Saturday, June 21, 2014

It is grace and poise that give us the opportunity to deploy our skills reliably...

War and combat is filled with stories of men (and women) snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Impossible circumstances, unfavorable odds, somehow they still lead to almost miraculous triumphs. The trait that make this possible and how it can be applied to life, across disciplines is one philosophy—battle tested at the front—that shows us the way-Stoicism. Best articulated by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (who spent 17 years of a 19-year reign at war) with the simple line:
 “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” 
A parade of military legends followed his example. They all figured out how to turn obstacles upside down—how to turn what was in the path, into the path.
During the American Civil War, Union troops were unloading a steamboat near Union headquarters outside Richmond when it suddenly exploded. Everyone hit the dirt as debris and shells and even bodies rained down—everyone but Ulysses S. Grant who, as the leader of the Union forces, was seen running toward the scene of the explosion.