hide

Read Next

On Loyalty and Empire-Building: Muhammad and Khadijah, Hideyoshi and Nene

I've scoured the books of history looking for trends - why did this person succeed, when that one failed? Why did this movement shape the world, while that one died out? Why did this nation win, and that one lose?

Some people think accidents explain history. Perhaps accidents explain some of history, but certainly not all. You see common virtues among those who succeeded, and frequently you see common vices among those who failed.

Of the common virtues, the successful seem to have an immense amount of loyalty and reverence for the people that "got them there," revering and celebrating them even as they bring more and more people to their banner. The people who break from their early friends and supporters usually end poorly, in an isolation of their own making.

You can see this with two men that had the biggest impact on their respective cultures - Muhammad in Arabia, and Hideyoshi in Japan.

Both men were low born, but came to be hugely influential. There are a number of similarities in their stories. They both found and married an exceptional, charismatic, diplomatic, high born, highly intelligent woman relatively early in their careers. The wives of these men - Khadijah to Muhammad, Nene to Hideyoshi - were their first, most passionate, and largest supporters when few else believed in them.

Kipling - "If"

Thanks to Shanna Mann for pointing me to this. Lovely poem.

"If" by Rudyard Kipling, 1895

--

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or, being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

Rendering New Theme...