Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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    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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Viriathus: Principles & Perfidy

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 20, 2012

I am now studying the Romans and discovered this gem of history that I hadn’t read, or at least remembered, before. This is one of the things I love most about the LIFE Business – the ability to study and grow, not just for myself, but to help others. The LIFE Founders and its community are constantly reading, listening, and associating to learn and grow. In this way, they can share what they learned with others to help everyone in the community improve. In my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I teach on the importance of the PDCA process to constantly improve one’s skills. This PDCA process is being applied by so many in the LIFE Community, that lives are being changed daily. I sure am glad that nearly twenty years ago, Chris Brady, George Guzzardo, and I committed to stay the course and learn to build communities. Who could have known that, through that effort, we now enjoy the LIFE Business. Here is my version of powerful life story of Viriathus.


Orrin Woodward

In 160 BC, the the Roman praetor of Spain, Servius Sulspicius Galba, negotiated a peaceful surrender of 7,000 Lusitaninan (modern day Portugal) warriors. After disarming them, Galba ordered his soldiers to massacre the helpless men. Nearly all the Lusitanians died, but a few, including Viriathus, escaped into the woods. Through his bravery and first-hand account of the Romans misdeeds, Viriathus was chosen leader of his countrymen in the revolt against Roman rule of the their homeland. Galba sent the Roman commander Vetilius to capture the rebels, but Virathus had a surprise for his unsuspecting opponent. He lured the army further and further into the mountains, cut off their escape, and cut the Roman army to pieces.

Another Roman army of 4,000 men, shortly afterwards received the same treatment from the brilliant Viriathus and his desperate Lusitanian army. Indeed, for three years the Lusitanian leader overran Roman authorities, defeating legion after legion, charged with capturing the alleged outlaws. In 141 BC, Servilianus, the commander of Roman forces, was defeated and sued for peace, recognizing Lusitania as an independent state with Virathus as the Chief Magistrate. The Roman Senate was horrified and when Caepio, the brother of Servilanus, assumed command of the troops, he perfidiously broke the treaty. Not surprisingly to Viriathus, the Romans resumed hostilities against the signed treaty.

By 139 BC, Caepo, discovering he was just as helpless against the superior strategy and will of Virathus, resorted to treachery to accomplish his goal. During peace negotiations, Virathus sent his most trusted friends, Audax, Ditalco, and Minumsy, to negotiate with Caepo. Instead of negotiations, however, Caepo offered large gifts and bribes for the three men to sell out their leader. Sadly, the men chose prizes over principles and plotted the assassination of the only Spaniard to successfully withstand against Roman tyranny. Viriathus, always prepared, slept little and in his armor. In this way, when awaken, he could quickly lead his men into battle. Therefore, it was customary for his closest friends to enter his tent at night on pressing business. Audax and his associated entered the tent after Virathus fell asleep and stabbed him in the throat, the only part of his body not protected by armor. Thus, the fearless leader died, not from his Roman enemies, but from the treachery of his “friends.” Also dying were the hopes of Lusitanian freedom as the rebellion collapsed after Viriathus death and farther Spain bent its neck to the Roman yoke.

Death of Viriathus

Death of Viriathus by Jose Madrazo

Why did I share this terrible story of bad character and ethics? Simply to point out that the prizes won by the traitors are long gone, but the disloyalty lives on in infamy. Never, I repeat never, accept temporary gain for permanent harm. In reality, the three traitors, sold out the freedom of their country, their people, and killed their leader for temporary trinkets. Indeed, a person ought to sell everything he has before he sells his character, for the things can be replaced, but the character cannot. Nonetheless, many do not follow this principles and sell out the permanent for the temporary. Imagine readers, if Virathus had sent you on the peace errand. How should leaders of character respond when offered personal gain to destroy others? Let everyone examine himself.

43 Responses to “Viriathus: Principles & Perfidy”

  1. Tim marks said

    Wow! The power of a fallin sinful man. Great stuff O

  2. Yitz Weiss said

    EXCELLENT post! Thanks so much for sharing this, Orrin. ” Indeed, a person ought to sell everything he has before he sells his character, for the things can be replaced, but the character cannot.” That’s going to become my new email tagline!

  3. Matt Mielke said

    I pray God would not allow me to betray my brethren, my heart desires to behave in a way that is honorable and character-driven, but I’m not so arrogant as to say, “I would never act that way.” After studying historical accounts like Viriathus and his closest “friends,” reminds me of the traitor Judas as he betrayed his beloved Lord Jesus. This is a tragic story that brings light to the sinful ways of man and makes me aware of the power temptation has over man and is not to be taken lightly.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Amen Matt.

