And I don't mean that you should be one of those people sufficiently scared by the media to get a firearm and waste a lot of energy worrying about imaginary attacks. No - the simple rule is that when facing any potential or actual conflict, the first thing to do is look for a weapon. In the lonely street late at night, find a brick, piece of wood or metal, anything that can be used. In a bar, grab a chair or glass; wherever you are, develop the reflex to arm first, act second. It doesn't matter how highly trained, or how strong and fit, having a tool gives you the best chance of coming out on top. In fact, this advice was given to me by one of the toughest fighters I ever met, a guy who could work his overnight shift and then come straight to a national karate championship and win. His experience wasn't just in the dojo either, it had been tested many times in the street.
What does this mean for us, the normal person, trying to develop and help others on the way? Firstly, it means just what I wrote above. If ever you find yourself in a physical confrontation, find the best weapon available and use it. Secondly, in the battle of everyday, don't fight without weapons. As society and technology advance there are superb tools available, for free or at low cost, that can augment our human abilities. Do not be one of those who says "I'm not a tecky person, I just don't have the time to learn about these new systems" or suchlike. If you have a challenge--and we all do--find the tool that will help you prevail. Technology is one major class of such tools. It can manage the "grunt tasks" that we should not be expending energy on and enhance meaningful work, allowing us to easily connect and create. This idea is not limited to computers and electronica though. As with the street fight, it's about grabbing anything that be useful, finding the right tool for the job. This could be any range of practices and philosophies--meditation, yoga, martial arts, journaling--that add enjoyment and transform our floundering and flailing into true impact.
To energize the New Year, here's Ash's paean to unarmed combat: