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Agoraphilia - Pertinax

Here's an excellent historical lesson in leadership. Read Tom Bell's description of Roman Emperor Pertinax who reigned for 87 days in 193. It is a lesson in noble naivete.

There are members of my family that love the history of the Roman Empire. We frequently hear shouts of "Strength and Honor" as if Russell Crowe has entered the house.

To live with honor is a noble venture. It is difficult and often lonely. To live with strength requires the nobility of honor for it to fulfill the good that it can. Strength requires character and confidence. Honor requires humility and recognition of others as the object of one's service in life.

This is the noble understanding of public service. Sadly, we are too often presented politicians for whom strength and honor become narcissism and public pandering to the weakest elements of society.

Tom Bell's Pertinax is a reminder that even in the midst of the crisis the Roman Empire experience, a good man can ascend to power. What he or she must do to live with both strength and honor requires them to lead, and not merely follow their handlers.

There is another story that I have heard both Tom Morris and a rabbi tell. It is the story of the cloak of two pockets. It goes...

Everyone should have a cloak with two pockets. In one pocket, a note that says, "I am but dust." In the other, a note on it is written, "For me the world was made."

Tom tells this story to illustrate nobility and humility. The nobility of having a great and grand purpose for one's life. The humility to understand the world does not revolve around me and my purpose. Paradoxical notions, yet in balance produce the kind of leader Pertinax may have been.

Strength and Honor.

Humility and Nobility.

Words to live by.

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