Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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

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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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Seeds of the Five Laws of Decline

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 15, 2012

I am still working away on my study of the Five Laws of Decline in history. In this short piece, the Spartan General Pausanias is bit by the bug for power, wealth, and status. Abraham Lincoln probably said it best when he stated (and I paraphrase), “Many people can handle failure. If you truly want to know a person’s character, then give him success.”  When a person experiences success, then one can identify if it went to his head, or on the contrary, if he recognizes it as a blessing to be thankful for. The LIFE business can help people become successful in their teams, but each person must build his own character. I have watched leaders like Claude Hamilton, George Guzzardo, and many more experience public success; however, their public achievements were founded upon private achievements as discussed in my All-Time Top 100 Leadership Book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE. In other words, build your private victories so you will be ready for the public ones.


Orrin Woodward

Seeds of the Five Laws of Decline
During the Persian War, when Sparta and Athens were still allies and on friendly terms, Pausanias, the Spartan general over the confederated Greek army, defeated the Persians at Plataea. In the process, he captured the tent of the Persian commander Mardonius. Although the battle terminated the Persian threat by routing the enemy, interestingly, it also initiated the FLD by whetting the appetite for wealth among the Greeks. Historian Evelyn Abbot explains the Greek’s surprise when they comprehended the level of wealth and luxury enjoyed by the invaders:

This was no other than the tent of Xerxes which at his departure the King had left for the use of his successor in the command. It was, of course, constructed with royal magnificence, resplendent with gold, and the richest embroidery; a sight such as had never before come under the eyes of the astonished Greeks. When Pausanias saw it, he bade the attendants prepare a meal as they were accustomed to prepare it for Mardonius, and at the same time gave orders to his Helots to cook a common Spartan supper. Then he summoned the captains of the Greeks to see the difference, “How foolish,” he exclaimed, “were the men who while they enjoyed the one sought to rob the Greeks of the other!” The sight of this magnificence seems to have sunk deeply into the mind and memory of Pausanias. Forgetting the infinite difference between freedom and slavery, he contrasted the bare and dreary life of a Spartan with the softness and splendor of a Persian satrap. His successes in the last two years had raised him to the foremost rank in Greece, and he had felt no scruple in claiming for himself the honors which had been won by the devotion of others. Was he to abandon his “great place” and return to Sparta, to be the subject of an infant king?

These seeds which took root within Pausanias’s mind, sprouted several years later when, with mainland Greece safe, the Greek confederation aimed to remove Persian influence from Greater Hellas. Accordingly, Spartan Pausanias, even though Athens had more ships and experienced leaders, was assigned Commander of the allied Greek navy. After another impressive victory at Byzantium over the beleaguered Persian fleet, the united Greeks were on the verge of accomplishing their goal. Curiously, however, Pausanias stopped the offensive strategy, and rumors began circulating out of Asia that he was in negotiations with the Persian King. In truth, they weren’t rumors. Pausanias had schemed with the Great King to marry one of his daughters and serve as a satrap in the Persian Empire. Not surprisingly, the allied Greek forces were not amused, and Pausanias, after having lost the confidence of his men, was recalled to Sparta to face charges of treason. The members of the Greek alliance transferred their loyalties to the Athenian contingent led by Aristides and Cimon.

29 Responses to “Seeds of the Five Laws of Decline”

  1. M. Fitzgerald said

    LIFE is all about building private victories first: large and small. “Seeds” (thoughts and beliefs) will sprout. LIFE helps each of us plant a great garden!

  2. Heidi said

    I just saw Ben Franklin’s quote, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” Also was reading to the kids for school our its Frederick Douglass’ autobiography…..and he makes a point of saying how bad slavery was for the owners as well. It corrupted them more every day.

  3. Melissa Young said

    I am so thanfull for the opportunity of success that the LIFE founders have provided. Good people can and will do good things with sucess.

  4. CJ Calvert said

    Amazing lessons from history on leadership, integrity and the downfall caused by greed. Thanks for your time in research and preparation for this blog, Orrin!

  5. Anthony Longlois said

    Great article, thank you for sharing these tid bits and I can’t wait until the full story is released.

  6. Dean Strube said

    I am so thankful for the team and life information. It has helped me see the blessings in every trial we face on our journey to better character and ultimately those public achievements

  7. Kevin Hamm said


    My only hope is to understand that I am capable of what befell Pausanius. But for the grace of God. Thanks for great teaching.

  8. Tedd Clippinger said

    “but each person must build their own character”…”build your private victories so you will be ready for the public ones”

    Thank you Orrin; herein I hear you state a basic foundational truth for absolute reform. Humble reform; not perfection. Helping us right our own wrongs more quickly which keeps us closer to the narrow path. Build character and the private victories on The Rock and the results will have no choice but to be favorable for those we lead directly and indirectly. Private victories first!

  9. jimmy varghese said

    more and more people seeing americas foundation erode. it’s up to us to fight! thanks for the vital information Orrin!

