“The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
Sun Tzu (General & Author, The Art of War)
“True Budo is practiced not only to destroy an enemy, it must also make him, of his own will, gladly lose his spirit to oppose you.”
Morehei Ueshiba (Founder, Aikido Martial Art)
“Relax and calm your mind. Forget about yourself and follow your opponent’s movement.”
Yip Man (Master Teacher, Wing Chun Martial Art)
Will people remember you after you die?
If so, will they remember you as average or great?
Many are remembered as average (or not remembered at all).
Few are remembered as great.
Alexander the Great is still remembered.
Today, more than 2,000 years after his death, he’s considered to be one of the greatest leaders in history.
That’s why he’s called Alexander the Great.
Not “Alexander the Average.”
A student of the philosopher Aristotle, Alexander learned the importance of having an agile mind from an early age.
He surrounded himself with the world’s most brilliant advisors, studying both the arts and sciences rigorously.
He was relentless in the pursuit of achieving what he called “the greatest version of himself.”
In Alexander’s mind, it was his duty to become the greatest leader that ever lived.
He devoted himself to achieving this unrealistic goal.
And he achieved it.
Alexander remained victorious in battle after 15 years of steady military campaigns.
He defeated many of his enemies before stepping onto the battlefield.
His reputation of victory won entire wars before they even started.
Here’s the key—he created his reputation.
He defined himself, rather than letting others define him.
He created his own legacy while he was still alive.
Alexander crafted himself as a legend and then he embodied that legend.
But this legend wasn’t just about victory.
It was about justice, intelligence, communication, and even respect for his enemies.
While Alexander conquered most of the known world, and a chunk of the unknown world, he always maintained this reputation.
Alexander the Great isn’t remembered for how much gold he had, or how many plots of land he owned.
He is remembered for his reputation as a leader.
He is remembered for being bold, courageous, and determined.
In the same way, you can design a legacy for yourself.
You can actively define your own identity, one that is masterful and legendary, not ordinary.
But first you have to decide who you want to be and who you want to be remembered as.
Why You Need To Build A Strong Reputation
It’s not someone else’s duty to define you.
It’s not other people’s job to build your reputation.
It’s your job.
The key is to stop listening to everyone else’s opinions.
Quit letting other people tell you who you are and who you are supposed to become.
When other people tell you how to live, all they’re doing is projecting their own desires onto you.
You have to make your life a singular adventure.
It’s up to you to make your life unique and legendary.
But the only way to do this is to plan ahead and take positive action throughout your life.
A study done by the American Psychological Association found that people who anticipate negative outcomes, mistakes, and other problems or setbacks, while at the same time staying positive and having a positive vision, are the ones who achieve their goals the quickest.
These people not only achieve their goals more quickly, they are recognized as being successful more quickly too.
In other words, they create a reputation for success by anticipating negative outcomes while staying positive.
If you want to build a strong reputation in life, you must plan ahead.
You must foresee difficult people and difficult circumstances.
You must master yourself and make your environment a product of you, not become a product of your environment.
You must put your legacy first, above everything, including comfort and stability.
5 Leadership Characteristics For Leaving A Legacy
Building anything up to be strong is hard work.
Building up a strong reputation is hard work.
Crafting a legacy that is strong enough to survive after you die is hard work.
But doing the hard work is integral to your legacy.
People who shy away from challenges are rarely remembered.
For too many people, the main focus of their legacy is stability and comfort.
These people think that their boring corporate jobs give them strong reputations.
They think that merely having a couple of kids, and maybe a house to pass on, equals leaving a lasting legacy.
The truth is, these people are leaving behind nothing more than mediocrity.
They’re leaving behind the message that life isn’t worth fighting for.
They’re leaving behind the message that doing something significant with your life doesn’t matter.
As a result, these people will never be remembered.
They will be forgotten within two generations.
That’s not leaving a legacy.
If you want to achieve something great in life, you’re going to have to fight for it. You’re going to have to struggle.
But the struggle can be glorious if you make building a reputation and leaving a legacy a priority.
Here are 5 leadership characteristics you need to have to build a strong reputation and leave a legacy…
1. Know your enemies.
Your enemies can keep you from leaving a legacy.
Negative people can keep you from building a strong reputation.
If you simply ignore these people, they will slow you down.
If you refuse to acknowledge the fact that they are against you, they will win.
Negative people will guilt trip you into conforming to their standards.
They’ll manipulate you into becoming dependent on them, or into becoming a crutch for their dependence.
Do not hide from this.
Instead, be prepared for your enemies.
Know they are a potential threat and stay alert.
Walk the line between refusing to passively let new enemies into your life and not being afraid of creating enemies as you work to achieve your goals.
Look—there are always going to be people working against you.
The harder you work and the better your reputation becomes, the more other people are going to try to tear it down.
Only fools choose to wear rose-colored glasses and not prepare for their enemies.
You must be smarter than this.
You must prepare for the resistance that will grow as you get closer and closer to leaving a lasting legacy.
Prepare your mind and manage your expectations.
Understand that the path ahead will not be easy and that others will fight you.
Don’t care too much about what other people think or say.
This will keep you from getting stuck and keep you on track no matter how many enemies attack you.
