Don Juan shares two important qualities for warriors with Carlos Castaneda in The Fire From Within.

The two mental training qualities are:

  1. sustained effort
  2. unbending intent.

Carlos explains his realizations about these two qualities in the three quotes below.


Laur focuses their attention on the next move.


“All that is required is impeccability, energy, and that begins with a single act that has to be deliberate, precise, and sustained.”

Motivation drives our decisions and actions. Acts can only be deliberate, precise, and sustained if we’re learning-based motivated because a focus on learning shifts our attention into the present moment, where all action occurs. If we are to become mentally fit, then we shift our motivation toward learning. This positions us for using our attention impeccably, sustained on the current learning task, which helps develop the next quality: unbending intent.


“If that act is repeated long enough, one acquires a sense of unbending intent, which can be applied to anything else.”

Sustaining attention on a task is an important quality for high performance. We identify the task, focus our attention on it, and sustain our attention as long as necessary. Attention focused in the direction of a choice is the definition of intention. By developing our ability to sustain our attention we develop an intention that is unbending. Sustained attention and unbending intent represent our commitment to our learning journeys.


Laur focuses their attention on sticking the hold.


“If that is accomplished the road is clear. One thing will lead to another until the warrior realizes his full potential.”

Shifting our motivation, from achievement to learning, clarifies what we value. Knowing our values makes our path clear to us, not in the sense of knowing where the path will take us, but how we navigate our internal world.

Don’t hide in the comfort zone – embrace stress.

We will come up against stressors that require us to make choices. How we make those choices becomes clear: we lean into stress and enjoy it. This process allows us to grow and realize our full potential because we value the learning itself, more than the results of that learning.

We don’t hide from life in our comfort zones. Our road is clear: we embrace stress. We see it as a natural part of life, so we can grow, and through that growth, contribute to life.

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