9 Mins Read

Modern Gains From Ancient Wisdom

Brandon Fluharty |

Brandon Fluharty |


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⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️

Revenue Generators don’t have to look far to gain the necessary tools to level up their craft…but it is helpful to look back in time. And the best place to start is in the knowledge of ancient wisdom (like Buddhism, Stoicism, The Way of The Samurai). These powerful principles have lasted thousands of years for a reason – they work! Let’s look at some simple ones you can apply to upgrade your thinking.

Let’s go!

Read time: <9 minutes


What obstacle is in your way?

Here’s a story from a LinkedIn friend of mine, Brian O’Connor:

My mentor told me I wasn’t good enough.

She was right.

6.5 years ago I first joined consulting.

I was:

– Stressed

– Not sleeping

– Underperforming

She sat me down and said:

“Maybe consulting isn’t for you.”

It hurt to hear someone I looked up to say I wasn’t good enough.

But I’d eat glass before I let her down.

So for 2 hours before work every day, I’d study our internal case files:

– Real client problems

– How we solved them

– The outcome

With each case, I’d write down frameworks that could work for my clients.

Then I’d test the new ideas with executive problems during the day.

Partners started to notice I was bringing new ideas.

Business executives started to trust my opinion.

And by the end of the year, I was ranked top-performing consultant.

But most importantly…I got her to admit: “Maybe consulting IS for you.”

6.5 years later, and I’m still obsessed:

– Coached 100+ executives to simplify decisions

– 30+ Fortune 500s & 20+ small/mid businesses

– Share lessons online with 79,000 friends


It takes just one moment to change your trajectory. It’s usually the toughest moments. It’s okay to feel beat up.

Take in that feeling, then let it fuel you to win.

This is a classic example of Purposeful Performance in action, turning an obstacle into an opportunity, which is a cornerstone to Stoic philosophy (”control what you can control, and let go of the rest”).

I highly recommend Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph. In it, he distills down some of the core tenets of Stoicism in a very modern, easy-to-understand and implement guide (the book is a short read).

He uses the teachings from the great Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca, and others. He also uses real-life stories and examples, from history to modern day, to teach you the three key tools we can use every day to turn tribulations into triumphs:

1. Perception

2. Action

3. Will


Studying and reflecting on past masters

Another LinkedIn friend, who is a practitioner of 7 Steps to 7 Figures, Dustin Rippetoe, published an awesome ebook calledThe Way Alone: A Swordmaster’s Guide for Forging a Noble Life.

Here’s the introduction:

Miyamoto Musashi is one of the most celebrated samurai in Japanese history. A master swordsman and philosopher, he developed his own unique style of swordsmanship- Niten Ichi-ryu. In 1645, Musashi wrote his more famous The Book of Five Rings (Go rin no sho), a treatise on strategy and tactics that is still studied by the military, business, and self-development thinkers today.

Less celebrated Musashi also wrote a short work entitled “Dokkōdō,” which translates to “The Path of Aloneness,” “The Way to Go Forth Alone,” or “The Way of Walking Alone.” Written shortly before his death in 1645, the Dokkōdō contains 21 distinct precepts that express what most would consider an austere and ascetic outlook on life. The Dokkōdō was created as he prepared for his death by giving away all his possessions and is dedicated to his beloved disciple Terao Magonojō. This same student had also been the one to receive the earlier writing, The Book of Five Rings.

At its core, Dokkōdō outlines a philosophy that encourages individuals to live genuinely within their own experience and take responsibility for their actions. This provides a foundation for personal honesty and embracing self-reliance as the primary guiding principles in life. Furthermore, its view of existence proposes that people strive for independence while cultivating inner strength and fortitude.

To achieve these goals, it suggests certain practices, such as reflecting on past mistakes and facing the fear of failure head-on, to build resilience against external factors. Musashi’s work defines success as a journey rather than a single destination – with the progress made through constant effort over time instead of instantaneous results from luck or hard work alone.

