Imagine yourself as a kingdom. Yes, you and your entire life as a singular, independent state.
Picture a castle set on a tall hill overlooking a wide meadow with several meandering rivers and bordered by thick forest. From the highest turret of your castle, you can see a vast shimmering ocean and the occasional pirate ship prowling the waters in search of an undefended harbor from which to launch a raid on your kingdom. On its deck, a gang of tiny locusts with black patches over one eye and tiny swords held high are looking straight at you.
Let’s call your realm ‘The Kingdom of the Bees.’
Living in your kingdom are 4 bees: A King, a Wizard, a Warrior, and a Wild Boy: KWWW
These are the four energies inside every man. You have them, and I have them too.
To protect our kingdoms and make them prosper, we need to make sure these four energies are active and in balance – always!
You can also think of the Warrior as your body, the Wizard as your brain, the Wild Boy as your heart and senses, and the King as the skeleton that keeps everything upright.
The King is the central figure in your realm. He brings order and calm to the hive. He is the one with a vision, a map, a plan for how the kingdom should grow and stay safe and strong. He is a true leader.
He makes sure the other three – The Warrior, The Wizard, and The Wild Boy - are alert and active, but none more than the others. He doesn’t allow any of them to fall asleep. He guides, nurtures, and rewards them, just like Hideyoshi did with the men repairing the wall to keep out the invading army.
The King knows who he is, and what he wants. He has fought and won the hardest battle – that of being himself. He doesn’t feel envious of anyone because he knows what he is worth.
With the help of the Wizard, he has written a set of rules for himself, for the others, and for the whole kingdom, and makes sure everyone lives true to those rules. First on his list, is the Golden Rule:
"Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like them to do to you."
The King’s symbol is the Scepter, and the Life Forces he uses the most are Justice, Temperance, and Prudence.
An example of a good king is Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, last of the so-called Five Good Emperors.
Marcus Aurelius was the last emperor of an era known as the Pax Romana, a 200-year period of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire. He was one of history’s great Warrior Bees who wrote a set of wise rules to make up for stupid ones... good stories, like:
"Very little is needed to make you happy; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."
"No man can have whatever he wants, but he has it in his power not to wish for what he doesn’t have, and cheerfully make the most of the things that come his way."
"When you wake up in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."
"If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it."
"What is not good for the beehive cannot be good for the bees."
One of the most important things I’ve learned about Marcus Aurelius is that despite ruling over the most powerful empire at the time, he never let that get to his head. He never identified himself as ‘THE KING.’ He just wisely channeled the energy of The King, just like planet Earth absorbs the light of the Sun to make things grow.
This important difference, dear boy, is something I never want you to forget. For once you start believing yourself as King, or a sun or a god, all hell breaks loose, and the whole kingdom falls apart. That is exactly what happened after Marcus Aurelius made the mistake of naming his sixteen year-old son, Commodus, as his successor. Yes, even wise kings screw up once in a while.
A famous philosopher once said that those who do not learn from history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them. You might want to think about that the next time you choose not to pay attention to your history teacher.
Marcus Aurelius had been waging war against invading barbarian tribes for several years and kept them from taking over more territory north of the Roman empire. But when he died, his son Commodus - by then 19 and fighting by his father side - quickly made peace with the barbarians so he could leave the battlefield and return to the capital to ‘groove’ and party with his friends. I’m not making this up.
Now emperor, Commodus started hanging out with the wrong crowd and behaved like your typical, rich, spoiled brat.
Nothing really terrible happened for the first three years of his reign. A historian at the time said that Commodus was not naturally wicked but that his cowardice made him a slave to his grooving friends, which reminds me of Simba and his “yes-buddies,” Timon and Pumbaa.
The rule of Commodus might have gone down with no major problems were it not for one unfortunate incident.
His sister, Lucilla, organized a failed attempt on his life. Some say it’s because she noticed Commodus was not right in the head and she feared for the future of the empire. Whatever her motive, it made Commodus paranoid. Like Don Quixote, he started imagining enemies all around him. He executed the two would-be assassins and several important Roman senators. He then banished Lucilla from the empire and had her killed a year later.
In the ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ historian Edward Gibbon wrote that once Commodus had tasted human blood, he became incapable of pity or remorse.
