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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King Pyrrhus & the Rise of the Romans

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 31, 2012

Here is the beginning of my study of the Roman’s. King Pyrrhus  was the first to learn that the Roman city-state was different than its Greek forerunners. In a similar fashion, the LIFE Business is different than its community building forerunners. Offering a product that every single person in the world needs, regardless of whether they realize it or not, the LIFE Business is quickly becoming the highest quality and best value leadership answer for corporations, churches, communities, and individuals. 2013 is fast approaching, be sure to make this your personal best year. This can start the moment you choose to turn off the TV set, turn on the CD player and press play. Here is the story of King Pyrrhus and the Romans.


Orrin Woodward

King Pyrrhus & the Dream of Empire
King Pyrrhus dreamed of conquering the known world. Indeed he had the ability, as he is considered one of the three greatest military commanders of the ancient world along with Alexander the Great and Hannibal. Consequently, when he received a request from Tarentum (a Greek city in Italy), to help defend the Greek cities from the advancing Romans, he happily complied, believing his moment of destiny had arrived. Cineas, however, Pyrrhus friend and wisdom-filled counselor, who had mentored under the Greek orator Demosthenes, responded stoically, seeking to comprehend the king’s thirst for empire. According to Plutarch, Cineas reflected:

“The Romans, O Pyrrhus, are said to be good fighters, and to be rulers of many warlike nations; if, then, Heaven should permit us to conquer these men, how should we use our victory?” And Pyrrhus said: “Thy question, O Cineas, really needs no answer; the Romans once conquered, there is neither barbarian nor Greek city there which is a match for us, but we shall at once possess all Italy, the great size and richness and importance of which no man should know better than thyself.” After a little pause, then, Cineas said: “And after taking Italy, O King, what are we to do?” And Pyrrhus, not yet perceiving his intention, replied: “Sicily is near, and holds out her hands to us, an island abounding in wealth and men, and very easy to capture, for all is faction there, her cities have no government, and demagogues are rampant now that Agathocles is gone.” “What thou sayest,” replied Cineas, “is probably true; but will our expedition stop with the taking of Sicily?” “Heaven grant us,” said Pyrrhus, “victory and success so far; and we will make these contests but the preliminaries of great enterprises. For who could keep his hands off Libya, or Carthage, when that city got within his reach, a city which Agathocles, slipping stealthily out of Syracuse and crossing the sea with a few ships, narrowly missed taking? And when we have become masters here, no one of the enemies who now treat us with scorn will offer further resistance; there is no need of saying that.” “None whatever,” said Cineas, “for it is plain that with so great a power we shall be able to recover Macedonia and rule Greece securely. But when we have got everything subject to us, what are we going to do?” Then Pyrrhus smiled upon him and said: “We shall be much at ease, and we’ll drink bumpers, my good man, every day, and we’ll gladden one another’s hearts with confidential talks.” And now that Cineas had brought Pyrrhus to this point in the argument, he said: “Then what stands in our way now if we want to drink bumpers and while away the time with one another? Surely this privilege is ours already, and we have at hand, without taking any trouble, those things to which we hope to attain by bloodshed and great toils and perils, after doing much harm to others and suffering much ourselves.”

Plunder over Peace – Bastiat’s Law
The reasoning of Cineas, although accurate, did not convert Pyrrhus to peace. Instead, it merely troubled him by pointing out the great happiness he was sacrificing to pursue objectives that could only result in enduring conflict. Bastiat’s Law, in other words, was so deeply embedded within the would-be conquerer, that renouncing his plans for war and plunder wasn’t feasible, despite believing Cineas had spoken truth. Interestingly, even though war and plunder has produced the same bitter fruit since the beginning of recorded history, few seem to learn from this lesson. As a result, the Five Laws of Decline has tempted each generation of leaders to plunder his neighbors for personal gain, ruining the peace and prosperity of all.

