This is the person who deserves the full benefit of your loyalty. Find ways to support them in everything they do, help them in any way available to you and be sure to ask or expect nothing in return… they have already demonstrated their loyalty to you!