Want to be Great? Here are Alexander the Great’s Secrets to Success

When you think of the word great, who comes to mind?

Throughout history there have been hundreds of noteworthy individuals that you could rattle off. But how many of them actually have the word great in their name?

To be remembered for eternity as someone who is great, you either need to be the best at what you do or to have a great publicist. Alexander the Great fits both profiles. Not surprisingly then, many historians argue that Alexander the Great was one of the most influential figures in world history ever. Not only was he an unbelievable general, he was also a philosopher and cultural diffuser. Europe, the Middle East, parts of Africa, and as far away as India were all heavily influenced by his conquests.

The best part? He accomplished all of this by the age of 32.

Other contenders for the greatest person in world history admired him. Julius Caesar is quoted as saying:

“I have not just cause to weep, when I consider that Alexander at my age had conquered so many nations, and I have all this time done nothing that is memorable?”

In this post, we are going to examine some famous quotes by Alexander himself. Each quote provides valuable insight into what set him apart from most people throughout time. By taking his advice, we can excel in our lives.

Do Your Best

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”

Before Alexander the Great, no one had ever conquered and ruled the entire known world. His father Philip, a great man in his own right, had the exact same army and united Greece, but never got as far as his son. This was no small feat, but it wasn’t until Alexander tried the unthinkable that the seemingly impossible happened. Today, most people know who Alexander the Great is, but few probably know of his father.

So many people I know give up before they even start. The only thing that guarantees is failure. With effort put behind any undertaking, amazing things can happen. One of my friends is the founder of a gym. When I was talking to John about getting started, he revealed that he had no money and wasn’t sure how to run a gym. 

What he did have was a strong work ethic and motivation.

John was able to get funding from a wealthy man he knew who served as his mentor. The gentleman believed in John’s vision and knew that he could realize it with capital. Another key ingredient was finding someone who knew how to run a gym, he came across a man who ran AAU and other basketball programs throughout Boston and made him his partner. He didn’t let anything get in his way, he just kept working. Now, his gym is profitable and runs smoothly without his presence. It didn’t cost him anything to try.

Leadership is Everything

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”

The Persian army was larger than Alexander’s army. Persia was also considered the most powerful nation in the world. Their rulers were actually called the “King of Kings” because they were so powerful. So how did he defeat them?

When Alexander arrived in Persia (the modern Middle East), he disbanded his entire fleet. This sent the message that the Macedonians (Greeks) needed to win the war or die trying. His men believed in him and respected the fact that he was willing to die by their sides. He even wore a helmet that drew attention to him on the battlefield, so that enemies would come after him–no one could doubt his bravery and people literally followed him to the end of the Earth because of it. 

He was a lion.

Regardless of whether you’re the CEO of Apple, a teacher, or a parent you can be a leader. In order to be a successful leader, you need to be able to inspire the people around you, like Alexander did. Although he’s not a CEO, I had a great football coach that led by example. During Summer double sessions, he would work out the entire time with us. He would break down film, then physically show you exactly what he wanted you to do. During his tenure as head coach, we had success on and off the field. People were willing to do anything for him because he led from the front.

How can you be a leader in your life?

The Way You Carry Yourself Matters

“How should a man be capable of grooming his own horse, or of furbishing his own spear and helmet, if he allows himself to become unaccustomed to tending even his own person, which is his most treasured belonging?”

Ask anyone who has ever served in the military and they will tell you that appearance is everything. You need to be clean cut, make your bed, and all that good stuff. Alexander the Great was no different as a general. He believed that the way you carried yourself was a matter of personal pride. People who respect themselves internally reflect it outwards with appearance.

Without ever speaking to someone, you can tell a lot about them by the way they dress. Imagine going to a networking event and seeing someone in a sweatsuit. Are you going to talk to him or the person with a suit on? No-brainer.

Even if the other person was a genius, the way that they present themselves is an indicator of self respect, it also shows that you care. Another man who strongly believed that the way you dress reflected performance, his name was Napoleon Hill. In the Laws of Success, he mentioned running into someone looking to be saved and mentored. Hill suggested that the man buy a new suit, even if he had to borrow the money to do so. His argument was that no man will respect someone who doesn’t first respect themselves. If we want to demand respect from others and build confidence in ourselves, we need to look the part. All it takes is a little effort.

Final Thoughts

A surefire way to become great is to learn from the best. Listening to Alexander the Great’s wisdom will put you in position to do what few before you have done. Stay focused and keep working!