Commodus turned over the reins of the empire to his favorite buddies, but even they were not safe from his fury. He put the first one to death because he believed he was conspiring against him. A second one was beaten to death by a street mob encouraged by the young tyrant emperor. Weak in the Life Force of Temperance, Commodus devoted his time to partying, chariot racing, and gladiator fights at the Roman Coliseum. The 2000 movie ‘Gladiator,’ is loosely based on his life.
Unlike his father, the hot breath of the Dragon of False Pride made Commodus believe he was a god, so before entering the arena to fight, he would dress himself as the Roman god Mercury. He also declared himself to be an incarnation of the god Hercules and forced the senate to recognize his divinity. Statues were erected of the emperor, including one made of solid gold and weighing nearly 1,000 pounds.
Watching their once mighty empire descend into chaos, the Roman people grew tired of Commodus’ antics. A small group of conspirators decided to kill him. They first tried with poisoned meat, but Commodus vomited it up (it must’ve been a Big Mac). Then they hired a strongman to strangle the emperor while taking a bath. That did work, but, as soon as he died, the city broke out into civil war and that was the end of the Pax Romana Marcus Aurelius had fought so hard to protect.
Good kings, like Marcus Aurelius, build and leave behind a legacy, a lasting gift to the world. Weak kings build statues to themselves.
Having weak King energy doesn’t only risk making you a spoiled tyrant, like Commodus. Like a boat without a rudder or a compass without a needle, men with weak, or no King energy feel lost, alone, and uncertain, which makes them follow someone who appears to have strong King energy. Since they are incapable of building their own inner fire and shine with their own light, they look for someone who can, and then meekly seek to warm themselves by the fire someone else has built. Unwilling or unable to develop their own King energy, they choose to follow someone who can save them from feeling desperate and hopeless, but, since choices made out of desperation are always bad choices, this always ends badly.
After Germany’s defeat in World War I, many Germans felt humiliated, weak, and hopeless… desperate to find someone with the power to make them and their country proud and great again. Adolf Hitler was their man and, as you might know, over 70 million people died because of him and his Fellowship of Locusts. A modern day example would be a leader of a street gang who is followed by weak, so-called ‘tough-guys.’
The lesson here is that you mustn’t identify with, nor project the energy of the King on anyone, but work on building your own fire and dare to shine with your own inner light.
Your King energy is the one that tells you to clean and bring order to your room so you can better concentrate. It is the one that advises you to get your homework done before doing anything else. It is the one that counsels you against picking fights or battling unnecessary battles. It’s the one that, no matter how hard, tries to keep you focused on your goals and future plans.
If, like Commodus, you allow your inner King to weaken, all hell will break loose and the pirate locusts will invade your kingdom like the Pride Land was taken over by ‘Scar’ and his hyenas.
The Wizard lives in a small cell in the deepest part of your hive. He is the brain of your kingdom. His cell is full of books, microscopes, telescopes, compasses, maps… everything you need for learning and turn that knowledge into wisdom.
The Wizard is constantly watching and learning, figuring out how stuff works, how humans think and behave, especially how his other three companions think and behave.
He knows all about the Deadliest Dragons and how to defeat them.
He studies history’s mistakes to avoid repeating them.
He knows how to make honey. He is the one who helps the King write better stories than the ones written by the Locusts. His main job is to share his wisdom and discoveries with the other three, and with the people living in the surrounding kingdoms.
The Wizard is the explorer, the scout, the seeker and experimenter… the spark that lights the King’s fire.
Late at night, you will find the Wizard standing in the highest turret of the castle watching the stars through his telescope, studying the cosmos, learning and understanding the mysteries of the Universe and its fundamental laws. He loves the unexplained. He knows the Universe is full of riddles and unanswered questions. Chaos and uncertainty don’t bother him. In fact, he finds that people who are too certain about anything are often the most dangerous. He never accepts anyone’s opinion as the ultimate truth but works on forming his own opinions and ideas on what is true, but will change his mind, just as quickly, if he discovers a higher truth.
The Wizard’s symbol is the Book, and the Life Forces he most uses are Curiosity, Intuition, and Grit.
Without the energy of the Wizard, the kingdom grows dark under the dangerous shadow of ignorance.
