Leadership: The Cornerstone of Success in the Martial Arts and In Life

By: Jeffrey Miller

Leadership is one of the most talked about and least understood aspects of human behavior. There must be hundreds of definitions of leadership, yet none of them is useful for success in life because none of them allows you to 'create' leadership within your life.

Why is that? Why isn't leadership one of those things you can go to school to learn, pick up through experience, or work on yourself to develop?

First, you need to understand the false assumptions - the myths - about leadership. Then you'll come to realize that leadership is one of those things you can go to school to learn . . . if there were a school that knew how to teach it. You can pick it up through experience . . .if you know what leadership is and as importantly, what it isn't. You can work on yourself to develop it . . .but you need to know what to work on.

The first barrier to developing leadership is breaking through the false assumptions we have come to accept without questioning. You may not believe all the assumptions listed below but it's a good bet you believe some of them. Yet, they're all false.


1. Leadership is innate - you're either born with it or you're not. Absolutely false! Leadership consists of a set of skills that can be identified and learned. It's true that some people have a greater aptitude for leadership but all of us can be leaders and can build our leadership skills.

2. Leadership is charisma and style; it's the way we do things, not what we do. False. We'd all like to be charismatic and stylish, and many leaders are just that. But leadership is substance, not style. Leadership has to do with what we do and the impact we have on others. There have been great leaders who were dull as dust and others who have been charismatic. In our own time Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, is dull, "nerdy," and as uncharismatic as one can get, yet look at what he's led others to do and the impact he's had on Today's world.

3. There's no structure or system to leadership; it's situational. False. Not only is leadership - true leadership - structured and systematic, it can be duplicated again and again. Students in the Mastery Leadership program learn how to do this during the course of their study. Leadership has principles, skills that can be learned, and specific ways to get results. All those things are the building blocks of the successful accomplishment of goals, managing the aspects of our lives, and creating a life worth living. And if you can systemize it, you can duplicate it.

Believe it - leadership can be built into your life as a workable, predictable system.

4. The top person - the "boss" - is the leader, and it can't be any other way. False. In fact it's the exact opposite that is so often true. In the best businesses, families, schools, and groups, anyone in the group can exhibit leadership. Leadership should be encouraged at every level of the organization (with a few rules of behavior to prevent conflict and confusion).

If you believe any or all of these myths, you'll need to revise your beliefs or you'll never build true leadership into your life.


Leadership is nothing more than a core set of skills that can be learned. There are five of them: vision, discrimination, strategic thinking, commitment, and inspirational communication. You'll learn about them and how to develop them in yourself and others as you progress through the Mastery Leadership program's Mastery Keys for the Emerging Leader. At the same time, you will be able to assess your own leadership and that of those you associate with, and devise a leadership development program for enhancing your skill level.


There's nothing mysterious about leadership. Once you know its core skills and specific systems it becomes a straightforward personal development task, just like any other system in your life.

Like many other seemingly mysterious things, once you know the secrets of duplicable leadership, you'll want to say, "How simple! Why didn't I see it sooner?"

Leadership is probably the single most important aspect of your life and ability to produce the results you want. It's leadership that figures out what you need to do to enhance your life and give it the power, thrust and momentum it needs. And it's leadership that determines how to do it. Then it's leadership that makes sure it gets done. Without leadership, life is aimless, purposeless, random, ineffective, and - no exaggeration - terminally ill. With effective leadership, your life will thrive, you will navigate through any storm, and surpass every goal you ever set for yourself.

Leadership is the cornerstone of the warrior's ability to create the life worth living and develop the skills necessary for protecting that life from anything that would threaten it. And so it is also the cornerstone of the Warrior Concepts Life Mastery Program. Here at WCI, just like every other solid, educational institution, we create leaders - not just in the martial arts, but at home, school or work, and in the community. We create the light that will cause others to engage in our vision with us and that will brighten the Path for others to follow.

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