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3 Awesome Success Strategies from the Greatest Military Leader in History

This guest post was written by How To Get Lean, Strong & Bulletproof course member, Ridwan Mao

Let me take you back to 2002...

Apple just released its second-gen iPod, and everyone was crowding movie theaters to watch Attack of the Clones and The Lord of the Rings.

Nickelback, Nelly, and Avril Lavigne were playing in the background of every store you walked into.

And Kelly Clarkson just won the first ever American Idol.

Now imagine that instead of secretly listening to Vanessa Carlton sing A Thousand Miles on your 20GB iPod at the gym that year…

...you'd spent from then until now fighting the most powerful army in the world.

Even worse:

It was on their turf.

Just to get there you had to cross the Alps during winter, on foot, with 50,000 men following your lead.

With no guarantee that you’d even survive the journey before the war.

Well, that’s what Hannibal Barca did.

And here’s how you can use his story to:

• Develop unbreakable, laser-like focus

• Overcome any obstacle you face

• Know deep down that you’ll succeed once and for all

All without feeling burned out, frustrated or overwhelmed.

Create Laser-Like Focus

First off, Hannibal didn’t go to war in 2002.

He left his country in 218 B.C., and fought for 15 years to accomplish a single, burning mission:

Conquer Rome.

He lost thousands of men but never lost a single battle.

And he pushed for his goal so viciously and consistently that the Romans considered him a force of nature.

But he was just a man.

Fundamentally, no different to you and me.

And his epic story has some nuggets of wisdom that can help you become the hero of your own life.

Strategy vs Force

On August 2nd, 216 B.C. in Southeast Italy, 50,000 men in Hannibal’s army faced 80,000 Roman soldiers across an open field.

The Romans came in planning to overpower his smaller army through brute force…

…and in the end, lost almost their entire army in one battle.

Now, Hannibal realized he couldn’t force his way into defeating 80,000 men.

So he used their size and strength against them.


By feigning weakness in his front lines and then enveloping their troops when they pushed forward in a ‘pincer’ strategy.

The Romans were quickly surrounded and the bloodbath that followed is still written about to this day.

Every soldier on that field witnessed a miracle.

But Hannibal simply saw his plan in action.

The same way you can’t out-train a bad diet, you can’t succeed by pouring more effort into a poor plan.

An effective plan, though, will overcome any challenge.

And let’s be honest:

Every goal has obstacles built-in.

So, for your plan to be effective, it needs to include what you’ll do when you face them.

Hannibal’s carefully-planned strategy allowed him to fight harder, for longer…

…and the same is true for you.

Having a Grand Vision

Somewhere inside you is a clear picture of exactly what it is you want.

You know what you want your life to look like, how you want your family to see you, and what would make you feel confident and fulfilled.

But as long as that picture stays hidden or out of focus, you’ll keep falling into the “pit of apathy”.

That’s the halfway point to any goal where the motivation wears off.

Things get hard and you forget why the heck you wanted to do all of this in the first place.

But here’s the good news:

This is normal and predictable.

So instead of sinking, you can see it coming from miles away and leap over it.

Simply by asking yourself three questions:

1. As specific as possible, what is your goal?

2. What will happen to you or your life when you achieve it?

3. And why does that matter?

Write your answers down.

I guarantee this goes deeper than a specific body fat percentage or a weight on the scale.

Put your answers somewhere you can see them.

Use that vision of your deepest, realest desire to guide you.

Emotion is essential.

Now, most people don’t realize that Hannibal’s father passed his mission on to him.

He believed their country would never know peace as long as Roman power remained unchecked…

…and he died in battle without achieving his dream.

Hannibal then took it upon himself to fulfill his father’s ambition.

And at no point during his 15 years of war was he willing to turn back or compromise on his goal.

All of his problems were outweighed by his vision of conquering Rome to free his people and honor his father.

And here’s what that means for you and me:

You don’t need to lead all the men in the country.

You simply need to create a burning vision to lead yourself towards.

Creating a Canvas of Support

Now, I want to let you in on the biggest lesson in all of this.

In the end, Hannibal didn’t win his war.

When he finally made it to Rome, his government didn’t send him the reinforcements he needed to finish what he’d started.

And he had to retreat home.

He pushed away the people whose help he needed the most.

And his army walked through hell…

…only to lose.

Now as warriors like Hannibal, we feel like we have to shoulder every challenge we face and keep moving forward.

(Especially if it’s for our families)

We bottle it up, put our heads down, and trudge along...

...until we no longer can.

Support is that added edge that takes you from tired soldier to successful hero.

Like a net under a trapeze artist, it’s there to catch you when you fall.

So you can learn how to bounce back, improve and become stronger than ever.

But without that net, you risk plummeting towards apathy and learned helplessness.

So, how do we start applying this in the real world?

By simple things like:

- Sharing your goals with the people you’re closest to

- Asking for their support and encouragement

- Inviting them to join you in your journey

And if you can, get a coach.

Someone that’s with you every step of the way and ensures you get to your goal in the shortest possible time.

Win the Battle Against Yourself

The first and best victory is to conquer self

- Plato

Developing long-term, laser-like focus comes down to a few key things:

• Having an effective strategy instead of simply trying harder,

• Tapping into your deepest desires and motivations, and

• Creating a canvas of support

And, ironically, the most profound lesson of all comes from Hannibal’s greatest enemy.

After 15 years, the Romans finally defeated Hannibal and his army.

The reason?

They never gave up.

And here’s the bottom line:

Right now, you have the power to choose.

What do you want the next 5 or 10 years to look like?

The next 15?

Then realize that the only person who can make that happen is you.

The future’s in your hands…

…and the time to start shaping it is now.

- Ridwan


Ridwan Mao shows busy men simple, practical steps for improving for their bodies and lives.

You can read more of his work at ridwanmao.com


Roman Army & Chariot Experience By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

American Idol Experience By Josh Hallett from Winter Haven, FL, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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