More than two centuries ago, a wizard by the name of Socrates lived in the city of Athens in ancient Greece. He was a philosopher, a word that means “lover of wisdom.” Like any wise wizard, Socrates understood the danger of stubbornly clinging to an opinion or idea, especially when presented with new evidence. He knew that an inflexible mind closes itself to learning, and he once said that the only thing he knew is that he didn’t know anything.
Socrates grew up during what is known as the Golden Age of the Athenian empire. Much like Rome’s Pax Romana, it was a time of great wealth, culture, military might, and political power, which made many citizens puffed-up with the hot breath of the Dragon of False Pride.
Socrates became known as the “Gadfly of Athens” because he would walk the streets and visit the markets, stopping people, especially the young, to start conversations about important things in life. He was like a pesky mosquito buzzing in people’s ears, asking questions like, “What does it mean to be powerful?” “What is beauty?” “What is truth?” His method didn’t involve teaching the answers but encouraging the young to think critically and arrive at their own definitions and their own answers. Socrates was the one who said that an unexamined life was not worth living. “Know thyself,” remember?
Socrates also liked to challenge the leaders of Athens, especially their sense of superiority, which he believed was dangerous. I suppose you can say that Socrates saw the Dragon of False Pride infecting his city and was trying to warn its leaders about its deadly poison. Well, they didn’t listen, and put Socrates in jail and condemned him to death. Barely 70 years later, the Athenian Empire collapsed when conquered by none other than Alexander the Great.
“Pride goes before the fall,” so the saying goes.
In Chapter 1, we learned how Tunk’s wizard energy guided him into the cave to think of all the things he saw up above and to render that knowledge in beautiful paintings on the cave’s walls.
We learned how Amira’s curious wizard energy helped humans discover agriculture.
Greta Thunberg’s wizard made her study climate science for six years before starting her hero’s journey.
William’s wizard led him to that ramshackle and poorly stocked library in Malawi to learn about windmills.
Your wizard energy is the one that makes you hungry and eager to learn new things. It is the one who prevents you from getting poor grades at school, which I hear some kids choose to do nowadays in order to fit-in with their grooving buddies. It is the energy you want charged and fully alert when being trained by your mentor.
The WARRIOR is the fierce energy in your kingdom.
His symbol is the Sword, and the Life Forces he most uses are Justice, Temperance, Courage, and Grit.
Under the command of the King, the Warrior fights for justice and protects those who call on the kingdom for protection. He is always in control; his actions are never overdone. He always stands in one position – frontally - and moves only in one direction - forward.
The Warrior never uses brute force. Instead, he uses the positive aggressive power we men have by nature… the bold and forceful audacity we need to get things done and to protect the people we love. (modern day examples)
To prevent the Warrior’s heart from turning to stone and becoming violent, the King makes sure the Warrior spends plenty of time in the company of the Wild Boy who loves to dance.
A man who cannot dance should never be trusted with a sword, said wise Chinese philosopher Confucius. What he meant was that a real Warrior, is a tender Warrior.
‘Tough guys’ are not true Warriors.
Confucius didn’t mean soft like something that cracks under pressure like the stiff oak tree I talked about earlier. He was referring to the palm tree that bends with the wind but never snaps. Or like water, which flows forward, in one single direction, and uses its ‘tender’ force to overcome or wear down all obstacles in its way.
The Warrior always lives true to the code of conduct written by the King.
In the Middle Ages, right after the fall of the Roman Empire, the figure of the Knight in Armor emerged. The word “knight” shares the same root with the word “hero,” meaning “servant.” The first knights of the Middle Ages served and fought for Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, in the 700s.
Knights lived and fought under a code of conduct known as the ‘Code of Chivalry’ whose rules were:
1. Serve the King.
2. Protect the weak and treat women with respect.
3. Never refuse a challenge.
4. In all quests, never give up and persevere till the end.
5. Never be mean nor offend anyone.
6. Always speak the truth.
7. Live by honor.
8. Focus on the good of your cause and not on its material rewards. In other words, if you’re doing it for the money, you can’t call yourself a Knight.
During Hideyoshi’s time, the Samurai of Japan lived and fought under the ‘Bushido Code,’ or ‘Way of the Warrior,’ whose rules of conduct were:
1. Fight for justice.
2. Be courageous.
3. Be kind and show mercy.
4. Be polite and always speak the truth.
5. Live by honor.
6. Have self-control.
Without rules of conduct, your inner Warrior won’t know how to behave. Think back to the juvenile elephants taken away from Kruger National Park in South Africa. Without older males to show them proper elephant behavior, they were out of control and became violent.
