Are you the Lord Of War riding into battle in glorious chainmail, thoroughly polished with sand and vinegar to ensure it gleams in the sun for all of your enemies, and allies, to see?
Is your plate-mail forged in the finest smiths in the City? Is your long sword of the best Frankish steel, it’s lethality in battle honoured by the thousands of hours you have practiced with it?
Do you ride on a battle-trained Destrier, standing a head above all other steeds yet responsive to the lightest steering-touch of your knee?
Who has the biggest impact on the battlefield – this Lord Of War, standing in all his finery and well trained in the art of killing?
Or the solder a few paces away, with a tattered boiled leather jerkin on his back and a heavily notched and rusted blade in his hand, who has repeatedly spent his weekends drinking and whoring while the other men ran sword drills in the training fields?
The title of one of my upcoming books has the word “Fuck” in it. Unsurprisingly, most of the early conversations I’ve had with publishers have come up rather abruptly on this word quicker than a thirsty berserker on a blonde maiden.
The word Fuck is undoubtedly taboo in Western society, and in my opinion, quite beautifully so.
I was having dinner with one of my closest brothers earlier in the week. The restaurant he took me to (he’s a London native and knows the land better than I) was extremely popular and highly reviewed, but we were surprisingly able to get a walk in. In fact, the place was only at 25% capacity.
He apologised and said the place was usually much more crowded and he assured me it was a great restaurant, but when I told him I much prefer quieter places now anyway, he was shocked.
“This is London, you’re here for the crowds and the hustle! And you love clubs!”
But I explained how recently, when I’m in crowded places, I seem to have developped “Shrek Syndrome”. I knock people over, I spill peoples drinks, last week a woman literally walked face-first into my shoulder and almost knocked herself out. I’m basically a clumsy Viking without a battlefield.
This particular brother of mine is a Psychology graduate and loves to discuss Mindset topics as much as I love to write and teach about them, so naturally, we dove into this further.
Here’s the problem – I was at the very beginning of creating a new anxiety, one that if I wasn’t careful, could become deeply rooted. An irrational worry about being too cumbersome and clumsy for busy crowds.
And as I discuss in my book, when you allow low self-esteem, low confidence, or anxieties and fears to control you, you lose the opportunity to experience life, love and adventure!
One of the most popular myths about Viking raids was their love for enjoying their female plunder. Biased perhaps when all accounts of your raids are written by the sore losers, but we do know the Vikings participated in slave trade and we also know that, unfortunately like every ancient (and some modern) army invasions, raging testosterone made most conquering armies lose their minds a little.
Fortunately, adopting a Modern Viking mindset and understanding what that could mean as a guide to self improvement as a man, is not always a literal path.
I embarked on a new Viking raid myself last week, changing location from Barcelona, Spain to London, England. If I’m being honest, as a Modern Viking I made the decision to go raiding for pretty classic Viking: new wealth, new experiences, new lands and perhaps, new women!
Vikings were blessed with a freedom from worry and anxiety because of their mindset on fate. Emboldened by their religious beliefs and driven by a desire to enjoy the theatre of life, they were able to release themselves from the stress and unhappiness of worrying over choices because a large part of their destiny was already being written by someone else.
Because the Vikings believed that the fate/destiny, or urðr, of every man was already decided (in a fairly solid but still somewhat malleable way).
They believed that the 3 Norns (diving beings) sat beneath the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree of life. There, they weaved the threads of each man’s life. Urðr (fate), Verðandi (present) and Skuld (future) would record the knowledge and destiny of every man and God. They and they alone held the knowledge of the world and the knowledge of fate because they saw everything, everything that could come to pass and everything that would come to pass.
Well, until Odin half killed himself to also earn some of that knowledge too!
When a Viking charged into an enemies shield wall, or he decided whether to join a Viking campaign to England or to Frankia, he knew that he needn’t worry about making the incorrect choice. There was no correct or incorrect choice – only the Gods knew for sure. So his only role in life was to throw himself at the situation with all that he had, all that his skills and training allowed him to, and to enjoy the journey of life in this world before his journey would take him to Valhalla.
Vikings embraced the idea that a man can only know so much about his destiny, and the possibilities of each branch of choice he made. He embraced that he held a measure of free will over his destiny, but he also accepted that the Gods forged part of his fate too. His best choice was to make the very best of every story that the Norns weaved into his life.
Here’s how you can be inspired by our Viking ancestors and release yourself from a worrying situation by remembering that Only The Gods Know.