The warrior and the builder are two useful images for making better lives.
Getting and staying in shape is a serious challenge. We are fighting against ourselves—our habits, distractions, etc. The warrior helps us engage in that fight.
- Warriors destroy obstacles to fitness.
- Warriors attack all challenges.
- Warriors win through peak performance.
In business and other areas, the warrior model is less useful. Success in business is achieved more through cooperation and collaboration than it is through conflict. In business, the builder is a more useful model.
- Builders inspire action.
- Builders organize ideas and resources.
- Builders succeed with the help of others.
Both the warrior and the builder are excellent motivational mindsets. They help us face challenges and stay focused and complete tasks. Yet neither metaphor is complete. We can’t achieve every goal through fighting and we can’t build if we are under attack. We need both.
There’s a story about people who needed to be both builders and warriors at the same time. The people of Israel had returned to Jerusalem after being held captive in Babylon for 70 years. When they returned, they found the essential defensive walls of their city had been destroyed. These needed to be rebuilt for them to return to their normal lives.
Unfortunately, the people who lived around Jerusalem kept attacking the Israelites as they tried to rebuild. So their leader, Nehemiah, strategized a plan.
“From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.”— Nehemiah 4:16-18
This builder/warrior is the model I find most useful. As I try to build a better life, I often feel under attack from within and without. At those times, I need to push pause on the building and fight.
I need my builder to organize my life in ways that minimize stress, build relationships and move me toward God’s plan. He needs to stay on purpose.
I also need my inner warriorto fight any internal resistance to slacking off or going off plan. He needs to stand vigilant.
Like those on Jerusalem’s wall, we face this life with tools in one hand and a sword in the other. Ready for any challenge.