    • Kevin Hamm said

      How effective it is Matt, to place ourselves in the devilish position, to see the true impact of the crime. It has a way of putting a shudder down the back. But for the grace of God… Great post Orrin. My desire to study as you do truly drives me.

    • Matt, thanks for your comments and I am delighted to know people in business seek to do right toward their brethren.
      You gave encourgment to me a 78 year old widow traveling through this baren land. Mrs. Childers

  4. Great reminder to put on the armor of God. I have always wondered why is man so quick to fall for that trap. I believe at times he (we) thinks he will get away with it in the flesh but often we see situations where man makes a obvious bad character move where he knows he will be found out but still does it. I know the enemy has tricks up his sleeves but sometimes it appears we stop thinking for a spell. Why are we so quick to trade the short term for long term?

  5. Emma Horvath said

    I’m with Matt! How easy it is to read this and think “I’d never do that/I’d never sell out that way”…. always easier said than done. Thanks for sharing this powerful story as a reminder to guard our hearts against sin and any temptations to sell out our character!

  6. Maribel Damphousse said

    This is really a tragic story which depicts the power of the evil one over the weakness of man. But the greater power lies in our Lord and Saviour, if we accept and recognize Him as our ultimate source of strength and guide in how we live our lives. I pray that I may cling to Him all my life and let Him teach me not to sell out my character in front of worldly and selfish ambitions. Thanks, Orrin for this reminder!

  7. Bill Eder said

    Orrin: What a reminder of the principle taught. What profit is there in gaining the whole if you lose your soul. We can learn valuable lessons for history. Thanks for this lesson.

  8. Rick Green said

    What a great post!

    I am consistently amazed by your ability to find the most obscure historical reference that embodies the value driven principles of LIFE/TEAM.

    “Those who forget the past, are condemned to repeat it!”

    Many thanks.

    Rick Green

  9. Rob Robson said

    Wow! What an amazing story. It makes me look inside myself and despise the natural man that is ever ready to sell my birthright for temporary ease and comfort. Thanks for the insight.

  10. Gloria Phibbs said

    To sell out a friend or fellow employee to win favour always leaves a dark mark against ones soul and deep damage is done. Poor choices stay in the continuous loop that plays over and over again in our head that creates the life we have and not the one we want.


  11. jesus hernandez said

    Great writing orrin! I couldn’t help but to think about that to a personal level. When we set long term goals a lot of the time those that are weak sell out to shiny objects or things that can be attained at the present. When great things were waiting in the future.

  12. Elizabeth Sieracki said

    Wow! What a story. Orrin thank you or sharing. This story exemplifies some huge character flaws. I think that character is wrapped up in not only the large decisions but also the small. Although the small things may not seen noticeable (the little white lies for example) over time they can be devastating and defining.
    I am thankful for a community that has above the bar standards, has posture enough to stand for them and is honest enough to confront in love when necessary.

  13. Scott Staley said

    It seems that many today accept/embrace the immediate temptation at any cost. I love the community of LIFE and TEAM as its win/win – or no deal. The strength of the community quickly weeds out those who don’t share those values. Thank you for leading from the front.

  14. Great reminder of character, Orrin Woodward.

  15. Larry Van Buskirk said

    All great stories don’t have crummy endings! Look at what a few dedicated leaders did in 1776, in 1865, in 1999….. Yes, the Team/LIFE story is great, and remains a continuing great saga of overcoming!

  16. Tim Samuels said


    I Have heard it said many times that history repeats itself, i find it sad that i have seen this in my own life. That is the best reason I can think of to pursue a self guided education. Character leads to a better life.

  17. Shelley said

    Great article, thanks for the history lesson.

  18. george guzzardo said

    Orrin, This is one of your most powerful lessons to date. When one sells out to pride, envy, and recognition over character and principles they lose. It reminds me of this quote by Abraham Lincoln, “If there is anything that links the human with the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it.” Thanks for the great lesson. George

  19. Tony Matteo said

    The Loyalty I have seen on this Team is unlike anything I have seen.
    The Leaders on this Team will always have each other’s back.
    Proven time and time again.

  20. Dean Frey said

    Thanks Orrin for another great story about the negative ripple effect of bad character. It is sobering to think of how many lives are affected by our decisions. Thanks for the reminder.

  21. jimmy varghese said

    Been approached by so many businesses and opportunities that promise quick success, beautiful cars in a very short time. The LIFE business still stands as an opportunity to get the best education, improve ones character and create a leadership legacy that will last for a lifetime. Great post Orrin!

