Book: Alexander the Great: The Macedonian Who Conquered The World

Author: Sean Patrick

Genre: History / Biography / Motivational


When we look at the genius personalities in history, we tend to think that their gifted talents made them great and unique among others. There are, however, lot more key behaviours that determined their pathway to greatness – not only just the innate talent. In my previous article, I have written about one such characteristic of geniuses: ‘The power of imagination‘ (Which is preceded by curiosity). Author Sean Patrick took the example of 19th century inventor Nikola Tesla to point out the importance of curiosity in making one a genius. In his next book Alexander the Great: The Macedonian Who Conquered The World, Patrick introduced us to another great characteristic of genius- “Drive”

“Drive” is the will to persist and overcome. It is an attitude of perseverance. To never give up and to never accept defeat.

Patrick shows how this characteristic of drive made Macedonian King Alexander as one of the greatest military commanders in history. Born in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored under Aristotle. At an early age of 20, he became the King of Macedonia. He then led his army of 40,000 towards east and began a series of military campaigning which lasted over 10 years. He conquered most of the world known that time, a span of 22,000 miles across Asia. With his wits and clever war strategies, Alexander never lost a single battle throughout his conquests. He founded some 70 cities in the lands he conquered and continued to campaign until his sudden death with fever at the age of 32.

What’s more interesting is- How did Alexander get the will to push himself physically, mentally, and spiritually beyond the impossible? What actually drove him to achieve this feat of conquering the world where nobody has matched since? How do geniuses like Alexander find the energy and confidence to believe in their abilities until they reach their goals?

It seems like a crucial element that is operating behind the drive of every genius’ story.

The Purpose of life !

Yes. Purpose of life is the fuel of our ambitions. It is the knowledge of what one really wants, and a burning desire to possess it. It gives our goals meaning and creates our destination. Throughout his life, Alexander was very clear about his purpose. His ambition was to conquer and civilize the known world. He stuck to it no matter what the obstacles came in his adventure. His drive and will power were inspired by his sole purpose of becoming a conquerer. This is the power of purpose. It keeps us alive and gives us ultimate happiness.

Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above it.”

Washington Irving, Author.

What do you think your purpose in life is?

Are you spending your time on the things that really matter? Are you doing anything that create meaningful value, long term growth and fulfilment in your life? Are you excited to get to the work that you are doing everyday? Do you still enjoy doing those tasks if you don’t get paid?

If your answer to these questions is ‘no’, you may need to think about the real purpose in your life first. We can only become fully engaged in life when we feel that we are doing something that really matters. As long as the work we do has no meaning in it, we can’t love it to the core. When we don’t love it, we can’t excel in it. This is what we learn from every genius’ life. “Geniuses don’t work long and hard from a begrudging sense of duty. They do it because they have a strong desire to give everything they’ve got to a project and see it through to the best of their abilities”, Patrick says.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”

Howard Thurman, Philosopher

Once you awaken your purpose, the drive will give you will power to overcome the odds in your pursuits. So, ask yourself. Take time and decide what you really want from life.

The road to become genius and the journey to greatness.. actually begins from there !

-Mani