29 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Twenty-Nine: “With a King Like This to Lead Us…”

With today’s episode we’ll move on from the Spartans, the consummate Warrior Collective, to the paramount individual warrior in history—Alexander the Great.

Today we’ll tell two stories of Alexander that demonstrate his style of leadership and the ideals he aspired to as a man and as a king.

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here

65 Comments

  1. anil reddy on November 23, 2020 at 6:41 am

    I really like the kind of simple written article so people can understand it and people can understand what message the author wants to convey. Your style is very unique but it’s easy to understand what you want to say in this discussion.
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  2. Andrew+Lubin on November 23, 2020 at 6:59 am

    A good moto speech lasts about 3 minutes, or until you walk away and start thinking about what you’ve been ordered to do.

    When I was walking up a mined minefield in Afg, knowing the officer who ordered the patrol it was leading gave me the confidence that we’d make it. We all did, which increased our confidence and trust in him for future ops. That’s Marine leadership lesson 101: never order your men to do something you won’t. Sikunder Gul knew it, but it seems a lost art today.

  3. Siraj Anwer on November 23, 2020 at 8:55 am

    The combination of two archetypes that developed great leadership qualities in Alexender is explained beautifully in this episode.

  4. Scott Mitchell on November 23, 2020 at 10:24 am

    It would be interesting to know where Alexander got his concept of leadership. He was devoted to Homer, kept the scroll texts under his pillow, so they say. But Homeric behavior is more about chest-thumping and the challenge of individual combat. So it must have been his father Philip. As I recall, Philip as a youth was a hostage in Thebes, where he soaked up lessons on military strategy and leadership by the example of Epaminondas, who beat the Spartans. Then again, maybe such lessons are known instinctively, such as by the Marine officer referenced above.

    Very interesting shift from the Warrior archetype to the King archetype.

    • Brian Nelson on November 23, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Scott,
      Very interesting question about where Alexander got it. As a career military guy, I’ve come to believe that leadership is trainable. That is not to say some people have greater God-given talent in this capacity, but I think this video series alone, and most of Steve’s writing (both fiction & non-=fiction) are great lessons in leadership.

      Sports are another classroom for leadership. While the Marine Officer Andrew mentioned may have higher than average talent in leadership, I would credit his actions in Afghanistan to his training, Marine culture, and is superior leaders who set the example/expectations in theater.

      As for the ancients–maybe we can credit our mirror neurons for learning others’ successful behaviors.
      bsn

  5. Joe Jansen on November 23, 2020 at 10:51 am

    This is another good one. I love the image of Alexander dumping precious water. “If you don’t drink, I don’t drink,” and the boisterous response of his phalanx. Thinking of how we’re inspired to follow a true leader by virtue of our love for him or her (contrast with its shadow, where enablers follow out of fear or desire for their own personal power).

    In the genuine love that troops feel for the leader they can tell also loves them, I’m reminded of this short video where Mattis is “ambushed” by young troops in Afghanistan. You can feel the love moving in both directions.

    https://youtu.be/WnyYhTk1OUg

    • Andrew lubin on November 23, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Joe; what an outstanding example of the bond between a CO and his troops!!

  6. Brian Nelson on November 23, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    “…A King does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field…”

    Joe,
    As always with a terrific bonus to Steve’s written or spoken word. I truly don’t know how you are able to find such terrific videos. Mattis 2020…oh, that’s over, Mattis 2024.
    When he said, “…rambunctious…” you saw the twinkle in his eye.
    Andrew,
    I agree 100% that it is the actions of the leader that instill confidence. Marine Infantry Officers are certainly a cut above.

    I have not read the archetypes book Steve recommended, nor am I well versed in Jungian psychology. It is my rudimentary understanding of the archetypes as growth stages. I cannot help but think that to be a King, one must first be a successful Warrior. Could you imagine Alexander the Great, King Leonidas, General Eisenhower having a special dinner at a fancy restaurant violating their own rules during a pandemic?

    One of my brother’s former shipmates was telling me about a study someone did with Tylenol. The students who took Tylenol were less empathetic afterwards. I find this to be so interesting, and yet so intuitive. If we shelter ourselves from the pains of the world, we are unable to feel the pain others are suffering.

    Steve–is there a way you can make this video course mandatory for all elected government leaders from City to POTUS?
    …the cynic in me thinks they would either not get it, or believe they are ‘sacrificing’ for all of us.

    Great stuff again. I feel late to the party. Had a busy morning, and missed my Monday morning dose of Pressfield.

    • Brian Nelson on November 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      I thought I should pull a Joe Jansen and actually cite my reference. Here is very short article in at AmericanHealth.org about the empathy killing side-effects of Tylenol:http://americanhealthcouncil.org/4599/

      There are articles in Washington Post, The Epoch Times, and a few other news organizations, but AmericanHealth struck me as the most credible/without agenda.

      Some of the scientists talk about the neuro-chemical reactions, and what parts of the brain Tylenol impacts.

      That may be true, but I think, in context of this video series–it is sheltering oneself from pain that is the problem. It is not how King Leonidas nor Alexander the Great operated. Maybe there is a clue here about how we operate with our nearly obscene wealth in the US. How we treat one another. How we look at other countries. How we look at other points of view.

      I’m more of an Advil guy when trying to numb a headache, and I haven’t seen any studies about Advil numbing empathy–but my suspicion is that it does. Maybe it numbs our spirit. Maybe there is a certain amount of pain, we as human beings, need to see and act with compassion, kindness, and to see clearly.
      bsn

    • Joe on November 24, 2020 at 11:01 am

      Brian,

      I try and bookmark the good stuff when I see it. It also doubles as evidence of my Resistance… surfing instead of working. Don’t tell my wife I’ve been looking at videos instead of sending stuff out, or she’ll make me go get a job at the knife counter at Cabela’s.

      • Brian Nelson on November 24, 2020 at 3:39 pm

        Insert side-headed laughing emoji!
        bsn

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  8. Jim Gant on December 2, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    A tiny glimpse into what Steven Pressfield taught me about combat leadership through his understanding of ‘warrior ethos’ and ‘combat leadership’…this understanding manifested itself in the characters in his books…Dienekes, Alcibiades, Alexander, Junah and of course, Telamon. Thank you Steve. Thank you.

    I figured out a long time ago how I wanted to treat my men. I knew there was something special, a way in which to look at the men who were put under my care. I could not think of any greater gift than to train men and lead them in combat. Combat to me was, and always will be the ultimate test for a man. I knew that I cared for my men, but how would I frame that care on a daily basis? It came to me one day out of the blue…I would treat my men like I would want someone to treat my own son. Do you understand? How much would you want the leader of your children to care for them in battle? How hard would you want them to train prior to war? In Afghanistan when I would look at the members of my team, often times I would see their children’s faces, and even sometimes, children who were not even born yet. I would see their futures. They were more important to me than life itself. Would you not want a man leading your son, who loved him as much as he did his own children? One who would gladly give his life for them? To this day my greatest sorrow is that I was unable to give my life for my team so that they would know for eternity how much I loved them. In my own mind when I thought or spoke of my “team”, it said my “family”. The terms were one and the same.

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    A very interesting episode of your program, thank you. I want to add on my own that Alexander the Great was recognized as one of the greatest military leaders in history back in ancient times and his name was actively used in political propaganda. In the Middle Ages, one of the most popular books in Europe and a number of regions of Asia and Africa was The Novel of Alexander, which filled the biography of the title character with fictional episodes. I noticed that the release of your program, which you shared, is posted on YouTube, but it has very few views, I advise you to use the services of https://soclikes.com/ in order to quickly and inexpensively wind up views.

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