  22. Aron Radosa said

    The truth of history is always profound. May we all take the time required to be aware of it and absorb it. Thanks for your constant light and perspective. Aron

  23. Michael Hartmann said

    Here’s a simple but powerful passage I reflect on to combat my fallen human nature: Pr 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the outflowings of life.
    I have to add that not only do you post excellent articles in this blog, but the commentary from the readers is equally impressive! I love reading the original article and then studying the thought process that so many leaders share in their comments. Truly priceless! As I see it, I could spend 15 minutes each day reading the superficial negative news headlines from any local or national website or I can choose to dig into the meat of thought provoking articles posted in blogs such as yours or any of the rest of LIFE’s PC and RT’s. A simple choice; a slight edge: compounded over time, the impact of either source will be incredible.

  24. Michelle Hanson said

    This story not only illustrates the story of bad character but the effects of short-term thinking. The traitors only thinking of the short-term gain as oppose to the benefits of a life of freedoms.

    Does this mean that character is compromised(perhaps loss)when taking short term decisions for gain?

  25. J & P Harteis said

    Thank the Lord that He redeemed us from ourselves! Thanks, Orrin for the reminder to really know what’s it our own hearts, while asking the Lord to search our hearts & show us where we have sin. Many times, it’s in those areas where we feel we are strong that we tend to fall. We attempt to protect & guard ourselves against our weaknesses, but we also need to protect ourselves in our strengths! God bless!

  26. Michael Stithem said

    Powerful stuff. History is so fascinating when you can recognize the truth from the lies. Your posts are always enlightening. Thanks for sharing.

  27. This post reminds of Chris Brady’s message to the RTs at the last major. Don’t be fooled, we aren’t all that different from these men. We all MUST guard ourselves and know our weaknesses! I NEVER want to be a person who sells my character so cheaply! Thankful to God for this wonderful association and for His Grace.

  28. Tom Wilburn said

    Create in us clean hearts oh Lord….
    And Matthew 5:37
    May we all stand firm on Gods Word.
    All of our freedoms hang un the balance.
    Thanks for all you do Orrin.
    . Tom

    • Trevor Long said

      Powerful historical example of what a lack of integrity can result in. I was challenged personally by viewing my ‘small’ acts of lack of integrity or character as really acts of high treason to my Commander. Thank God for glorious grace!

  29. Matt Ruhlman said

    I am particularly thankful for the character of the founders of our nation.

  30. Orrin I am so grateful for the fact that the founders of the Life Business chose the principles of character & integrity just as the founders of our country did, worrying more about doing the right thing than looking out for self only.

  31. Thank Orrin for a great story in history that ties to a very important lesson! What amount is written on the price tag of your character?
    May we all be able to say $0.00! My character is not for sale!
    Bless you and your family this thanksgiving holiday!
    Nicole Porter

  32. Good post Orrin …thank you for being such an amazing guiding light for my family on their journey and now for me on mine 🙂

  33. Kim Decker said

    How true this is…as I read all your stories I have come to realize the choices I have made in the past which do reflect on my character…i have sold myself short but without even realizing what I had just done…I have understood that it was the only way I knew…everyone around me did the same thing and it was normal. I now know the truth and will NEVER EVER sell my character for a small maybe even priceless item, no matter what it should be. I can’t thank you enough for teaching me the way to truth!!

  34. Tammy Darling said

    “A person ought to sell everything he has before he sells his character, for the things can be replaced, but the character cannot.” Thank you for such an important reminder!

  35. Jonathan Brandenberger said

    Amazing! Love it! Its like a Major Life Business Event online!

  36. John Rodrigues said

    The story is factual. The one big mistake is the fact that Viriathus was Portuguese, not Spanish. In fact, Spain as a Kingdon did not even exist until well after Portugal was formed. Still today, the Portuguese still refer to themselves as Lusitanian. The mountains the story refers to are in and around the city of Viseu in Northern Portugal. It’s amazing how facts reagrding Portuguese historical figueres are constantly distorted. For example, Columbus was born and raised in Portugal. He was born in a town called Cuba, Portugal in sourthern Portugal and learned his navigation trade in the most important school of its time in Sagres, Portugal. BTW, notice there are no Carribean islands names after Italian towns.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      John, Great stuff! In the short history, the Romans called the whole area Hispania. I will add in the post a reference to modern day Portugal. The Portugese were fantastic sailors and Prince Henry the Navigator’s school made produced some of the best sailors of the times. thanks, Orrin

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