“To the victor belong the spoils.” –William Learned Marcy. According to the Office of The Historian of the U.S. Government, William Marcy served under two Presidents. In 1845, President James K. Polk asked Marcy to serve as Secretary of War, a Cabinet position he held for the duration of the administration. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce selected Marcy as his Secretary of State. For sure, the author of the given quote knew a thing or two about victory. However, it is neither war nor a direct confrontation that determines the real victor. There also exist some unsung heroes that employ some unbelievable techniques or strategies ‘to bring home the bacon,’ so to say.
“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” – This loud, and clear message comes from none other than John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of United States of America, from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He is lovingly remembered by his initials JFK. Once again, we see the inherent value victory carries with it, by default.
Does it mean, life can only be judged on the merits of victory and defeat? Not by the longest shot, I am sure! Why, because nobody on this earth can be a perpetual victor while none exists or has ever existed that only suffered endless defeat in every pursuit.
It has often been observed that those with limited means show a higher level of contentment than the ones with all the world’s luxuries at their disposal. Does it not signify the sense of victory by small measures, no matter how fleeting? I am sure it does.
“Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more,” said Louis L’Amour, the 20th-Century American Novelist (mainly Western,) and versatile writer credited with the stories of many films. Who can deny the deep-rooted truth in the above quote? There is no such thing as a sudden victory, other than in a game of dice or in gambling. Even in sports where victory and defeat are sometimes a whisker apart, there exists a lot of preparation, and skill to plan each move in a meticulous fashion that helps change the outcome.
More often than not, it is our habit, formed over a while, that help us score victories in tough situations. Same as a knife maintains its edge by continued use, both our analytical skills and speed of action come to the rescue only when often practiced. Consistent advancement towards the goal helps us gain an enormous success. Of course, the pace of progress determines the level of our victory. Let us learn from this sage advice and imbibe the principle of continued advancement in our daily life so we may also taste real victory built upon smaller ones.
“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.” –Author Unknown. There are times when we focus our attention on a specific object or goal that we lose track of everything else. The wise have identified this situation as ‘Tunnel Vision.’ There is nothing wrong with focus, but there is everything wrong with a single-track vision where all other benefits, gains, advantages, or opportunities coming our way suddenly disappear or become non-existent. Of course, victory has its own rewards, but let us not forget that victory is addictive in ways more than one. Those accustomed to gaining numerous victories fall prey to their pride and end up throwing caution to the wind.
Easy victories lead to even easier follies, and lack of defeats in life makes us a helpless prisoner of our own ego. In the process, we forget to enjoy the scenery around us and to partake of the sweet smell of flowers, the fresh breeze, the music in the streams, and the chirping of the birds.
We easily overlook the small, little things in life that give us contentment, that help us feel refreshed, reinvigorated, and recharged enough to overcome obstacles with comparative ease.
“Genuine victories, the sole conquests yielding no remorse, are those gained over ignorance.” –Napoleon Bonaparte. He was a French Military General and became the first Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814/15. No wonder, Napoleon is known as one of the most celebrated personages in the history of the West. An Italian by birth, he rose through the ranks and re-wrote history with his military skills. The readers are likely to get confused trying to make sense of the above quote but the fact manifests itself through Napoleon’s own success in breaking the shell of ignorance to come out a winner beyond belief. We can thus realize the necessity of gaining victory over our ignorance before raising expectations of winning in other walks of life. To further emphasize this point I would like to remind the intelligent readers of one simple logic practiced around the world: ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse.’ Victory over ignorance happens to be no less important than any other preparation for success in life, period!
“I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately triumph than to triumph in a cause that will ultimately fail.” –Woodrow T. Wilson. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace efforts during and after the First World War, this 28th President of the United States from 1914 to 1918, Woodrow Wilson is generally considered by historians as one of the greatest presidents this country ever had. After making many efforts to keep America away from the war, he led the nation in attacking Germany. It was President Wilson who also negotiated the Peace Treaty after the War and the establishment of the League of Nations. Sure, he knew a thing or two about victory, and that too at such a massive scale where the entire world was in the grip of war. His best efforts bore fruit and led to a truce.
“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his head before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.” -Sun Tzu. He is considered to be one of the most skilled Military Generals of his time. Besides, he is also known as a tactician, writer, and philosopher. Some historians credit him with the compilation of war strategies now known as ‘The Art of War.’ A glance at Wikipedia tells us Sun Tzu’s “works focus much more on alternatives to battle, such as stratagem, delay, the use of spies and alternatives to war itself, the making and keeping of alliances, the uses of deceit and a willingness to submit, at least temporarily, to more powerful foes.” No matter how you may analyze the above quote, one thing is sure: you need prior preparation when seeking victory. Harder you practice, the more relaxed you accomplish your goals.
“Victorious forces first achieve victory and then conduct battle; losing forces first conduct battle and then seek victory.” –Unknown. Taking a cue from the strategies presented by the master of warfare as mentioned earlier, Sun Tzu, we already have a fair idea of various facets of preparation we must do, before jumping into the ring. Gaining knowledge over your adversary is as much important as oiling your own machinery, even more critical, as a matter of fact. Information about the strengths, weaknesses, tactics, support systems, and other surprise attack postures your adversary may deploy, all work together to give you an edge, and therein lies your victory.
Finally, what I like the most about victory and its sweet taste is the message Late President Mandela of South Africa gave us: “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is a danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” The first democratically elected black head of state, Mr. Mandela was a life-long Social Activist that fought against apartheid and brought it to an end. He received over 250 honors in his lifetime, including the Nobel Peace Prize. No wonder, the above quote brings out his genuine efforts to always put people ahead of his personal interests at all times. Without ever aspiring to be in the race for leadership, he became a people’s person and had presidency bestowed on him due to his continued struggle and suffering for the betterment of the masses.
I hope the gifted readers will find some reflection of their own feelings related to the subject matter I tried to bring up in the above post. In either case, I shall be keenly looking forward to your valuable opinions, and also feedback so I could learn a few things and correct my mistakes, wherever I might have erred.
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