Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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Ancient Greece: Concord to Chaos

Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 31, 2012


Greeks & Persians at Marathon

Here is some research I am doing on the ancient Greeks and their love of freedom. How a small band of freedom-loving people stood and conquered the mighty Persian empire only to destroy one another in bloody civil wars is one of the keys to political science. In fact, the Five Laws of Decline (FLD), which I teach in my Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, predict the downfall of the Greeks.  The goal of the LIFE business is to prohibit the growth of the FLD through a performance-based culture where no special deals are allowed. Everyone is paid as they perform—period!

Harry Truman once said, “There is nothing new under the sun, only the history you do not know.” One of our goals in LIFE is to learn and apply the lessons of history so we don’t repeat its mistakes. Enjoy the article and please share how you avoid the growth of the Five Laws of Decline in your company.


Orrin Woodward

In 481 BC, 10,000 Athenian warriors at Marathon blocked a Persian army rumored to be over 100,000 strong. Indeed, the Persians were the conquering force of the ancient world, having amassed an empire that included modern day Iran, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, and many more. In contrast, the entire Greek peninsula and islands added together are about 2/3 the size of Portugal. Moreover, the Persians were believed to be invincible in military expeditions, having recently conquered the Ionian Greeks (on the western tip of modern day Turkey) before invading the Greek mainland. In fact, no Greek state had successfully withstood the advance of Persia and many of the mainland Greek states had succumbed to the “earth and water” tribute demanded by Persia signifying Greek subjection to the Persian King. Nonetheless, the Athenian hoplites marched over 26 miles to the plains of Marathon to defend their precious freedoms from Persian tyranny while their families awaited word in Athens.

The ancient Greeks are unique when compared to the Asian people of Persia and Egypt. In truth, the “earth and water” demanded by the Persian King wasn’t entirely unpalatable, allowing the Greeks to live peacefully if they paid their tax tribute and provided military help when the Persian King desired to conquer more territory. While many races and countries chose enslavement and peace, the Greeks, led by Sparta and Athens, chose liberty or death. Politically, because of the unique geography of Greece – no navigable rivers and mountains physically separating communities – instead of one national government ruling over smaller units of sovereignty, Greece consisted of numerous city-state sovereignties that confederated together for defense, religious ceremonies, and sporting competitions. While the rest of the world worshiped God-like kings, surrendering their freedoms like ants within a colony. The Greeks, who lived too close to their kings to be fooled, pledged loyalty instead to their cities and structured monarchies, aristocracies, or even democracies for the benefit of the polis, not the political leader. By separating their religion from their King, the Greeks began to see each other as equals before the city-state’s laws, not serfs before God’s regent on earth. The effect of this revolutionary mindset is what led the Athenian’s to fight at Marathon. In other words, they valued their freedoms more than they valued living under slavery.

The Athenian Greeks defeated the Persians on the plains of Marathon, thanks to the courageous leadership of Miltiades.  Several years later, the Greeks confederation defeated the Persians again in the naval battle at Salamis, capitalizing on the leadership strategy of another Athenian hero, Themistocles. Rarely, does one find a people like the Athenians, who willingly surrendered their city to Persian destruction, taking the citizens to the island of Salamis and the men into the ships to defend their city-less country. The Greeks didn’t just speak about the value of freedom; they lived it out in their lives. With the final defeat of the Persians on the Boetian plains, led by the Spartan King Pausanius, the Greeks were finally safe from Persian tyranny. Freedom loving people conquered against overwhelming odds thanks to great courage, leadership, and strategy. But this happy story doesn’t end so well. The Greeks, who had so bravely united to defend Greece, ended up destroying one another in a series of fratricidal wars that left mainland Greece exhausted and vulnerable to Macedonian empire building.

