“Only the Strong”

Transcript of an award winning speech I gave on September 9th, 2014.

You are sleeping peacefully when you are startled awake by a strong shove.

“Wake up ya lazy bum!….Duty calls!”

The sun is rising, the air is strangely silent, and it is your turn to keep watch over the enemy.

You have them completely trapped in a vice grip.

They are surrounded on three sides by rugged, snow-capped mountains, and on the fourth by an impregnable fortress – held by your seasoned ally.

You – and your fellow band of warriors – currently occupy the foothills guarding the only safe passage that could possibly allow them to escape.

Victory is yours – or so you think.

The year is 335 B.C. – and you are a member of an elite barbarian tribe who have chosen the wrong day, and the wrong enemy.

For you – my unlucky friend – are about to be vanquished by Alexander the Great – and his finely trained Macedonian war machine.

You take your place in your spotters nest, and gaze into the valley below.

The entirety of the enemy army has gathered in the early morning mist.

The infantry – with their iron-tipped spears and tempered brass armor – glinting in the sun.

The cavalry – easing their horses into a gentle trot, as they make their way to their appointed place.

You watch as they form into a complex and organized unit and begin a dazzling display of parade-style drill maneuvers – in complete and utter silence.

Not a command is spoken – nor a voice heard.

Nothing but the sound of men and weaponry – slicing through the vacant air.

Never in your years of military service have you seen the likes of this mesmerizing event.

“What skill!” you think.

“What perfection!”

Time passes as you continue to watch, and you find yourself edging closer – and closer to the action.

Half terrified….
Half enthralled…
COMPLETELY hypnotized…

Little do you know, but Alexander has been watching you and your brethren – waiting – for the right psychological moment.

And that moment has come.

He gives a pre-arranged hand signal, and out of nowhere the ENTIRE cavalry SWINGS to face your location and CHARGES at full speed – while THOUSANDS of infantrymen simultaneously beat their spears against their shields and let out a resounding Macedonian war cry –

“A-LA-LA-LA-LAI !!!”

The sound echoes and reverberates through the surrounding mountains as you RUN for your life.

You feel the earth tremble beneath your feet as the cavalry closes in like a bolt of lightning – the breath of stallions, hot against the back of your neck.

You trip over a large rock – and the last thing you see before you are trampled underfoot by thousands of thundering hooves, is the Macedonian ground

– rushing to meet you –

face to face.

You have just been victimized by Alexander the Great and his short – yet unprecedented career – as conqueror of the entire known world.

The account you have just heard has been called one of the most eccentrically brilliant strategies in the whole history of warfare.

So how did he do it?

What made Alexander so great?

Throughout his life Alexander was seized by an irresistible urge – a longing for things not yet within reach –

for the unknown,
far distant,
and unattainable…

If stopped by the difficult, he would try the impossible..

And succeed.

He would not accept defeat.

He didn’t just try – he DID!

He achieved the impossible every single time, and conquered everything in his path.

We too can achieve the impossible – if we simply learn how to implement this Alexandrian stubbornness in every aspect of our everyday lives.

How many times do we find ourselves trapped in the middle of some seemingly unsolvable problem?

Surrounded on three sides by mountains of hopelessness and despair…

A solid brick wall of a fortress – blocking our only way out…

Not to mention those barbarians hiding in the hills…

Let us not falter in the face of adversity.

Let us climb those mountains with purpose!

Let us SMASH through that fortress with the strength of a conqueror!

Let us slay those barbarians with pure achievement!

Let us grasp – and pull – until we reach that which we long for…

Let us work – and strive – until the unknown has become a familiar friend…

Until the far distant had become our closest neighbor…

And until the unattainable is comfortably in our possession .

Let us not try…

Let us DO!

Alexander the Great has gone down in history as one of the greatest military strategists of all time.

All because of his inability to accept defeat, and his will to win at all costs.

Let us emulate him and reap the benefits of a life that consists of achievements, not mere attempts.

This irresistible urge to conquer everything in his path became Alexander’s downfall, however.

One of his veteran officers was quoted as saying to him, “Sir, if there is one thing above all others a successful man should know – it is when to STOP!”

Alexander didn’t know when to stop, and it made him a LOT of enemies.

One night – at a banquet he held in honor of the miraculous return of his naval fleet which was thought to be lost at sea – he was handed a large cup of unmixed wine.

He drained it down in one gulp – and instantly shrieked aloud as if smitten by a violent blow.

He collapsed in a heap, was carried back to his quarters, and put to bed – most likely the victim of poisoning.

He became increasingly sick over the following days, and finally, on the twelfth night after the banquet, he found himself lying on his death bed – surrounded by a group of his officers and friends, who were anxiously wondering amongst themselves who would take his place as their king.

Alexander – during his voracious conquering spree – never found the time to produce an heir.

One of his officers approached the dying king, gripped his hand carefully, and asked him in a gentle voice…

“Who, sir, do you bequeath your kingdom to?”

Alexander lifted his head weakly, and whispered in a fading voice…

“To the strongest…”

and proceeded to breathe his last, as his head dropped down onto his silken pillow.

These are prophetic words that we need to apply to every aspect of our lives.

For to the strongest…goes the kingdom.

To the strongest…goes the spoils…

To the strongest…who achieve the impossible…

Who try not….but DO!


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