“When a tree branch grows brittle, it easily snaps, whether long or little. An inflexible army seals its own fate.” -Tao Te Ching, Verse 76
He reluctantly inherited an empire in chaos when his brother died and left him sole leader of Rome. Tempering action with philosophy and a belief in the discipline of duty, he stabilized a land racked with plague and warfare. History would define him not only as one of the great emperors of Rome, but among the great Western philosophers.
At one point he struggled with financial debt. He would lose more battles in the American Revolution than he would win. He came close to being fired as commander of the revolutionary armies. Yet his ability to hold himself and those around him up amidst adversity would allow him to find eventual victory and freedom for a nation.
He would be forced to work and educate himself in public libraries after his father died at age 11. He would fail at every business venture and be forced to work his way out of bankruptcy. He would battle personal demons most of his life. Yet his ability to find humor in it all and to direct it into written and spoken word would place him among the literary geniuses of the 20th Century.
Franklin D Roosevelt
He would be stricken with polio in his youth and suffer from it throughout his life. He would become president of the United States during the countries worst depression. He would become leader of a nation during a world at war. Yet his ability to smile, focus on action and solutions would allow him to help create alliances to bring the world back to peace and prosperity.
He would be born into violent and turbulent times. He would have to duel to the death, 60 times by the age of 30. He would have to fight in six major military battles. Yet he had the intuition to understand that the ability to fight alone was not enough for a changing world. His written paradigm of strategy in all things continues to be studied to this day.
History has proven that strategic toughness is better than either toughness or strategy by itself. The idea of resilience lies in the ability to bend past the weight of adversity yet remain rooted and upright once the storm has inevitably passed.