What went wrong? How could a people who valued freedom so highly destroy one another, consequently, losing their freedom? The answer is the Five Laws of Decline. The Greeks were the first people to quest after political concord. History has proven concord is a difficult objective since it lies between the Scylla and Charybdis, rocks of chaos on one side and coercion on the other. Before Greece, the history of human civilization is a litany of kings using absolute power to enforce obedient submission of his subjects or lack of absolute power creating chaos and war until a King built enough power to rule his subjects again. Accordingly, in studying the Greek failures, keep in mind that, in the history of the West, this was the first community to attempt a political solution of concord between chaos and coercion. With no historical precedents before them, the Greeks sailed blindly into uncharted seas, confident that they could solve human civilization’s dilemma. After all, hadn’t they just defeated an alleged invincible power and displayed a fierce defense of freedom and all it entails?

44 Responses to “Ancient Greece: Concord to Chaos”

  1. Orrin!
    There doesn’t seem to be so many people that are fighting the FLD, quite like you. It is inspiring! Thanks for sharing what you have been studying. Proud to be in the battle with you!

  2. John Mossner said

    I love how you bring history to life through your talks and writings, making people think of how we can learn from it. I read about this battle in the book Fifteen Decisive Battles of the Western World. It is the first battle discussed. Fascinating stuff. There’s supposedly a mound of earth still visible that was erected over the buried Athenians on the battlefield.

  3. Steve Duba said

    Thanks Orrin.We find(Jan and I)that the little things we have done on a consistant basis have helped tremendously.Turning off
    the T V over one year ago,reading daily both scripture and system books and putting positive in has made all the difference.
    Thank you for leading the charge.God Bless

  4. Michael Hartmann said

    It’s amazing how similar the founding & formation of the United States was to the historical amazing performance and subsequent poor choices of the Greek state communities. With the external motivation of a common foe, the New England colonists united and over threw the most dominant military force in the 18th century. Yet, as soon as independence was achieved, the people divided into multiple political parties very rarely agreeing on anything unless forced to do so during introduction and rise of other common threats. I can only attribute this tendency as an outward expression of our fallen human nature which requires clear, urgent and extreme motivation to formally choose to die to self for the betterment of the entire community.

    Great article and thanks for sharing! I’m proud to be in the trenches of LIFE’s quest to combat the FLD’s. May we each play our roles well.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Mike, this is one of the opening chapters of a new book I am working on that explains just that, starting with the Greeks, moving to the Romans, and then comparing with the Americans during revolutionary period, concluding, finally, with the Constitution. You picked up on it with just a brief article. Impressive! thanks, Orrin

      • Michael Hartmann said

        What’s impressive is the LIFE-TEAM education which has provided whatever little I actually know about the subject. I can clearly hear Chris Brady’s voice describe our fore-fathers unification against England and then their immediate separation once our nation was birthed. To quote George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

        Thanks for the feedback – It goes right to my fuel tank!

      • Derrick Knoff said

        Cool! A book about this will be fantastic, Orrin! Michael, thanks for the perspective!

      • Awesome news! Orrin, is this the book you’re partnering on with Oliver DeMille, or another? 🙂

  5. Tammy Darling said

    Thanks for posting such thought provoking articles!! Thank you for all you do & are doing!!!

  6. Keith Sieracki said

    “Freedom loving people conquered against overwhelming odds thanks to great courage, leadership, and strategy”….sounds like a great storyline. Oh wait, thats the story that LIFE members are writing today!! Keep learning! Great article Orrin!

  7. Heather Mansel said

    History, a subject I fell asleep in while in high school and college. Today, history is truth revealed for me. A subject I now understand to be the treasure trove to life moving forward. Slowly, I uncover the art of mining for insight to a better me and a new hope for a better world. Our future is impacted by the strategized strikes into the bedrock of our past, often forgotten and buried in our earth that wants to hide truth.

    As the world works to cover, press, harden and hide….the truth that lies within is only pressed to a more beautiful discovery, waiting to be tapped into, studied, and cut with new facets to catch more light. If we stand on rock and dig through the historical layers of it, we will find great treasure. If we stand on the comfort of sand searching by happenstance, we will find simple treasures of small coins and metal, small ideas that really bring no “change”.