The WILD BOY lives outdoors in the wild expanses of your kingdom.
He is playful, spontaneous, tender, and full of delight. He never takes himself or others seriously.
He’s adventurous and mischievous. Because he’s impulsive, he’s always getting in trouble… always falling in love… never has a Plan B.
He thinks with his heart and hands, not his head. He’s an idealist, always building castles in the air imagining that the impossible is possible. Think of Noah and his Ark.
Of all the 4 energies, the Wild Boy is the one most-closely connected to Earth. He navigates the wild through his senses. He is aware and pays close attention. He touches everything, smells and tastes everything, hears everything.
He is always dancing and inviting the other three to come out and dance with him, especially the Warrior. He shows them all the beauty around them. Like Tunk, he is the mirror upon which the Universe reflects itself.
The Wild Boy loves to read poetry, play music, write in journals, paint, sculpt, cook, garden, and give hugs to everyone.
My boyhood hero, Zorro, was not only a great swordsman but loved to dance.
Hideyoshi tapped into his Wild Boy to make fun of his ‘ugly-monkey’ looks as a strategy to work his way into the home of the powerful samurai family, the Matsushita.
Albert Einstein loved playing the piano and violin which he said helped him activate his Wizard energy.
Even while fighting barbarians, Marcus Aurelius found time to journal, and completed 12 books with his meditations, which, although he’s been dead for over 1800 years, are still read for guidance and wisdom by thousands of people in today’s world. That is his real and lasting legacy.
The Wild Boy’s symbol is the Flower, and the Life Forces he most uses are Intuition and Curiosity.
You might be wondering how these energies work in real life, so I’ll tell you how I use them.
When I become anxious, or procrastinate, or turn sloppy and disorganized, I imagine myself dressed in a regal, purple robe, sitting on a high throne with my King’s scepter in hand, and calmly remind myself of my long-term goals and the legacy I want to leave behind.
When I get dangerously close to thinking I know it all, I climb up the steps of my castle to visit the Wizard.
When things get real hard and I feel like giving up, I imagine myself dressed as a Samurai, sword in hand.
If depressed and gloomy, or taking life and myself too seriously, I flee the castle to play and dance outdoors with the Wild Boy.
Throughout your life, it will be the King in you who will draw-up the plans for what you want to do and point the way. Your Wizard energy will be the one learning alongside your mentor and will push you to keep learning for the rest of your life. Protected by your wingman, your fierce, tender Warrior will fight the Dragons blocking your way and then wage war against the Locusts who don’t want you to write better stories for the world. Lastly, your inner Wild Boy will be there to make sure you enjoy the journey and never forget to stop along the way to feel the wind on your face and the thrill of adventure, and to take time to enjoy the wonderful sights, sounds, and smells along the way. As Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs said, “The journey is the reward!”
What happens when the four energies are not balanced in a man?
If the King stops bringing order, discipline, and structure to the realm, all hell will break loose. The Warrior will turn violent, the Wizard will stop learning, and the Wild Boy will be out of control.
If the Wizard stops learning or gets greedy and refuses to share his wisdom, all the kingdoms, including the one he lives in, will wither under the dark shadow cast by swarms of locusts and their destructive stories.
If the Warrior were to fall asleep, the Locusts will take over and the King’s plans for the kingdom will never be realized. His kingdom and the rest of the world around it will be full of statues erected by tyrants.
If the Wild Boy runs amok, like young Commodus, he will put an end to the King’s legacy.
All four must be active and in balance. A steel cable made of four intertwined strands will bear an unbelievable load because each strand lends strength to the others.
If you take a quick look at our world today, you’ll notice it’s in a bit of a mess. Dangerous Dragons abound and the Locusts are taking over. Just like a powerful storm makes the lights in your house sputter, or dim, the four energies are feeble or unbalanced.
You will see many tyrants, but few true Kings.
Few Wizards, and far too many lazy, ignorant fools refusing to learn and change their minds.
Many ‘tough guys,’ but not enough Tender Warriors.
And many savage boys, instead of Wild.
So I say it’s high time I train you on the Life Forces! The world needs you, and is running out of time!