Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • 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.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

  • Orrin’s Latest Book

  • 7 Day Free Access to Leadership Audios!

  • Email Me

  • NY Times Bestselling Book

  • Mental Fitness Challenge

  • Email Subscription

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,445 other subscribers

  • Categories

  • Archives

Peloponnesian War: End of Greek Freedoms

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 26, 2012

Here is my final segment on the Peloponnesian War. Sometimes truth is more fantastic than fiction and Greek history is one of those times. Although I have read extensively in this area, when finally writing down my thoughts, I was shocked by the level of degradation in thinking possible if one does not maintain his absolute principles. One of the main reasons the LIFE Business operates with a Policy Council is to ensure that we  follow the principles espoused.  I remember when Dan Hawkins attending his first PC meetings. He was amazed as the ability for anyone to speak freely when he disagrees with the policy direction. In truth, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would much rather have one of the PC catch a policy/principle mistake before we PDCA on the entire community! 🙂

In my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I take a whole chapter to describe character, integrity, and principles. Each person should be working on improving his or her character and finding other top leaders to help them on the journey of life. This is exactly what the LIFE Business does, it provides a community of people, who are growing personally and professionally, to aid others on their success journey. I am thankful for leaders like Chris Brady, Tim Marks, and Claude Hamilton and the rest of the LIFE Founders for speaking into my life when needed. LIFE, in other words, is a team sport! Here is the final part of the Peloponnesian War.


Orrin Woodward

Athens, Sparta and their allies, waged a pitiless war against one another for nearly 30 years with brief respites. Athens failed invasion of SiciIy put them on the defensive, but Sparta didn’t have enough naval power to deliver a knock out blow. The war continued for over twenty additional years despite both sides having little to gain and much to lose. Athens treatment of Melios displays the corrosive effects of the FLD and is representative of the  tyranny practiced by the Athenian empire on its weaker sister cities. Thucydides, in his Melian dialogue, describes the unfolding Greek tragedy. Here is a small portion of the dialogue to convey the detrimental effects of the FLD on Athenian thinking:

Pericles Funeral Oration

Athenian: For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretenses—either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us—and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Spartans, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must

Melians: You may be sure that we are as well aware as you of the difficulty of contending against your power and fortune, unless the terms be equal. But we trust that the gods may grant us fortune as good as yours, since we are just men fighting against unjust, and that what we want in power will be made up by the alliance of the Lacedaemonians, who are bound, if only for very shame, to come to the aid of their kindred. Our confidence, therefore, after all is not so utterly irrational.

Athenian: Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can. And it is not as if we were the first to make this law, or to act upon it when made: we found it existing before us, and shall leave it to exist forever after us; all we do is to make use of it, knowing that you and everybody else, having the same power as we have, would do the same as we do

Strikingly, Athens, the same city who fought Persia’s “might is right” pragmatism, now asserts the same “principles” in its contest with weaker Greek cities. This combination of hypocrisy and hubris has clouded the rationality of leaders in power since history has been recorded. Evidently, although many things have changed, human nature isn’t one of them. Thus leaders must remain vigilant against the debilitating effects of the FLD or it will destroy culture. In the Greek example, it gets even worse, for both leagues, in desperation, appealed to the Persian king for aid against the other. Remarkably, Sparta and Athens, the two former allies against Persia, rather than settle their differences, instead sought to align themselves with their former nemesis Persia. Persia happily complied, aiding Sparta with money and ships to destroy Athen’s superior seapower. Persia did this, not for Sparta’s benefit, but for their own, astounded at their opportunity to destroy both cities at once. Both leagues, willingly sold Greek’s freedom and future – another sad effect of the FLD in action – in an attempt to win the war. At the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War, each side was drained of men, money, and mind, leaving them prostrate before Macedonian machinations.

27 Responses to “Peloponnesian War: End of Greek Freedoms”

  1. Steve Leurquin said

    Thanks for the great article Orrin and the series of articles showing through history how if we don’t learn from history we will repeat it.

  2. Larry VanBuskirk said

    The history of man’s lust for power above principle is such a sad tale, continuously to be repeated. I would hope that some group of principle- minded men and women could help break that chain…

  3. Kody Ellis said

    Awesome post Orrin. I’ve loved reading these the last few days. And like Steve said above “if we don’t learn from history we will repeat it.”


  4. Eric Norman said

    Another example of how the thirst for power makes people stupid–making them myopic and self-centered. Unfortunately (or not) self-centeredness leads inevitably to self-destruction as this example further points out. It also brings to mind what Ronald Reagan said about freedom being always one generation from extinction. (I think he said it, but if not, he should have said it.) As your articles implies, this thirst for power is merely a symptom of a deeper problem: the corruption of character. Like the Greeks (at that time), they no longer seek to grow or progress, but merely force themselves upon others–to have others serve them. Ironically, they place themselves to be servants of others more powerful than they.