    Thank you Orrin for sharing your passion for history and helping our readers and fellow miners uncover a new Hope for a sparkling future! A very well read article. I look forward to more.

  8. Holger said


    Thank you for your time to research and write this article. History is a great teacher but only if you know it. Unlike what many people believe and live their lives by, that the human race is constantly progressing forward and always getting better and there is, therefore, no need to know history, let alone, learn from it, people like you give us insights that bring clarity through truth that inspires us to think. There are certainly a lot of parallels between ancient Greece and modern day America. I trust that, by God’s grace, we can wake up enough Americans again to start thinking for themselves instead of being programmed by the national news media what to think.

    Thank you again!!


  9. Thank you Orrin for sharing the history to inspire us to fight for freedom, not blindly, but by learning lessons from the past to avoid making the same mistakes! That freedom ring in the hearts of the LIFE Team!

    • Matt Mielke said

      Thanks Orrin. This might be the only place that publically discusses history in order to make sense of the present. Now if there was only a community, with the power behind social networking, that can get out this message for all to learn and grow 😉

  10. Orrin I want to thank you for the reminder. That if we don’t develop great leaders history will repeat itself. It scares me how Americans take their freedom for granted.

  11. Bob Rasmussen said

    Thanks Orrin! I love learning about underdog victories like the Greeks and our founding fathers. Your insights are valuable for us all. We plan to continue our work of educating first ourselves and then our families and our communities and eventually this country to avoid the mistakes of our history and make change happen from the bottom up! Your tireless pursuit of education and servant leadership are just what the doctor ordered for our future! God Bless

    • Steve Leurquin said

      Educating ourselves is so key. It is amazing the change that occurs when a group of people are not taught what to think, but how to think. With this education, as you have said Bob, one can then know why an idea is right or wrong rather than going along blindly. Great article Orrin and nice insights Bob.
      Steve Leurquin

  12. Tim Samuels said

    Great article Orrin! It makes me think how little difference there is between the trials of today and the struggles of the past.

  13. I love the info!! Keep it coming!!

  14. Chad Sutkay said

    Orrin, so thankfull to have an arena to learn freedom principles and an environment to apply them in.
    God Bless,

  15. Cassie Morgan said

    Thanks Orrin for the great reminder. I think it is crazy to see how our society is so similar to the past.

  16. Nora Suttner said

    Thanks, Orrin, for helping to instill a love of history into my life. All throughout school, I hated history and didn’t think it had a place. Through the LIFE materials, I have learned that I need to learn about history to understand what is going on now in the present.

  17. jimmy varghese said


    Orrin, great article. We are definitely fighting a war in the USA and the rest of the world and its called ignorance! I constantly make it a point to remind people who are in my business and new people that there is a fight taking place for our freedom and the only way to win it is to develop yourself and intellect to the fullest capability possible.

    I am proud to be in this fight with you and the rest of the LIFE TEAM!!!!

  18. Jeremy Arena said

    Awesome post! I love the way the leaders of the TEAM bring history to life. This made me think of Oliver Demille’s concept of the freedom shift, how the culture is so so important for a community to live on. If the culture starts to decline, then the FLD start to be seen. It is time to start reading sensus plenior and raising up strong entrepreneurs 🙂 I’m proud to be part of the leadership revolution with LIFE! Thanks Orrin!

  19. Kirk Porter said

    Awesome Blog!!!!

  20. Tennyson Heen said

    Wow, an appetizer to delve deeper into the subject. A band of people uniting together for a common cause and defeating the enemy against tremendous odds. Parallels in values of family and freedom for the individual not to be under the yoke of a king or monarchy.
    Today, the “peace” we have in our country, but so many subgroups in disagreement over so much. We forget that democracy is a majority rules, system.
    We have gotten away from being a “republic”, it was a Greek democracy, followed by a Roman democracy that fell from with in. The senates and ruling people of those eras had lost touch with their populace, kind of similar to what’s happening today.
    It’s good to be part of TEAM and LIFE, hanging out with other people who’s eyes are wide open and keeping truths and right principles in the forefront.
    Thanks again Orrin, enjoy reading what you have to write and share.


