Alexander the Human

Summary: Balance strengths by working on weaknesses. If you don’t, the strengths will be your downfall.

Here’s a lesson from Alexander the Great:

Balance strengths or they will be your downfall.

I realized this from a History Channel documentary about Alexander the Great. Many scholars rate him as history’s greatest military commander.

He was a brilliant strategist. Military historians still study his tactics more than 2,300 years after he executed them.

A charismatic leader, Alexander commanded from the front line.
Always in the thick of battle and suffering every hardship, he never asked his troops to do anything he would not do himself.

(If you are a manager, apply this lesson. You will earn unwavering respect.)

His determination was legendary. He conquered Tyre by building a half-mile causeway across a bay even after the defenders destroyed his first attempt.

By all accounts, he was utterly fearless and completely confident. We are still in awe even after 23 centuries.

But then there’s the story of Alexander the Human.

According to one scholar, his gifts being what they were, he would have burned himself out one way or the other.

His great confidence led to megalomania. This was common for leaders of antiquity, but it lapsed into more than public relations.

His erratic behavior undermined his troops’ morale. Despite all the victories, twelve years and 20,000 miles were too much.

As understandable now as then, they wanted to go home.

His fearlessness eventually led to a battle field injury from which he never completely recovered.

Of course, Alexander is perhaps history’s most extreme example of how unbalanced strengths can turn self-destructive.

So take a lesson from Big Al.

If you’re ultra-creative, take some time to get organized.

If you’re ultra-organized, take some time to be creative.

Balance strengths or they will be your downfall.

You will conquer yourself and that’s real greatness.

About the author
Copyright 2004 by Tony Papajohn. Tony writes and speaks on success. Subscribe to his free SuccessMotivator e-zine at