When we get antsy, we stop what we’re doing. When we are unsure, we grind to a halt. In Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, there’s a great speech given by King Leonidas to his generals before the night of The Battle of Thermopylae (the movie 300 also covers this, kind of). Here are just a few excerpts from the speech:
“Keep your men busy. If there is no work, make it up , for when soldiers have time to talk, their talk turns to fear. Action, on the other hand, produces the appetite for more action.”
From here, you get to understand why King Leonidas gives his instructions as such. This is his state of mind.
War is work, not mystery. The king confined his instructions to the practical, prescribing actions which could be taken physically, rather than seeking to produce a state of mind, which he knew would evaporate as soon as the commanders dispersed beyond the fortifying light of the king’s fire.
“Look to your grooming, gentlemen. Keep your hair, hands and feet clean. Eat , if you have to choke it down. Sleep, or pretend to. Don’t let your men see you toss. If bad news comes, relay it first to those in grade above you, never directly to your men. Instruct your squires to buff each man’s aspis to its most brilliant sheen. I want to see shields flashing like mirrors, for this sight strikes terror into the enemy. Leave time for your men to sharpen their spears, for he who whets his steel whets his courage.”
War is Work, Not Mystery
When you are feeling down about your business, get to work. When you are feeling down about your life, get to work. Whatever needs changing in this world, whatever needs a whole new view of the situation, whatever feels insurmountable, the answers are all in your work. Do the work.
My Webinar Is About This
Tuesday the 26th, I’m hosting a live webinar (yes, it will be recorded). If you want to learn about the work you most need to do to win your game, then read more here.
And if you want to read this great work by my friend, Steven Pressfield, get it here.