    • Tennyson,

      I am so proud of you. Over the last few months you have not only grown your business but to see how much you have grown in your personal life by applying the success principles being taught in the LIFE/TEAM and constantly working on keeping the FLD’s at bay. Proud of you and Cheryl. God bless you.

      Orrin, The bible talks about being transformed by the renewal of mind. So transformation cannot happen without the renewal of mind. Having lived and embraced multiple cultures in my short life, I see this innate need in humans to renew their mind because God has planted that desire in us. The issue is we cannot renew our mind outside the scope of God’s word, I guess we can but it pushes us to the realm of ‘self’ whereas adherence to God’s word pushes to the realm of ‘dying to self’. We see birth of so many idealogies and beliefs as demonstrated in all the history completely satisfying this desire to be renewed but giving birth to generations that have swayed away from truth of word of God. The peace around all this is that nothing happens without first passing through His hands. But He also said ‘occupy’ until His return in Revelations. So we need to fight. Thank you for leading that fight. God bless you.

      –thank you

  21. Kevin Hamm said


    Great article. I will attempt to briefly answer your questions on how I have avoided the growth of the five laws of decline in my business. In 2007 when I became associated with the Team organization, my service company was nearing the point of collapse due to the 5 laws of decline. During the next 5 years, the same time frame, ironically, that you were developing the material for your book Resolved, I implemented the following things that I learned through, and as a result of your teaching. I stopped using employees (the 90%) and began using contracted entrepreneurs (the 10%) in order to overcome Sturgeons law. I compensated these entrepreneurs by paying them a straight percentage of each contract to overcome Bastiat’s law. The harder we worked, the more we got paid. I stopped utilizing credit, which made me appear to have assets that in truth, were only liabilities. This overcame a form of Gresham’s law that had crippled the solvency of my company. I maximized income and minimized expenses, making decisions based upon profit not comfort, which overcame the law of diminishing returns. Finally, the colossal impact of the life changing information that became your book Resolved completely reversed the inertia of negative current in my company. In two more years, I believe the company will be functioning on franchise principles without my direct involvement, freeing me to fully pursue my purpose by leveraging the LIFE system to impact both this world and the one to come. Thank you Orrin for such solid teaching. It has been effective in ways I am sure you didn’t foresee. What we do always reaches farther than we know.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Well Said Kevin! I am not shocked you wiped out your business debt by understanding and blocking the FLD. thanks, Orrin

  22. wayne mac namara said


    Thanks for the great article. Freedom loving people are an uncontrollable force when united with a common vision. Claude often mentions when we fight our battles that the only way we lose is from within. As a group of unified warriors fighting the Good Fight we most always be aware of the battles that rage within. We appreciate your leadership Orrin, thank you.

  23. Joseph Keller said

    Thanks for the insite I now find that I love history lessons Orrin for we truly can learn from history especially when we have the right teachers. For as Oliver DeMile told us a small group can make the difference just as your lates history lesson shown us. Thanks for the post looking forward to the next.

  24. Chris Schill said

    O, great article and perspective. I love the quote by Truman as it rings so true…. “There is nothing new under the sun, only the history you do not know.” Through a desire to learn and grow, we can stem the tide of decline by learning the examples of history like this! Thanks again and keep them coming, I know there’s lots more for us to learn!!

    Appreciate you tons!

  25. Derrick Knoff said

    Great article Orrin! I loved the talk you gave on the subject as well. We will combat the FLD in our country and achieve freedom on all four fronts!

