Most people have heard of Genghis Khan ….the great conqueror …. the ruthless warrior and the empire builder. They claim that he had more wives and produced more offspring than any other man in history. He was born around 1162 into a world that was very tribal,harsh and divided. He died in 1227 and had united the basics of Eurasia. This is amazing for a man who tried to avoid war throughout his life.
Despite his many wives and numerous offspring, his empire was passed onto his four sons by his first wife (Borte Khatum). Between his sons and his grandchildren, they conquered most of Russia, Eastern Europe , Islamic Middle East, China and India.
The end to their world empire came suddenly (around 1330) with the advent of the Black Plague that wiped out millions of people all over their empire and became a major reset of history.
I tried to study his life from another perspective. What rules did he live by and what lessons can be learned from this great man. Here is a summary of what I learned:
- Loyalty is more important than kinsmanship. The least trustworthy are the opposing elite and the most trustworthy are the people from the lower classes that you elevate.
- Conflict should be avoided, if possible try to negotiate with the enemy from a position of strength. Most conflicts should have their origin in the other side provoking it.
- Torture was not acceptable under any circumstances. Death was to be swift and as bloodless as possible.
- Learn from your enemies. He learnt technology of war, literacy, mathematics, culture and many other skills from the people he conquered.
- To win in a war it is as important to spread fear in the heart of the enemy as to win on the battlefield.
- Have tolerance for all religions and be secular.
- All alliances are temporary and will change with circumstances.
- Ego is the biggest cause of a down fall, if you cannot swallow your pride you cannot lead.
- Speak through your actions and not your words. A leader can never be happy until his people are happy.
- Live simply. It is easy to forget your vision when you have fine clothes, fast horses and beautiful women. Learn to manage your desires.
- Have a vision, goals and purpose for your life. It is easy to get lost.
- Do not expect your children to be sensible and loyal to you.
For me his beliefs and life lessons are most relevant in today's world.