To add insult to Pyrrhus’s perceived injury, Latin Italy, despite the Roman’s suffering defeats in several contested battles and Pyrrhus marching into Latium (40 miles from Rome), refused to abandon Rome’s cause. They remained loyal to the Romans because the Romans had not plundered the allies, but instead had treated them as equals with full rights within Latium. Consequently, the peace offer delivered to the Senate by the Pyrrhus’s confidante Cineas was rejected, mainly through the resolve of the blind Appius Claudius, who reminded the Romans that they had never treated with an enemy on their soil. Inspired, the Romans refused further negotiations and nobly returned the 2,000 Roman prisoners that Pyrrhus had released in anticipation of an amicable settlement. Cineas, in awe at the nobility and bravery of the Romans and its allies, returned to Pyrrhus, declaring that the Roman senate was an assembly of kings. Indeed, the Roman senate’s treatment of defeated cities, forming alliances, not subjects, was a huge competitive advantage of Rome over its various enemies. Historian Tenney Frank explains:

The liberal behavior toward subject states was one of Rome’s first contributions to civilization and marks a great forward step in the history of government. We need not assume that this liberalism was based on sentiment or emotion. It was rather due to wise insight into human nature. The Romans somehow learned that subjects can readily be ruled only by fair treatment. It was the example set by these great legislators that made Rome the first city-state capable of building an enduring empire, and it is a pity that we do not know their names.

Rome, Allies, & Pyrrhic Victories
Because the Romans had not plundered their allies, they remained, for the most part, loyal during the crucial early wars with the Etruscans, Greeks, and Carthaginians. In a word, the Romans just treatment of its allies kept the five laws of decline in check during the formative period of the Roman city-state and allowed them to defeat enemies with greater wealth and resources, but less trust amongst its allies. Evidently, honesty, integrity, and character are essential for building trust, that in the long-run, is the key difference maker. King Pyrrhus, after another hard fought victory over the Romans replied to one of his men when he announced they were victorious over the Romans, “one more such victory would utterly undo him.” Pyrrhus realized his key commanders and soldiers were either wounded or dead and would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace. In contrast, Rome and its allies, because of the trust built within the alliance, had a practically unlimited supply of talented commanders and men to replace their losses. In other words, even in defeat, the Romans were gaining victory. Pyrrhus predicament is what led to the term “Pyrrhic victory,” defined as someone who wins a victory, but the price paid is so great that it negates any sense of achievement or profit. Eventually, King Pyrrhus exited Italy and returned to Epirus, realizing he could not defeat the unified Romans with the constantly bickering and dis-unified Greek cities of Italy.

25 Responses to “King Pyrrhus & the Rise of the Romans”

  1. Chris Beaubien said

    Thanks for your investment of time in sharing that story with us. There are so many key points on leadership; what to do .. And what not to do.. Looking forward to defeating my 2012 by doing my 2013 personal best! Lets press PLAY!

  2. Great stuff! 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!

  3. Steve Duba said

    Thanks Orrin The term”pyrrhic victory” sounds a lot like a recent election here in the U.S.The price to be paid is far to great
    and speaking for myself,the only solution is our LIFE organization getting to a million ASAP.We will make that difference and
    change the world through vigilance and tenacity by delivering our message daily.
    Thank you for all you do.God Bless

  4. J & P Harteis said

    If only we could learn from history ~ the fact is, so many, unike you, Orrin, are clueless to our roots & the lessons they provide! Thanks so much for your investment in time, sharing these insights with us! May the Lord grant us the wisdom to personalize the lessons! God bless – you are truly a watchman for our generation! God bless!

  5. Robert Daley said

    Outstanding example of why we need to study history and learn from it so we don’t make the same fatal / unpleasant mistakes. Let the citizens of a county feel as though they are free while changing the laws behind their backs. Just take a little of the freedom away at a time ……… WHAT AN IDEA……..

    Thank you Orrin for helping this country to see what MAY be going on right in front of us

    God bless

  6. Jonathan Fowler said

    Once again Orrin you share truth through history…what an awesome example! It’s like the frog in the pot of water. If you drop him in a pot that is boiling he will jump out; but if the water is comfortable and you slowly turn up the heat not causing enough miscomfort all at once the frog will cook itself over time. We are so sooooo blessed to have a leader like you and the other men and women of TEAM and LIFE to redirect the currents of our country. You have changed my way of thinking forever, and for that I am eternally grateful. Together we will change the status quo that is currently America! Thank you and God bless!!!

  7. chris volkmann said

    Thanks Orrin we have to start taking info from the past and start using it in the future or it will be to late. God bless the few who will stand up and make the change for the better.

  8. blaine said

    What an awesome (presently applicable) history lesson! Thanks for the countless hours you invest on behalf of the LIFE TEAM and future generations. I truly believe the Policy Council and Round Table leaders are the greatest servant leaders in world history (superseded only by Christ). Thanks for casting the vision of helping others Live the Life They’ve Always Wanted. God Bless you and your family in 2013!

