The Monk

There are three Archetypes of Skill that help us define and focus the areas we want to improve to live skillfully.  These are The Warrior, Scholar, and Monk.  This article provides the initial overview of the attributes and skills associated with the monk.

The Monk

The Monk represents our emotional control and will power.  The skills which the monk inspires us to gain are: Discipline, Grit, and Focus.  These skills help us to be Emotionally Stable.

Discipline is the exercise of will power to either commit to an action and see it through, or to abstain from an action, and remove it from our lives.  This ability facilitates control of our emotions, tempers our anger, and reigns in uncontrolled passions.  Sources of discipline are often found in honor codes, religious practices, ethics, laws, standards, customs, etiquette, and protocol.  These sources of discipline provide us with the left and right boundaries of what is right and wrong and guide us in making our choices and taking action.

Meditating monk

Grit is a measure of out ability to progress through physical and mental challenges.  This ability helps us overcome adversity, learn and grow from failure, and stick through hard times by knowing the results are worth the struggle.  Grit has two components which are tied together, physical and mental.  The synergy between these two components is what gives us our capability and capacity to endure physical hardships and stress like the cold and heat.  In order to build and develop grit you can use repeated physical and mental challenges.  Cold exposure, saunas, Sudoku, and intellectual/philosophical debate are all ways you can seek to develop grit.

Focus is a an application of our discipline and grit.  It is often observed as our ability to stay on task and see challenging situations through to the end, but also has a competent of self control to maintain a course of action despite outside stimulus.   Focus expends will power through the use of discipline and grit in order to maintain a course of action. This is subtly different then raw discipline and raw grit.  Focus has a goal and is centered on the “why” of task.  One of the best ways I have found to increase focus is through mindful guided meditations and yoga.


By pursuing monk skills we also establish and support a mindset of being emotionally and mental prepared to face challenges and adversity, to be steady when steadiness is required of us.  This empowers us with the mindset we need to engage life in a way that will lead us to success.

What do you do to build your Monk Skills?

Have some insights? Come on over to our closed facebook discussion group to share your thoughts and join in the discussion.  Or you can email me directly at  IF you are interested in further reading check out other Food for Thought articles and learn all about the Archetypes of Skill.  You can also sign up to receive The Friday Huddle, a short weekly email from me that gives you the tips, insights, and musings that have gotten me through the week.

Live Skillfully!


Leave a Reply