Transformation of Dan Millman’s Perception of Life

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Human mind transforms in the course of life, but the starting point of different people is not the same. Life can be unfair in the beginning taking into consideration the dissimilarities in the material well-being, parents’ social status or genetics. However, all people born have a chance for the development and transformation. Moreover, they are responsible for the talents given by nature (Maxwell 6). Sometimes, crises and crucial moments can lead to reconsideration and quality change of values and life principles. Some people need gurus for their possible growth (Siegel 29).

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Dan Millman’s book Way of the Peaceful Warrior reveals both the crisis moment and the elder man’s guidance provided to the main character. The work is a personal story of the author’s success and essential transformation of his life principles. It is based on real events and can be a demonstration of the human mind that has limitless possibilities.

Dan Millman meets a man working at a gas station. Being a successful gymnast, a son of wealthy parents, an applicant to the Olympic Committee, he gets enchanted by the way of living of a socially inconspicuous servant whom he calls Socrates. After a car accident, Dan is forced to give up gymnastics. However, Socrates reveals to him completely different values of life and transforms his mind and life perception to the level which leads the young man to social acknowledgement and success.

The book suggests the knowledge of knowing nothing is the starting point of a real warrior’s way. It means that life is full of wonders not to be explained, but just to be respected and admired. According to Socrates from the book, the ability to have a clear mind and cut off waste thoughts is the most important purpose worth fighting for the true warrior. The title of the work implies that self-development can be compared to the struggle against individual doubts, dissatisfaction, addictions and even health problems. The concept of Greater Jihad in Muslim culture corresponds with this idea and implies that the most crucial war is fighting one’s own sins and evil nature (Lerner 115). Human potential needs encouragement and faith, both outward and inward.

People of western civilization are often keen on effective time management and achievement of the set goals. The planning and realizing of purposes are the essence and main aim of the constant race for money and material goods. However, the result does not always bring satisfaction (Siegel 34). Socrates draws Dan’s attention to the notion of the movement for the movement’s sake. Concentration on the possible social success and personal achievements makes people egoistic. They do not pay attention to anything out of their profit, start feeling themselves confident and powerful masters of their fate. The pride and prejudice make such individuals blind to the secret of life (Lerner 59). Some mysterious facts, Dan’s dreams, the reflections of his imagination could be interpreted as symptoms of schizophrenia from a scientific point of view. However, the unresolved inner conflict and the guidance of an elderly and experienced man help to transform his disorder into the social success.

Dan feels shocked when seeing Socrates on the roof of his gas station in a moment after having seen him on a chair on the basement floor. This trick or a miracle draws the male’s attention, and he wants to get an answer of how it can be fulfilled. However, Socrates leads the main character to the conclusion that there are too many useless and wasteful questions in his life. He teaches him just to see and admire the mystery of life.

Humor and irony, especially concerning one’s own personality, are important features of a developing mind. Ability to understand the nature of one’s thoughts and emotions, judge them critically and with a smile can help in overcoming many difficulties and stresses. When individuals do not treat themselves too seriously, they can easier try new things and make new steps forward. They should just look around and see people with the same and different problems. Ironical view on the issue can disclose its real scale.

One more important aspect of the personal development is inward talking and detecting oneself. Dan Millman underlines that changes are unavoidable. Meditating is vital as it gives a chance to perceive the here and now, and to apply the ultimate amount of energy to the passing moment. Activity makes people’s lives real and helps them to develop and grow in many different aspects (Siegel 20). However, time should not flow fast. If individuals detect that they have nothing to remember within a long period of their life, it is time to reconsider one’s own perception and values. It is so great when time stops in an unforgettable moment and becomes a memory. Some people count life not based on the years’ length but on the happy moments which sometimes happen. Life is a movement ahead along the time line. Nothing remains the same. That is why, the perfection is an illusion of a certain moment, a zenith of dream fulfillment, the starting point for a new goal or dream.

Sometimes people fail to see the beauty of the passing moment because they are too much concerned about the past or the future. It is a common mistake to waste one’s psychic energy on what has gone or is only in perspective. People can live being blind and thinking they are living a full life. Socrates in Millman’s book says that the death is not as awful as the fact that some people do not start living. He underlines the importance of living here and now. The ability to value the process and the way to once goal are greater than the achievement itself.


Dan Millman’s experience described in his autobiographical book Way of the Peaceful Warrior implies that the human potential is limitless. Life is full of unexplained wonders whose realization depends on the people’s ability to admire and value them. However, any perfection is a utopia as nothing remains the same. The talent to feel and live here and now matters for the harmonic development and non-violent perception of life. Any result is less important than the process and the way to the dream. Dan Millman underlines the importance of the ability to wake up and see all the wonders of life behind one’s own ambitions and useless insights into the future and the past. He believes that an individual should be able to do what is really enjoyable here and now.