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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 1
M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 1
A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E /
/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 1
an Millman, a for-
mer world champi-
on athlete, coach,
martial arts instruc-
t o r, a n d c o l l e g e
professor, is author of Way of
the Peaceful Warrior (adapted to
film in 2006) and 12 other books
read by millions of people in 29
languages. He teaches a way of
living with a peaceful heart and
a warrior spirit. His books, sem-
inars, and trainings have influ-
enced a wide range of people,
including leaders in the fields of
health, psychology, education,
business, politics, sports, en-
tertainment, and the arts. Visit:
Monique: how did you go
from being college athlete and
coach to writing books about
personal and spiritual growth?
dan: In retrospect, it seems
a natural evolution in my case,
combining a love for teaching,
leading me to first explore how
to increase talent for sports, and
then into the larger arena of
daily life and a quest for those
skill-sets that would improve our
talent for living.
Monique: Given the title of
your book, can you give us a
short description of the four
purposes? And why these four?
dan: As I note in the book's
prologue, people have various
ideas about our purpose for liv-
ing. Some say it's all about love,
or service, or knowing God. One
could argue that there are ten
or twenty purposes, or as many
as there are people.
Still, just as we divide the
compass into four cardinal di-
rections, it occurred to me (in
a moment of lucidity), that we
are, most fundamentally, here
to learn the lessons of life and
all that entails (the first purpose
I present in the book); but we
can't ignore that purpose involv-
ing our work -- our career and
in some cases our calling (the
second purpose).
I wrote a major book, one of
my most popular, called The Life
You Were Born to Live: A Guide
to Finding Your Life Purpose, so
I couldn't very well ignore this
mysterious system or what it re-
veals (covered in the third pur-
pose); and finally, I present what
may be the most important pur-
pose of all (the fourth purpose)
-- the one that appears in each
arising moment.
Monique: In The First Pur-
pose, Learning Life's Lessons,
you suggest that Earth is a per-
fect school and the daily life is
our classroom. Then what are
the courses we need to pass in
order to graduate?
dan: Again, in a previous
book -- and a course I am now
offering at
titled "Master the Peaceful War-
rior's Path" -- I present twelve
gateways or golden keys to self-
mastery. These twelve arenas
address self-worth, self-disci-
pline, energy, money, mind, in-
tuition, emotions, courage, self-
knowledge, sexuality, love, and
Yet in this new book, we can
appreciate these areas as re-
quired courses in the school
of daily life -- what we are re-
ally here to master within and
through the theater of our work,
relationships, and physical chal-
Monique: You wrote, "We
learn to ride the shifting tides of
emotion like skillful surfers as
we grasp the great truth that we
don't need to feel compassion-
ate, peaceful, confident, coura-
geous, happy, or kind -- we only
need to behave that way." Isn't
behaving differently from what
we feel a form of pretense or
dan: This may be one of the
most controversial areas of my
teaching, because it runs counter
to our dominant social program-
ming and beliefs about how we
have to fix or improve our feel-
ings, or quiet our minds, before
we can live well. So let me put it
in the simplest terms within our
context here: It is only possible
to show courage when we are
feeling afraid of something.
Is behaving with courage
when we feel afraid denial? I
think not. It is the same for any
feeling and any action. We can
feel whatever we feel, yet behave
with kindness, with courage, in a
peaceful way. Paradoxically, do-
ing so reflects a warrior's spirit.
Monique: The second Pur-
pose deals with Finding Your
Career and Calling. Why is it
important to differentiate be-
tween a career and a calling?
dan: A primary purpose of
this book was to replace confu-
sion with clarity. Just as I draw
a clear distinction between self-
esteem and self-worth in a pre-
vious work, here it seems useful
to help people understand that
some of us have a higher call-
ing, drive or interest that may
or may not be a career (or work
that produces income); and that
not every career becomes a call-
ing. Sometimes they merge, and
sometimes they remain separate
in our lives.
Monique: You write that
many young people are pres-
sured to choose a career path
before they really know them-
selves, so they end up choos-
ing what they think they should
do rather than what they really
want to do. Can you say more
about this?
dan: Until we know who we
are -- our talents, interests, and
values -- we may make the
right choices for the wrong per-
son! Although there are excep-
tions, social scientists say that
A Talk with
Dan Millman
Author of The Four Purposes of Life
by Monique Muhlenkamp
(Continued on page 10)