2. Rule over your emotions.
Your emotions can be a great weapon.
A perfect tool to utilize when the situation calls for it.
But you need to know which emotions suit the situation you’re in.
Most people are controlled by their emotions.
Most people let their subconscious minds tell them when to be happy, when to be angry, and when to be frustrated.
They’ll get held back by feelings of guilt when they could easily recognize how useless guilt is.
They’re afraid when they should be angry. They cower in a corner instead of fighting for what they believe in.
Or they’re angry, but at the wrong things, blaming others for their own misery and mistakes.
If you want to leave a legacy in life, you must learn to choose your emotions.
You must refuse to be ruled by something as basic as hormones flooding your brain.
Instead of being ruled by your emotions, use them to your advantage.
Learn to recognize that anger directed in the right direction can motivate you to work harder and faster to achieve what you want.
Recognize that the only thing worth fearing is giving up on your dreams.
Controlling your emotions doesn’t mean refusing to feel.
It doesn’t mean negating your emotions.
Instead, it means channeling your emotions.
When someone tries to make you feel guilty, channel your feelings towards finding solutions, not feeling sorry for yourself.
When someone baits you into getting angry and becoming unhinged, channel your energy into working on a personal project.
By channeling your emotions effectively, by knowing yourself in full, you’ll stay on track.
You’ll build a strong reputation as someone who is in control and self-directed—someone worth remembering.
3. Sharpen your skills through exposure.
The best training isn’t simulation.
If you want to build a strong reputation, you need to take risks.
You need to confront scenarios and situations that are completely new to you.
Only by allowing yourself to get into situations that you’ve never dealt with before, with little to no help from anyone, will you force yourself to be self-reliant.
The reward for this isn’t only a well-earned boost in pride, but also an improved mental toughness and fortitude.
Average people with average problems are not remembered.
Instead, these people are forgotten.
Their weak, small-minded goals are forgotten too.
Adventurous people are remembered.
People who challenge the status quo.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, strong reputations are built on nearly destroyed reputations.
The only way to build a strong reputation is to constantly challenge it.
You have to beat it up, take risks, look stupid, feel shame, and then overcome.
No one else can do this for you.
You have to throw yourself into the middle of adversity and sharpen your skills in combat, not on the sidelines.
Expose yourself to challenges again and again until you have mastered strategies for overcoming any challenge.
Mastery is the gateway to legacy but it comes at the price of exposure.
4. Make your environment a product of you.
No plan survives contact with the enemy.
In other words, no plan is perfect.
No plan will remain 100% intact after confronting the reality of manipulative people, surprise circumstances, and unseen obstacles.
The road towards building a legacy is long and hard, and you’ll stumble, fall and fail along the way.
You’ll fall because you can’t see everything in advance.
No matter how much you plan, there will be surprises.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Opposition might be harsher than you expected, or you might discover situations you had no idea existed.
The only way to prevent this is to plan far ahead while staying flexible in the moment.
You must work tirelessly to not only understand your environment and adapt to it, but to take hold of it and mold it to your liking.
You must enter into every situation with an understanding of the worst-case scenario, as well as a plan of attack for the worse-case scenario.
At the same time, you must be willing to take relentless action forward.
You must keep your mind and your actions positive and productive.
You must adapt your environment to your will.
Of course, it won’t always be easy to keep moving forward.
You’ll want to quit at times, because it’s too hard or too painful or too uncertain.
But, if you keep your goal in mind, if you stay true to the reputation and legacy you’re building, you will succeed.
All opposition is meant to be overcome.
You were meant to overcome your obstacles in life.
You were meant to be remembered for your greatness, not for your struggles.
Your reputation and your legacy are stronger than any challenge you will ever face.
5. Refuse to stay satisfied.
Satisfaction is the first sign of decline.
Satisfied people are no longer hungry.
They’ve had their fill of life and of growth.
As a result, these people have no desire to grow anymore, they have no desire to fight.
Celebrating a win is one thing.
Resting on success like a stuffed pig is another.
You should never be so pleased with yourself that you stop pushing yourself forward.
You should never be so content that you let yourself enter the land of ‘good enough.’
Instead, you should always be a little uncomfortable, a little restless, a little unsettled.
What you’re fighting for in life is NOT ‘good enough.’
No, what you’re fighting for is greatness.
You’re fighting for a life of true independence and true freedom.
You’re fighting for an adventurous life where you can give freely to others.
A life where other people recognize your value quickly and where you recognize the value in others quickly.
A life where you have the power to stand up for yourself and what you believe in and actually do something about it.
You were meant to have a strong reputation that precedes you.
You were meant to leave a legacy after you’re gone.
But it doesn’t come easy.
It takes work, grit, knowledge, awareness, and mastery.
Building a strong reputation and leaving a legacy in life is not easy. The key is realizing what you’re working for—a form of immortality. Everyone wants to be remembered but few people want to do the necessary work of crafting a reputation and a legacy. Few people want to face the fact that they have enemies and will meet new enemies in the future. Few people want to work on themselves, work on their emotions, or work to change their environment. You can be different but you must be willing to get uncomfortable. You must be willing to plan ahead and to take flexible, positive and productive action. Do this and you’ll live a more confident and focused life. Until next time, live like a lion.
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