  9. Steve Leurquin said

    We’ve all heard the statement, lose the battle but win the war. Just the opposite here. The short term never justifies sacrificing the long-term. Steve’s comment from earlier in the thread hits this point on the head. Thanks for your studies Orrin diving into the important parts of history for the rest of us to learn from your thinking.

  10. Hilary Dorr said

    Thanks for putting this together so that we can learn from our history.

  11. jimmy varghese said

    awesome article. i used to be very argumentative and try to win debates yet in the long term lost many friendships, this is what comes to mind when i read your article.. looking forward to a great 2013 with many win-win victories!

  12. Eben Smith said

    That makes since treat people as your equal and not to become a tyrant. Thanx again Orrin for your insight.

  13. Jason Halteman said

    Thanks for this insight Orrin.
    History was one of my most hated subjects in school only several years ago. Ever since I’ve been around the LIFE environment and reading your blogs and books, I have developed a genuine intrest in history. I am now learning the principles within these types of stories rather than just memorizing dates and events. Thanks for your dedication to reaching 1 million people with these principles.

  14. Michael Schwendinger said

    Great message as always Orrin. I gain so much from each of your posts. Let’s make 2013 the one that goes down in history as the beginning of the beginning.

  15. Dave Ranlet said

    It seams to me that Bastiat’s law is one of those “tools” that can be used by any person, from the politician to the disgruntled guy at work. Since people are naturally wired to this law (Bastiat’s law for dummies: it’s easier to take than make) I can see how easily any of us can fall into the trap of someone telling us that “we deserve it”. Only to find out later (going to Pyrrhus and his army’s example) that staying at home may have been a bit easier than war. I am reminded of the line in Gladiator when Maximus tells his friend “Dirt washes off a lot easier than blood”. May we have our eyes open to this in our everyday dealings. May we pass knowledge along to those we care about.

    Orrin, I would be VERY interested in other historical examples of this law and the other 5 laws of decline. Thank you for your time on this and ALL your writings. Cannot wait to read your new book.

    GO GET ‘EM
    Dave Ranlet

  16. Bob Rasmussen said

    Thx O! I always enjoy and better understand meaning and implications of history after I get you and other policy council perspectives. You make complex material easier for me to understand.

  17. Yancy said

    This is a great story it is amazing what can be learned from history as to how to live life and specially. How to change the way of thinking. Thank you for sharing your knowledge so we can learn.

  18. “Then what stands in our way now if we want to drink bumpers and while away the time with one another? Surely this privilege is ours already, and we have at hand, without taking any trouble, those things to which we hope to attain by bloodshed and great toils and perils, after doing much harm to others and suffering much ourselves.”

    I love the example in there about starting with the end in mind. To often we do things today without thinking first about what we want in the end. Sometimes we end up doing the wrong things, while other times we actually do go to war (figuratively and literally) to gain nothing more than we already have – and so lose out on what we originally had.

  19. Marty Becker said


    Very interesting example. It shows that the Roman cities were so resilient because they were not protecting the wealth and ego of a single dictator, but the freedom of their own home lands. I see the honor of the Unites States being decimated because of cradle to grave mentality where no one is willing to risk anything because they truly do not own anything anymore (within reason). Why fight for something when someone can legally take it from you? I know with the leadership that you and your partners bring to this country that we will turn it around and give people a reason to stand up and defend their families, communities and wealth once again. Thank you!

    Marty Becker
    Alpha Omega J1

  20. Michael Hartmann said

    Excellent article again. It appears the Roman philosophy of ruling was an early example of servant leadership. By treating their conquered people as equals, they not only diffused resentment of the people but went beyond this to achieve ultimately cooperation and community. The strength of Rome (at this time) was not solely a result of numbers, but because of the sheer loyalty within those numbers.

  21. Bob Coe said

    Great article. History is one of the best learning/teaching tools.

  22. Matt Mielke said

    What i love about the LIFE business is it doesn’t “plunder” its members with meaningless spending. Yet, provides resources to help improve lives and shares the financial resources in an equal opportunity way. I love your history lessons Orrin. Thanks for your dedication to educating and empowering individuals to lead their individual lives which in turn helps individuals lead their communities. Can’t wait for your book Leadershift to launch in April 2013. matt

    • Kevin Hamm said

      Good words on top of a great post Matt. When the LIFE business conquers territory it frees minds to grow. It is that growth that I look the most forward to. My excitement grows with every post I read Orrin. Thanks again.

  23. Amy Antonucci said

    This is the kind of history I wish had been offered to me in school!

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