All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. This I did.
— T. E. Lawrence
Colonel T. E. Lawrence, known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” was a guerrilla leader in the Arab Revolt of 1916–18, which expelled the Turks from western Arabia and Syria during World War I. Lawrence was an aloof, complex, versatile, somewhat arrogant genius, and his exploits made him a popular, if enigmatic, hero in the Western world.
Thomas Edward Lawrence was born at Tremadoc, Wales, on Aug. 15, 1888. His father, Sir Thomas Robert Chapman, was an Anglo-Irish landholder who left his wife for his family’s governess. Thomas was the second of five sons produced by this union. Adopting the name Lawrence, the family settled in Oxford, where Thomas eventually entered the university. Specializing in archaeology, architecture, and history, he began learning Arabic when he visited Syria and Palestine. After graduating in 1910, he worked as an archaeologist in the Middle East until early 1914.
After the outbreak of World War I, Lawrence returned to Egypt in December 1914 as an intelligence officer. In October 1916 he accompanied a British mission to aid Husayn ibn Ali of Mecca, who had launched the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule. Shortly thereafter he joined Husayn’s son and army commander, Faisal (later King Faisal I of Iraq), as an advisor. Together, Faisal and Lawrence proceeded to push back the Ottoman forces by raiding the Damascus-Medina railroad and overrunning Ottoman strong points. In October 1918 the Arabs took Damascus, and Lawrence returned to Britain. (William Anderson, T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia): Biography & Life)
A strong man rules circumstances; a weak one surrenders to them. Accepting a loser’s role is equal to suffering a crushing defeat.
A man is surrounded by many forces that are constantly trying to impact him. Each of these has an essence or central idea that tries to overwhelm his mind. A wise man can override and transform these as he feels necessary, and because he is always focused, he can absorb this external energy. It empowers and mentally invigorates him.
If a man wrestles with an idea for a long time, polishes it and develops it, he progresses more than others. The idea’s power swells and generates energy. This intensity is vital and determined by how long you can fix you consciousness on a goal without becoming distracted. Concentration and the ability to block useless thoughts are the hallmarks of a disciplined mind.
When you’re trying to comprehend an idea, turn it into a guideline, run it a hundred times in your head, then it will become part of you. It will direct the action; it will become your power. You will feel it...
If you can immerse yourself in thought for as long as possible, it is fair to say that your mind has started working. Your spirit is no longer exposed to any external influence; you exist within yourself.
Understanding strengthens you and supports you in the void where you realize that genuine power has always been within. Even with limited physical strength, an iron will can help you achieve miracles.
― A. R. Berg, Spirit of the Warrior
Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come true.
— T. E. Lawrence
Lawrence himself had little wish to be remembered as a war hero: he could hardly bear to think about his wartime role. His enduring ambition was to be a writer. He once confessed his hope that, “in the distant future, if the distant future deigns to consider my insignificance, I shall be appraised rather as a man of letters than a man of action.”
His literary reputation rests on a body of writing which is almost entirely autobiographical. It includes at least 6,000 letters written between 1906 and his death in 1935, and two autobiographical books. The first, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, is an account of his service with the Arab Revolt. The second, The Mint, is centred on his experiences as an anonymous recruit in the ranks of the RAF. It was there, to the astonishment and distress of many contemporaries, that he chose to spend his life after 1922.
Both in his books and letters, Lawrence was an acute observer of people, places, and events. Among the most memorable passages in Seven Pillars are the vivid descriptions of desert landscapes and of the Bedouin irregulars whose life he shared. The Mint, written in a very different style to Seven Pillars, isa work of observation written by a highly intelligent man who found himself effectively imprisoned. Lawrence distilled its spare descriptions from events that he had witnessed over and over again. Lawrence’s letters are no less remarkable. His friendships ranged from fellow-servicemen in the ranks to leading figures in the worlds of literature, art, and politics. In many cases, letters were almost the only vehicle for these relationships, since the circumstances of his life meant that he could rarely meet his friends.
Should he be appraised as a writer or a man of action? At the close of the twentieth century the verdict remains open. Other men of action marked history more deeply; other writers earned higher acclaim; yet few of his contemporaries combined both practical and intellectual achievements to the degree that Lawrence did. That intriguing combination has helped to sustain the public’s fascination with his life, as has the deeply introspective personality revealed in his writings. (Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia (Pocket Biographies), 1997)
Adversity makes you sharpen your skills and keeps you committed to attaining your goals. Being victorious after an exhausting fight speaks volumes about the warrior’s spirit.
Fatigue embitters your heart.
Solitude is aristocratic.
Pressure is good.
One should appreciate challenges.
A worthy man is able to endure the pressure of circumstances and surpass them.
Whatever happens, remain calm; there is nothing to worry about!
Do not be attached to anything, and do not depend on anything. If something is too dear to you, it may weaken you. Banish it; it is too heavy a burden.
Spirit dwells in many places. The energy and clarity with which an idea is expressed is what makes it real in the physical world.
― A. R. Berg, Spirit of the Warrior
T. E. Lawrence was nicknamed Emir (Prince) Dynamite by the Bedouin.
Don't you think this resembles Bushi-Do a little? Being charmed with death, striving for the impossible, and tempering oneself:
There could be no honour in a sure success, but much might be wrested from a sure defeat. Omnipotence and the Infinite were our two worthiest foemen, indeed the only ones for a full man to meet, they being monsters of his own spirit's making; and the stoutest enemies were always of the household. In fighting Omnipotence, honour was proudly to throw away the poor resources that we had, and dare Him empty-handed; to be beaten, not merely by more mind, but by its advantage of better tools. To the clear-sighted, failure was the only goal. We must believe, through and through, that there was no victory, except to go down into death fighting and crying for failure itself, calling in excess of despair to Omnipotence to strike harder, that by His very striking He might temper our tortured selves into the weapon of His own ruin.
— T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom
read more about bushido in the books