    You’re right: they wrote themselves into their own Greek tragedy. What a shame. Thanks for wanting to bring this out, so that we may learn from history. It takes great humility to learn from the mistakes of others.

  5. Josh Libolt said

    Great Article

  6. natalie plant said

    I like what you mentioned about about the Founders of LIFE business being people of who stand upon their convictions. Having been apart of the the LIFE/TEAM community for a over a year now, daily I am impressed with the integrity of this organization. I am proud of how this business has helped our family and my friends. I am learning so much from association, reading, and from putting what I am learning into practice. The more I watch my team-mates serve, the more I am challenged to grow. I am apart of the Kaizen team – and I am so grateful to learn from Claude and Lana Hamilton and Wayne and Raylene MacNamara. The LIFE leaders will go into history books as people of courage, service and wisdom.

  7. Gloria Phibbs said

    Ego is a huge force and often leads to an unintelligent result with great sacrifice.

  8. Tammy Darling said

    Thanks for helping me further my History education that I never learned while in school! Go figure! 😉 Thanks Orrin!

  9. Brian said

    Having fought a battle with you for several years now, I can read several examples of battles into these last two posts of yours. With God on our side, we win! You have prepared the troops for battle well, understanding that it is by His Grace and for His Glory, we will continue to engage. We are all so blessed that God called you to lead us in the charge. We have passed the “The Tipping Point” and it is now a “Leadership Epidemic” Invade the living rooms with truth!!
    God Bless you my friend!!
    BP n Sherry

  10. UGH! I just overheard a television interview in the airport from a woman who proudly bragged our president is a pragmatist! I thought, that’s nothing to be proud of. Absolute foundational principles……that’s something to stand upon for sure! Great post on what happens when pragmatism is followed instead.

  11. J & P Harteis said

    Another great post on a tragic event — if only we would learn from the lessons that have gone before us. Lessons taught, but lessons unlearned, equal another tragedy! Thanks for lighting the way, Orrin!

  12. Dean Frey said

    Wow! It is amazing how many nuggets of wisdom we can learn by studying the mistakes of others. Thanks Orrin for exposing us constantly to these truths. God bless!

  13. jimmy varghese said

    Really love how the PC almost act like an “elder” set up at a church. checks and balances on power are essential to leadership and with the LIFe business a true iron sharpening iron environment is created. I pray that the LIFE business will turn the tide of America to avoid what happened to the Greeks.

  14. Kevin Hamm said

    Great teaching Orrin,

    The part of me that wants MY way at times, sadly, relates with the Athenian point of view. Such a sinful lot we are. When one’s beliefs are thought to be right, it is a small rational step to forcing those beliefs onto others. It is why absolute power corrupts absolutely. Keeping our God given purpose in front of us for God’s glory, is a good defense against seeking our own. The accountability of the Policy Council is definitely a safe guard against the FLD. Thanks again Orrin

  15. Jim Martin said

    The history here is vital for the leaders of America to see where they are going wrong and what they need to do to improve on and fix. Thanks for the example Orrin, we will win this battle. God Bless

  16. Thanks for reminding us the importance of the battle we face in America.

  17. Trevor Long said

    Thucydides saw a pre-existing law (might makes right)and then justifies its use which seems to show that his conscience is telling him might doesn’t make right. A great illustration of the fallen human condition, holding (suppressing) the truth in unrighteousness.

  18. Alison Ruhlman said

    Great Blog — thanks!!

  19. Michael Hartmann said

    Have our nation’s Republican and Democratic political parties become the Sparta and Athens of this age?

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Mike, Hey you are getting ahead of the segments I am posting. Keep thinking bro! 🙂 thanks, Orrin

  20. BillR. Quarles said

    Thank you Orrin for information that I didn’t get in school. Please continue to educate.

  21. I love how Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, and Claude Hamilton keep posting great articles!

  22. Dave Hall said

    It is a sad fact, indeed, that we live in such an a-historical society. Thank you for leading the way back to principled truths informed by historical data.

  23. Robin Lawrence said

    Another great post! Thanks Orrin!

  24. Aron Radosa said

    Time on the calendar & clock continues to move forward but men unchecked in their character and leadership end the same => overtaken by pride and power. Sparta and Athens and Persia give us history on this proof. Nations need a check outside of their thinking. You talk about your PC & the humbleness of all involved. Greatness comes when through a Team and its ability to speak honestly to each other. Thanks for the thoughts.

  25. Great post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.