The Wisdom of History

Timeless Lessons
from the Legends

Distilled into Practical
Strategies, Tactics,
and Tools

Wisdom and Insights...
from the Heroes of History

When Senator John F. Kennedy was running for president in 1960, he repeatedly promised to “get America moving again.” The morning after his inauguration a small, jubilant group of his closest staff met in the Oval Office to celebrate his victory. The staff soon departed leaving President Kennedy alone.

Within minutes, Kennedy picked up the phone and called his aide, Ralph Dungan, back into the Oval Office. When Dungan hesitantly reentered, a wide grin spread across Kennedy’s face as he asked: “What do I do now?“

It’s a question we all ask ourselves at times—even if you’re the guy in the most powerful office in the world, even if you’re JFK.

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”

"Keep this constantly in mind," wrote the great American personal development author. "Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat!"
–Napoleon Hill

“Do what you can,
with what you have,
where you are.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

We all want more out of life. Most everyone wants to do more, achieve more, and become more. The problem is most people don’t know what to do to get what they want, or they don’t know how to do it. Sadly, some people don’t even know what they want—at least not with any real clarity or conviction.

What about you? Chances are you are nowhere near where you really want to be, right? Based on the science of human potential, you’re more than likely nowhere near where you could be either.

The longer you wait to take action, however, the more opportunities you miss, the further behind you fall, and the less likely you are to act. So, why wait? As Theodore Roosevelt often said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

“You may delay,
but time will not.”
–Benjamin Franklin,
Poor Richard’s Almanac

The secret is to seize the initiative. “Get Action,” Theodore Roosevelt liked to say. “Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.” Looking back on his life, Roosevelt wrote in his autobiography, “I never won anything without hard labor, and the exercise of my best judgment and careful planning and working long in advance.” His advice for us? “Don’t fritter away your time. Create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody. Get action!”

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing."
–Abraham Lincoln

The reality is there is a great deal that you can do right now, right where you are. In fact, there are people just like you who are making things happen, and getting things done—remarkable things—on a regular and consistent basis.

This has always been the case. Throughout history we can see that some people—people who do not necessarily have any greater natural talent, intelligence or capacity—are able to make things happen and get things done.

Sometimes the most ordinary individuals, from the most obscure backgrounds, facing any number of seemingly insurmountable obstacles are able to soar to the greatest heights of society.

What is it about these people? What is their secret? What do they know, think or do that escapes the notice of the vast majority?

"Whoever wishes to foresee
the future must consult the past."
–Niccolò Machiavelli

The fact of the matter is that there are differences. These people have different beliefs. They operate under different assumptions. And they think, see and do things differently.

We know this because, as Anthony Robbins often says, “success leaves clues.” Virtually anyone can do what needs to be done to succeed, once you know what and how to do it. “If you want to achieve success, all you need to do is find a way to model those who have already succeeded.”

As the Italian Renaissance politician, political theorist, and writer Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, “Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.”

“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”
–Abraham Lincoln

"Study history, study history—
in history lie all the secrets…"
—Winston Churchill (1874—1965)

This is why history is so important. This is why the biographies and autobiographies of the great men and women of the world are such a rich resource, a treasure trove of wisdom and insight for those who are determined to make their own way to the mountaintop.
“Learn all you can about the history of the past, for how else can one even make a guess at what is going to happen in the future?”

–Winston Churchill, in a letter to his grandson.

Classic Influence Podcast_Timeless Lessons from the Legends of Leadership, Influence, Power, and Sway

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