I read this book when I was about 15, probably standing in the aisle of a bookstore somewhere, and it is a story of exploration, growth, development, and ultimate fulfillment.
Jump to the part where he is a young man, an ascetic in the forests, naked except for a loincloth, covered in dirt, lonely and alone. He sees a procession go by with a stunningly beautiful courtesan being carried aloft. He’s enamored, blown away by this beautiful, desirable, sexually seductive woman. This is a new emotion and drive for Siddartha . He is attracted, and knows nothing other than he wants her.
He manages to get her attention, yet she mocks and scoffs at him. She is curious though. He is oddly interesting and beguiling. She taunts him that he is just a forest ascetic and has nothing to give to her, she’s used to affluent young men fawning over her with money, gifts, and gems. She points out he has no money, clothes, or even shoes, and asks him “what can you do that would buy the pleasures I have to give?”
He promptly answers “I can think, I can wait, I can fast.” The boy was confident in these intangibles! Well, long story short, after dazzling her with some poetry, he turns these invisible treasures, into material success and riches, marries Kamala, has a child…that’s another story!
The thing here is that he had the tools to improve himself regardless of circumstance, in any situation of his choosing, from being a forest dwelling ascetic, to being a high powered businessman.
The skills and tools he had were laying in wait for the motivating reason and the opportunity, which by the way, he made by facing the unknown with confidence,also an essential skill. He names three of the keys to his future success: critical thinking, time management, and activity!
Next, some details and insights regarding this story, applying the principals to martial arts training and to better living