5 lessons on greatness from One Piece’s Zoro

[Spolier Alert up to Mermen Arc]

Zoro_From_One_Piece-1 Wanted Poster

This guy will eventually be the greatest swordsman in One Piece, it’s pretty much destiny and we all want it to happen. The best part about it is that he would have earned it by the end of the series. It’s not that he was blessed with being naturally gifted or has some family secret passed down to him through the generations. It’s the way he conducts himself that will earn him that prestigious title. For an animated character in a manga who isn’t even the main protagonist, I unashamedly idolise him for his awesome personality traits (and the fact we both have a poor sense of direction).

So what makes this guy so great and what can we learn from him to apply to our own lives? Here are 5 lessons on being great from Roronoa Zoro.

Embrace Risk


Kitetsu Curse vs Zoro From One Piece

Zoro was about to purchase a sword when he realised it was cursed. Instead of letting it affect his decision, he took a gamble. He threw the so-called “cursed” sword in the air, stuck his arm out and put his luck to the test. He knew he needed the best swords possible, if they are cursed then so be it.

Zoro doesn’t run away from danger or risk, instead he embraces it. He also understands that luck has a part to play whether you like it or not. If he is not ready to put it all on the line how can he even fanthom the thought of being the greatest swordsman alive?

Life is full of danger, obstacles and “No Entry” signs. People will tell you, you cannot but if you want to leave your mark then you’ll have to get used to ignoring conventional wisdom and sticking it to the naysayers. If it’s meant to be, so be it. So aim high and be ambitious because it is those without fear who reap the biggest rewards.

Always challenge yourself to be better

Zoro_From_One_Piece_lifting_weights Getting Stronger

Zoro never turns down a challenge. He actively seeks strong opponents and rival swordsmens to battle in a bid to improve himself. I have never seen a complacent Zoro who ever rests on his past successes. This is very important if you want to stand out in your industry or become an expert in your field. You should always be pushing yourself to the next level so never stop challenging yourself to be better.

Find your code and live by it

“If you stand for nothing, you fall for anything”

When embarking on reaching a life goal you have to set yourself strict rules to follow in order to accomplish them. Zoro is a great example of someone who found his code and sticks by it.



Usopp recently duelled his very own captain and lost. At the mention of him making a possible return to the crew, Zoro firmly objected. He refused to be lead by a captain who allows his subordinates to walk over him and didn’t see their adventure as a “childish pirate game”. This showed his commitment to the Straw Hat Crew, his focus on the task at hand and the tough love he is willing to administer even to his own captain to ensure the crew become the best they can be.

Once you decide you want to be successful you have to be hard on yourself and sometimes even those closest to you. Understand the obstacles you have before you and drive yourself to meet them head-on. The greatest minds have codes they live by from Steve Jobs refusal to sell a poorly designed product to the great football managers who refuse to lose i.e. Jose Mourinho. Some call him a sore loser but look at his record, he doesn’t accept failure so nor should you.

It isn’t about the glory or praise, it’s about doing what you have to do.


Nothing Happened Zoro One Piece GOAT Epic Moment

It is easy to make excuses or to blame someone else when you are in a bad situation. Zoro doesn’t make excuses though, if an adversary is stood before him regardless of how injured he is, he will do what he is required of him.

Zoro was the last man standing (after sticking the butt of his sword in the back of Sanji, a little dickish but heroic in the end). He didn’t want his captain to be captured so he took on the burden of pain Luffy had endured during the last battle. The best part came afterwards when asked what happened to him and why there was so much blood, where – like a boss – he said “Nothing happened”.

He didn’t want no one’s praise, pity or sympathy and he even carried on to fight battle after battle with those fatal injuries.

If you’re doing it for the glory or looking for sympathy this walk of life isn’t for you. The greats do what is necessary to achieve their goals. So don’t turn down a challenge because you are not 100% prepared. Don’t always take the easy route every time it is presented. Be willing to walk through fire to get what you want from life. Be willing to make sacrifi…oh on to my next point….

Sometimes you have to sacrifice


Zoro_Begs_Mihawk_To_Train_Him_As_An_Apprentice One Piece

Zoro found out his captain had been through a great ordeal without his crew to protect or support him. After being cryptically given a two year extension by his captain to delay their meeting, Zoro realised he needed to get stronger, much stronger. The way him and his crew were overwhelmed at Sabaody Archipelago was unacceptable. So he did the one thing that went against everything that defined him and asked his archrival to train him.

What an incredible act of sacrifice. He put his pride on the line because he realised what he had to do. This was so out of character and you can imagine the humiliation he felt but there are times in our lives where we need to do the unthinkable and move in a completely new direction to get the result we want. When the time comes, be ready to put it all on the line.

Zoro is the Poster Boy of reaching greatness and we all know he will reach it one day (hopefully that doesn’t result in One Piece ever ending). Therefore, let’s take some of the lessons this great character has taught us and apply it to our lives so we can also be great.

4 thoughts on “5 lessons on greatness from One Piece’s Zoro

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