A Training Lesson from Napoleon Bonaparte


Do you ever wonder why certain individuals achieve so much during their lives? Here is an important lesson I shared today with my real estate coaching and training team.

History and legend has it that after Napoleon Bonaparte’s army was defeated and the Duke of Wellington prevailed over the French, Napoleon was taken away and imprisoned. One day a group of newspaper reporters came to visit. They had obtained permission to hold an interview with the famous French general Napoleon Bonaparte.

Even though Napoleon was in prison, he carried himself with dignity and looked with piercing eyes at the group of reporters gathered there before him. Questions were asked and answers given. The reporters wrote every word down. This would, indeed, be good reading. They would boast to their children and grandchildren how they stood before the great general on that long ago day.

Suddenly, from the back of the room, a voice, somewhat more gentle than the others was heard above the din. “Mon general,” the reporter said, “Tell me why the English won at Waterloo. Did they have a superior army?”

“No!” replied Napoleon.

“Well, did they have better weapons?” asked another reporter.

“No!” was the answer again.

Then the first reporter asked again, “Why then, Mr. General, did the English win?”

Napoleon’s eyes slowly swept across the room. The silence was so deep that it was almost deafening. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Then he replied, “The English fought five minutes longer.”

From the mouth of the great general himself came the answer, “The English fought five minutes longer”. Many times, five minutes longer is all that it takes. Times have changed from the days of the Emperor Napoleon. But many things still remain the same.

Sometimes victory is just a few minutes away. Yes, I know, we all go through hard times. In today’s real world many of us are faced with one disappointment after another. For most, there is never enough money, too many missed opportunities, poor relationships, ill health and the list could go on and on. Of course, there are good times, too, but the hard times seem to block our vision of the good times.

When things get really bad, we turn this way and that looking for some help or at least some hope to keep on keeping on. Anything will do–a kind word from a friend, a paragraph from a good book, a stray piece of music from the radio, even a Hollywood movie.

In our real estate coaching and training programs we teach that your job is simply to just keep on keeping on.

When you are facing disappointments that make you want to give up, remember, “The English fought five minutes longer.” Sometimes it’s so bad that one day at a time is too long. So go one hour at a time. And if that’s too long, then how about five minutes at a time?

Why did Napoleon lose to the English at the battle of Waterloo? The English simply fought five minutes longer!

All Star Coaching and Training thought for today comes courtesy of Thomas Edison: “Many of life’s failures are people who simply did not realize just how close they were to success when they gave up.”

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