Furthermore, Dokkōdō also promotes an acceptance of change as part of life’s cycle, exhorting readers not to succumb to pessimism but instead be open-minded about the potential for growth even in difficult situations. In addition, it emphasizes the importance of learning from successes and failures, encouraging readers to gain insights from each experience and use them in future actions toward their desired goals.

Ultimately, Musashi’s final testament is an inspirational guide full of wisdom. It offers insights into how people can proceed with virtue while living harmoniously within society and nature. “Alone” in the title here more accurately reflects that one must accept personal responsibility. The intention is not that one has to live as a hermit. Though Musashi himself withdrew from society at times, this is not a necessity to take advantage of his wisdom.

Fortunately, Musashi’s philosophy can also be applied to modern life in a potent and transformative way. In his straightforward manner, he emphasizes self-improvement and living with purpose, a constant in the human condition. With this in mind, each of the preceding 21 chapters will explore a specific precept with the intention of providing a framework for applying it to one’s life immediately.

Dustin designed the book as a daily reflection guide for 21 days. In it you, will be invited to refine yourself through consistent self-discipline, practice, and perseverance (the Japanese act of Tanren).

It’s a similar approach to how I design a lot of my own work and what I encourage with the students I work with regularly: Build in learning and reflection daily. These consistent inputs will bear insights and impact (not just in a material way, but more importantly, a very meaningful way), just as it did for Brian in the story above.


Putting ancient wisdom into practical practice

Steal a process from one of my longest-running students, and now good friend, Himanshu.

Self-guided coaching and accountability

Himanshu is an Enterprise AE with a public company, and we meet each Friday for an hour session. Himanshu uses our sessions as a way of keeping himself accountable. What’s been awesome to witness in our more than 18 months of working together is he’s coaching himself through his obstacles, meaning I am simply a vessel for him to discuss and process his own work for the week. He’s doing the work.

Moments of reflection

In addition, Himanshu has built into each workday his Reflections that he shares with me each Thursday evening. This is a deliberate daily practice where he can process (the often high stress and demands of strategic enterprise selling). He’s made it automatic, too, by setting up a recurring calendar invite at the end of each workday with a set of questions he asks himself.

Here’s an example from a day last week:


→ What went right (advancing sales cycle)/What did I learn today? | 3 things I’m grateful for | Who am I grateful for today?

– I had a thought to reach out to key execs in an account where we’re losing ground – went ahead and executed with no fuss

– Keeping on moving ahead – with prep for so many calls.

– Saw myself on the LOWEST position on the board – in terms of new qualified opps and new opp $, but riding out the thought storm

Emotional Wheel What am I feeling? Why?

– Peace – that I have a system that helps navigate the ups and downs of life as an Enterprise SaaS seller today

→ What can I control going forward? | Stoics: How can I improve from this situation?

– Stay open to all things coming my way

Don’t break the chain

Lastly, Himanshu strategically leverages his calendar by turning his planned high-value activities from purple to green, which we call The Purposeful Calendar. His “job” is to turn the important things green daily and not break the chain. That has transformed his work into play, and what once stressed him out (obstacles) are gifts (opportunities) that he uses to navigate his craft and elevate his life.

In summary, here’s how to get modern gains from ancient wisdom:

1. Read simple translations of ancient masters, like The Obstacle Is The Way and The Way Alone.

2. Join a club, a cohort, or get coaching from other Purposeful Performers to hold yourself accountable.

3. Schedule moments of learning and reflection at the beginning and end of your day. It doesn’t take much time, and the insights will be powerful.

4. Turn your process into a fun game by visually tracking your progress.


Thrive Space 2.0, the next version of my Personal Operating System tracker, is available in beta. I am inviting a small cohort of dedicated Purposeful Performers to try out for free this month. To apply, go here.

Hope this was helpful. Tell me what you liked, don’t like, or want to read about next.

See you next week!



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