The Barbarian Mindset

by Oct 20, 2020

Recently somebody I contacted posed a question back to me. Do I have an article on the Barbarian Mindset? Much to my chagrin, I do not have one in my own words. I have talked about this in podcasts and alluded to it in articles. Mentioned it on Twitter and IG, yet never typed it out. 

Here we are with my thoughts on the Barbarian Mindset. 

Definition of Barbarian

Let us take a quick look at what the definition of a barbarian is. “A person from an alien land, culture, or group believed to be inferior, uncivilized, or violent.” When barbarian first came into use, it was anyone outside of Greece or Rome. To simplify even more – people who were outside what was considered civilization at the time. 

Now jumping to today, we see the same thing going on. There is a great divide between what many call 1st, 2nd, and 3rd world countries. There is also a divide between urban and rural areas of the same country. The United States has this in spades. 

There is not one country anymore that stands out more or less than another when it comes to civilizations in some form of decay. Most of us that live in the civilized world live in gilded cages of our own making. Few are genuinely free from the system in which we live our lives.


As we look at the history books, we know that the Romans and Grecians missed the mark quite a bit. The sad part is we, as a society, continue to forget the history lessons and keep making the same mistakes. Thinking those outside city limits are a bunch of uncouth barbarians. 

Barbarians have a strong sense of family. They are craftsmen who can build homes, villages, and anything that is needed. They know how to hunt and grow their food. They are not solely dependant on someone else to provide for their needs. They have the mindset if not skills to survive any encounter. 

They have a mindset capable of great violence when it is needed and, in turn, show compassion to those in need. Beyond pure violence, it is controlled for barbarians’ train to fight, to defend, or attack when necessary. Martial skills are simply a part of life, not having to rely on another for your protection. 

The Civilized Man

I have given simple boundaries, for there are many nuances to them. Looking at what I consider the definition of a civilized man: a man who can not take care of himself if circumstances dictated, had he only himself to rely on when the shit hits the fan. You can’t always call someone to fix your problem.

The older I get, the more men I meet that do not have any skills to survive. They don’t have a mindset of what it would even take to survive. If they can not call someone or message them to come to save them, they are lost. 

Civilized men have lost the primal part of their being. They have buried it deep with them. They have had it all but beaten from them, no longer willing to tap into it. It still sparks from time to time yet, so very dim few ever notice it, and if they do notice, they do not latch on to it.  

Simple Things

Are you in danger? And your only recourse is to call 911. Will they even arrive on time? We know the truth is no, they can’t. I am not saying “not to call them,” I am saying you should be able to handle things till they get there. 

Can you change a flat tire alongside the road? Do the basics of an oil change or brakes yourself? Yes, time is money, yet that is not enough of an excuse not to know how to do the mere basics, especially with all the available resources. 

Can you do house maintenance basics, more than unplugging a toilet, can you change one out. Put up a shelf or picture, change our a doorknob. The little repairs that go along with living in a home. Very simplistic things that there is no excuse for not at least trying to do. 

The Mindset of Barbarian

It is essential to look at both sides of the coin to understand the Barbarian Mindset, for it is the third side of the coin. With this mindset, one has the skills, strength, attitude, will, and endurance to see things through. It balances the mind, body, and spirit to make a whole man and to shore up any weakness. 

You can live within civilization and still be a barbarian. You can have your gilded cage. However, the cage does not define who you are. The cage is a means of comfort that one needs to be wary of succumbing to, it is there for your enjoyment, and that is all. 

Think of Conan by Robert E Howard. The pinnacle of the mindset of one who learned the skills needed to survive and then came to the city to earn riches and glory. To lose them in a mishap and then return to gain even more. Riches and glory are mere things for a time. You can not take them with you when it is your time. 


A man with a barbarian mindset is continuously learning. It is impossible to know everything that still should not hold you back. Continue to work on your skills. There will always be a man bigger, stronger, faster, smarter than you; this is a good thing for this is a man you can learn from if you will take the time to listen. 

Is it feasible for everyman to pack up and move out of the city and find his piece of wilderness? No. Man is a social creature. Some men are more suited to live in the city than others. My warning here is, do not be seduced by the city and become soft. Continue to push your limits and take time away. 

No matter where your path leads, be the leader, be the example, and be the follower and support if the situation calls for it. Those that have a family, you are the leader of your home, never forget that, raise your sons to be barbarians. 

Always keep the Barbarian Mindset

Written by Nathan
Twitter @steeljanz
IG @barbarianrhetoric


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