Nine quotes by the greatest conqueror of perseverance, self-confidence, and modesty
Machiavelli, a conspiratorial, ambitious and ruthless leader, is at one end. Cyrus the Great, humble, generous, loyal, is at the other end of the leadership spectrum. There is an unnamed leader and inspiration from the great range of leaders, which can be found in speeches, economics books, and anecdotes. He is Genghis Khan. It is difficult to learn anything about Genghis Khan, a man so evil, mean, and bloody.
We think so because of the efforts they made to end their influence. (For example, Khan’s Mongolian homeland was looted by the USSR and his name was banned from being mentioned. Here I am to tell you that Genghis Khan is a great example of leadership and effective execution. Nearly everything we know about him is incorrect.
For those who are unfamiliar with the figure: he abrogated torture, supported religious freedom, united disparate tribals, hated the privileges granted to the aristocracy and ruled their kingdoms on meritocracy. He loved knowledge and anticipating the rights of women in society. Mongolian. He was also the greatest conqueror of all time and general, governing a country that covered almost 31 million kilometers. This kingdom remained divided for nearly seven centuries. (It was the US forces who captured Baghdad. They were the first invaders to take the city after Khan.
Yes, he was warlike and violent, but not in his name. The Mongols didn’t believe that they could win by fighting alone. They set their sights on victory and did everything necessary to get there. But, they also made it their mission to work with the same intensity to make peace. Khan, surrounded by his loved ones, died young and violently while others conquerors did the same.
His great mission was simple and bold. He wanted to unite all of the world’s territories into one empire. He said that the call came from above and that the obligations imposed upon him were also great. Let’s take Jack Weatherford’s biography Genghis Khan and The Building of the Modern World to guide us. We’ll see how Khan accomplished his great mission and what his obligations were.
“Personal honor in battle is what matters to the Mongol warrior.” Genghis Khan says that there is no cause for concern until the battle is over.
“When it was hot, we got through it together. When it was cold, it got over us together.”
“A leader cannot be happy until his people feel happy.”
“Unity in goal is a fortune for affliction.”
“There is no greater ally than wisdom from your heart. You are the most secure person you can trust. While there are many people who can assist you, your conscience is the only one that can truly be your guide. While you may long for many things in life, your own life is the most valuable.
He explained that pride was more powerful than a wild lion and that it is the predominance. He said, “If you don’t take your pride in the face, you won’t be able to lead.”
“I don’t like luxury. I practice restraint… It’s easy to forget your goals, your future prospects, and your dreams when you are dressed in elegant clothes, have beautiful women, and have fast horses. In that situation, you’ll be nothing but a slave. The best thing is to lose everything.
“A people must be conquered in different areas of the lake to be ruled in other parts.”
“The vision of the future must not be diverted from the teachings and traditions of the elders. The worn-out tunic is more comfortable and fits well. He can survive the hardships of the field, while the new one is quickly torn.
Weatherford writes that Khan did not learn these leadership principles as part of his princely education. He was born in poverty and illiterate in a war-torn world. He became a Khan.
He did not reach a pivotal moment in his career when he suddenly possessed his genius as an ace warrior, his ability inspire loyalty in his followers or his extraordinary ability to organize the world. This all did not happen from an epiphanic illustration, or from formal academic training. It was a continuous cycle pragmatic learning, an experimentation and constant supervision motivated by his extremely disciplined mind and focused desire.
It is possible to do the same. We can even do it by looking at the example of someone who might initially make us feel uncomfortable. Genghis Khan is a notorious brute looter who was ruthless to men, women and children. But he was intentional. Khan spread rumors about his atrocities in order to get the cooperation and surrender of those who would otherwise resist. We can still learn from Khan’s loyalty, understanding of others, and ability to bring about change.