I love reading Asian texts on strategy. Not just for building my life but also for the wealth-building lessons they can impart. Today I want to highlight a few of those lessons from the most famous Japanese swordsman and philosopher, Miyamoto Musashi.
Musashi is best known for his classic book “The Book of Five Rings“ and his teachings focus primarily on martial arts and strategy, but some lessons can be applied to building and maintaining wealth.
Here are a few.
Focus on the fundamentals
Musashi emphasized the importance of mastering the fundamentals in his martial arts training, and this principle can also be applied to wealth-building. To build and maintain wealth, it’s important to focus on the basics, such as saving, budgeting, investing wisely, and avoiding unnecessary expenses.
Do yourself a favor and check out finance and investing books from your library. If you want to buy one or two books, I suggest getting “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” and “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing“.
Continuously improve yourself
Musashi believed in the importance of continuous self-improvement in order to achieve success. This can be applied to wealth-building by continuously learning about personal finance, investing, and entrepreneurship. Improving your skills and knowledge can help you make better financial decisions and increase your earning potential.
It could be as simple as reading financial news once a week or watching TV on what’s been happening. It’s a great way to “stay in the know” so you can adapt (see below) as the market and life change.
Musashi believed that one must be adaptable and able to change tactics depending on the situation. In terms of wealth-building, this means being open to new opportunities and adjusting your financial strategies as needed.
Right now there are many layoffs in the tech field and many former employees act surprised when they get laid off. I read the tea leaves mid-summer last year and realized we’re going to be in for a big layoff spree in late 2022 through summer 2023. Watch what the markets do, they’re a leading indicator and adapt to it.
Patience and perseverance
Musashi believed in the importance of patience and perseverance in achieving success. Wealth-building means staying focused on your long-term financial goals, even in the face of setbacks or market fluctuations.
You will have setbacks but if you don’t take any crazy risks (see below) you can keep going.It takes “balls of steel” to be steadfast as chaos envelopes the market. I’ve done it many times and it never gets easier but if you remain calm and patient, you can persevere.
Avoid unnecessary risks
While Musashi was known for his bravery and willingness to take risks in battle, he also believed in avoiding unnecessary risks. This principle can be applied to wealth-building by avoiding get-rich-quick schemes or investments that are too risky.
I wish I had known this wisdom when I started out investing. I fell into get-rich commodity trading schemes and lost my shirt. Luckily I had little savings to lose but it still stung.
Overall, the teachings of Miyamoto Musashi emphasize the importance of discipline, continuous self-improvement, adaptability, patience, and avoiding unnecessary risks in building and maintaining wealth.
Even if you follow just one or two of the lessons from "The Book of Five Rings" should see a difference in your wealth-building over the years.