  10. Bob Rasmussen said

    “Absolute power corrupts and power corrupts absolutely”, as people rise in leadership my prayer is we remain humble, remember our roots and our purpose, and model the best leadership example of servanthood which has proved timeless. That is why I follow the Team leadership because I believe their hearts are right and our purpose is from God. Bless you all!! Bob

  11. robert wilcox said

    Awesome !Thanks for yet another history lesson and Leadership lesson. The Five Laws of Decline were and still are soo prevalent … until we understand the History of them and take notice of it happening we are powerless. Thank you for teaching us through your lessons thank you for being a modern day “Founder” I am humbled by your Hunger to learn and grow … and to Teach us on all aspects of Life. I also want to add that I just watched “Christ Centered” You continue to grow and Learn and Teach in all the aspects of life THANK YOU!

  12. Pam Eppinette said

    Money and power is neither good or bad. Money and power in the hands of bad people will do do bad things and money and power in the hands of good people will do good things. LIFE will help get money and power in the hands of good people and make a difference in so many lives for future generations.

  13. TJ said

    What a timeless temptation $ & power are… This post is spot on, leadership really is walking the line between temptation and righteousness… You and Chris say it best on the MFC… One lapse in character trumps all accomplishments every time.. We love the attitude of servanthood that is a cornerstone for the Life opportunity, the best models are our Founding Leaders!!! Thanks Orrin

  14. Amy Antonucci said

    Thank you for sharing this warning in history! Everything is built upon character, and I love that Team teaches that the private, unseen victories must come before the public ones.

  15. Leslie L Ranlet said

    I am always amazed at how historical stories rewritten by Orrin always bring me in, motivate me and leave me hungry for more and reflecting.

  16. Matt Mielke said

    I’ve heard you quote many times, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  17. Tim Miller said

    Do I hold myself to the call God placed on my life. Not to be detoured by good, on to great. Thaks Orrin

  18. Marty Becker said


    The similarities from history and what happens today in our own country is astounding! I find it interesting that when our country actually does the right thing and elects new members to the Congress and the Senate that these freshman politicians go to D.C. with holes in their shoes, but they come out multi-millionaires! That was a great quote by Lincoln because it embodies the essential need for solid character to not throw everyone else under the bus when affluence is offered to you to do so. Thank you to you and the rest of the PC for being men of character.

    Marty Becker

  19. Michael Hartmann said

    I wonder if Pausanias’ legacy could have had a different outcome if he didn’t choose to water the seeds of comparison. Instead of simply observing the differences of lifestyle and recognizing that one lead to victory while the other lead to defeat, Pausanias, choose to admire the lifestyle losing hand. In short time, he went beyond this recognition, but chose to dwell on the apparent differences one step further by having the opposing armies’ attendants prepare the common meals. Whatever initial perception was created during the capture of Xerxes tent was only solidified by Pausanias’ choice to focus on the perceived inequity. It was this choice to focus on the difference that is the real crime here, and it was at that very moment that Pausanias was lost forever.

    How many Americans commit the same mistake of Pausanias every day, admiring the status and flaunted luxury of the many, while the majority doing the flaunting are statistically a few short months from total bankruptcy?

  20. Aron Radosa said


    So much can be gained through this history. The human condition left without an outside check, will move to serve self. If I defeated this foe, than I deserve their luxury. This thought is brought forward without looking into how the luxury was accumulated which was off the backs of slaves. We need a greater source than us to keep us “honest”. Reading Proverbs or Ecclesiastes for wisdom and Corinthians and Romans for examples of using our own knowledge and desires. History gives us the chance not to repeat it. Thanks for bringing this to light & bringing forth solutions.

  21. Jonathan Fowler said


    Once again you illustrate such a profound lesson to be learned. There is an age old saying, “To the victor belongs the spoils.”. How befitting for a society today that places such a high stanard on the tangilbe. How many times is history going to have to repeat itself before the men and women of a once great nation stand up and say, “Enough, NOT ON OUR WATCH!!!”? There is a plague spreading across this country; last Thursday’s events are more than proof of that. I have never been as afraid for our country and our American way of life as I am today. Darkness has fallen upon us. Just as Rome was once the light…just as America was once the light, the beakon of hope for those brave enough to fight for a better future…TEAM and Life are this world’s light! The plague of laziness and something for nothing and “equality” has met its vaccine! Freedom, such a sacred and forgotten word is and forever must be our mission. By the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we have been blessed beyond measure…something I’ve witnessed first hand. And it will be by His saving grace and the example of the men like Orrin Woorward, Chris Brady, Mark Haus, Chris Robinson, Josh Dames and the countless others on TEAM that the men and women of America will make their stand and once again fight for the “American Dream”! Thank you for keeping hope and freedom alive!!!

  22. Orrin,

    I love these history lessons!

  23. Orrin…great posts!!
    I was referred to a website

    Thanks for your leadership. We have an enormous calling!

  24. Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, and Tim Marks have such great blogs! I love the information being taught in the LIFE business. Can’t wait to hear about the new PC’s and RT’s in the coming months! Thank you!

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