    Red Eagles

  26. Bob Pollock said

    This is a fabulous article. You can also make a case that the fall of the Greek and Roman Empires included over taxation and moral corruption. If our elected officials knew a little history, they could see the path where we’re being led.

    Thank goodness for Orrin Woodward and LIFE.


    • Orrin Woodward said

      Bob, You got it. Over taxation and corruption are definitely part of the Five Laws of Decline. thanks, Orrin

  27. Cody said

    Thanks for reading extensively to help other leaders learn. This was my first understanding of the ancient Greeks

  28. Renee Oettinger said

    Thanks Orrin. This is the history that need to be taught in schools, both high school and business schools.

  29. robert wilcox said

    Wow! Phenomenal History lesson here! Thanks Orrin! Soo many lessons in one dealing with the battle for Freedom then to lose it due to the FLD. I wonder how much humility had to do with it all … Pride comes before the fall. Thanks for sharing another History lesson and clearing up a number of issues in my lack of understanding the rise and fall 🙂

  30. Thanks Orrin, great article!!!!

  31. Kirk Porter said

    Great post!!!!!!

  32. Truly insightful. I loved Chapter 13 of ‘Resolved’ & both of the CDs which tied to it – yours, Orrin, and Tim’s (latter from the ‘Booster’ pack). I had heard of FLD #1 from being on my self-directed/liber education journey, and knew of FLD’s #4 & #5 from elsewhere, however, FLD’s #2 and #3 were completely new to me.
    Putting all five together and then seeing them applied to actual history, as in this post & in the book is like turning a laser beam on; the illumination is beyond bright, it’s also instructive to those of us who know/knew something is amiss in the West, yet couldn’t pinpoint the root cause(s). We surely can now, and it’s definitely not too late to do something that the politicians, the media, and the aristocracy won’t.

  33. Peter Finlay said

    “The Greeks, the Persians will defeat” – the original two way bet. I love this history.

    Thank you Orrin.



    I am constantly amazed at how being in your organization reminds me so much of being in my college classes listening to the “wise” professors. The subject matter is much better because most of the dribble I heard in school was insignificant facts and little in terms of application to life, itself.
    This was many years ago, but it was one of the primary reasons the last 2 1/2 years of school I did independent study, where a few of us developed our own curriculum.
    This is almost exactly the model of LIFE. We receive a blessing in terms of educational materials available to us, that we can apply or not to the areas of our life which mean the most to us at that time. No one has to sit in class, but we do it on our own, because we want to do if for ourselves at our own pace, and for our own reasons.
    Orrin, I sincerely believe that God has given us this program so that many people will be able to use the lessons and principals and change the direction of their lives and families and communities and perhaps even our nation.
    Unlike the Greeks, we are unified in our purpose to save ourselves and the nation before it is too late. Without arrogance, and greed, and pride, we humble ourselves to reach out to anyone who is willing to be led by people like you and the PC down the right path.
    What an opportunity LIFE offers all of us.
    I do not believe it is too late for America and Canada. But I do believe without the LIFE opportunity there isn’t another choice close to LIFE.

    Thank you, Orrin and the Policy Council for a once in a million opportunity.

  35. Hunting.Targ said

    “…separating their religion from their [political] King…”

    Provocative, and quite telling.

    I think Holger’s comment gets right to the heart of the problem with and of history. Each age sees itself in a golden light, the warm, shining sunbeam of the present, and the past as a kind of cultural underworld, where spent cultures and ideas are laid to rest. Our (post)modern age suffers acutely from what my favorite author termed “chronological snobbery”, the prejudice that whatever is in the past is inferior to what is going on now. I think this is nothing but a byproduct of our own mental myopia, our flagging ability as a culture and a civilization to see beyond ourselves to the wonders and glories of the past, some of which still stand in testament today.
    From my perspective, LIFE isn’t just about fixing our own temporal and immediate problems – it is about repairing and ordering our own individual lives so that we can serve in the greater cause of rescuing and healing civilization before we, too, become just another part of history.

    Keep going…

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