Facing challenges, problems or "everything" for that matter...

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I was saying to myself a while back that as much as I know the name Napoleon Bonaparte, that he lost at Waterloo and was somewhat vertically challenged, I really didn't know anything about him.

 Lo and behold, on Christmas day under the tree was a gift from Santa - The book NAPOLEON (Soldier of Destiny) by Michael Broers. That Santa Claus is brilliant; year after year, always getting me what I want.

As I finished the book's introduction there were four insights regarding Napoleon that immediately resonated with me; if truth be told, they have humbly given me further perspective when I am facing challenges, problems or "everything" for that matter.

Insight one: Napoleon lived during the French Revolution, notorious for being one of the bloodiest periods in modern civilization where no one was spared the gory violence; where at any moment your friend could turn you in as a counter - revolutionary and where the steady thud of the guillotine blade meeting flesh and bone became a white noise.* Every day was literally a life and death proposition.

  • There are some very harsh realities that can come your way... count yourself lucky if you aren't dealing with them. In the end though, you still have to work through whatever you are dealing with.

Insight two: In 1793, having to flee Corsica for their very lives as a result of "La Vendetta"**, the Bonaparte family literally found themselves washed up on the shores of France, alone and without a penny to their name. Napoleon, although not involved in that desperate flight off the island, was at that time the head of the family and very much part of his family's fate.

  • Circumstance, sometimes outside your control, can take everything away from you. It is important in the most literal sense to still be standing so you can continue on.

Insight three: Following the destruction of the family wealth, status and home, it took Napoleon Bonaparte six years to become the ruler of France in 1799.

  • Where you are now, and where you want to be, are mutually exclusive... sometimes getting there can happen much faster than you think. 

Insight four: Napoleon Bonaparte wrote his own history - He knew what he wanted and was bold enough to take it. Granted, there were times he elected to "re-write" some of his history, but in fairness, he did rule France.

  • Know what you want and be bold enough to go after it!

All of this and I've just read the book's introduction.

Before I get back to my book, there is one last insight - It's worth taking the time to search out people's stories, their lives, their challenges and triumphs... each and everyone a window into the strength and wonder of the human condition. You never know, it may lead you to where one day people are reading about you.


* Mallary A. Silva-Grondin & HowStuffWorks.com Contributors "How the French Revolution Worked" 27 February 2008.

** A feud between two families that arises from "slight, injury or killing of the member of one family" by a member of the other family, leading to long-lasting animosity and retaliatory acts of blood revenge... "If you offend him, he will kill you by a gun or by a stab..."