Rafa Conde is a former DEA, Narcotics, and SWAT officer and the founder and CEO of “Man of War,” a high-performance personal development company. He shares what the “warrior mindset” is, why he believes the modern generation has lost it, and how getting it back can revolutionize our lives. 

What the warrior mindset means to Rafa:

“The warrior mindset to me, when you break it down, is truly living by a code. And, when you break this code down, we’re talking about integrity, honor, resilience, serving a higher purpose, and in the end, it’s really exhibiting your actions at the highest of levels. Living by this moral code and then, when you really look at it and you step outside the box, it’s something almost magical that we, in our day and age, have completely lost.”

What his Buddhist training taught him:

“I studied Zen Buddhism for many years. I was two weeks away from being an ordained monk and one of the reasons that I didn’t follow through on that is because it started to, kind of, overlap with my Christianity and there was a certain line in the sand that I didn’t want to cross, so I didn’t follow through with it. But the actual techniques of meditation and understanding the thoughts are there – and I teach this day in and day out. Seeing the thought from the outside world, understanding the emotion from the outside world … and it’s very much like stoicism in many ways, where you are not attached to these emotions. I don’t think that men in our day and age understand that philosophy.”

The importance of being detached from certain emotions:

“Happiness is an emotion. Depression is an emotion. Anger is an emotion. Excitement is an emotion. As warriors, and I link this back to the warrior mindset, we must learn how to detach ourselves from those emotions and acknowledge that they are just emotions. They cannot dictate and govern how we react in our lives. Because when you are a man that’s emotional, and reactive based on your emotions, you’re going to get destroyed in this life.”

Why it’s important to believe in something greater:

“I talk about serving for a higher purpose. And I truly believe that any warrior-minded man that walks this planet, if they’re not serving for a higher calling in their lives, something beyond them, they start living shallow lives. Self-directed lives, which I don’t believe in. I think we are all here on this planet to serve something higher than ourselves. I truly believe, also, that every one of us has the opportunity to do something great. … I’m talking about being great by touching lives or changing lives one way or another.”

His Man-Of-War crucible:

“It’s not a program, it’s a lifestyle change and a way of life. What we do is, we restructure how a man thinks and how he acts and then, more importantly, that combined is how he lives his life. This is, essentially, living by a code and understanding that living an honorable life, a life with integrity, a life with drive, with energy, with purpose … and more importantly, surrounding yourself with amazing men because I truly believe that who you surround yourself with can make or break your life.”

Why the grueling physical regimen of Man-Of-War is vital to growth:

“When a man is beaten down to the ground and he is capable of rising up through the adversity, through the challenges, through the anxiety and confusion, and pain above all, something almost magical happens on the other side.”

What integrity means to him:

“Integrity is really about doing the right thing when nobody is looking. A lot of people do things just because they know it’s the norm for society, but they don’t do it from the heart. Integrity for me is doing something right because you have sincerity of heart. Doing it when nobody is looking. When the lights are off and you’re in a dark room, you do the right thing.”