Secret of Victory- By George S. Patton with Commentary by Jaffer Ali
What follows is one of the most significant treatises on business and success that you are ever likely to read. Of course it was not written with this in mind. This was published in a book called “Corporate Soul” written by Jaffer Ali and is being made available free in this e-book.
Patton meant to outline his philosophy for becoming victorious on the battlefield. Once upon a time it was vogue in business schools to read The Art of War by Sun Tsu and now it is time to learn from another warrior, General George S. Patton, Jr.
Those who are only familiar with Patton from George C. Scott’s brilliant portrayal in the 1969 feature film are in for a treat. Patton was much more than a warrior, although he epitomized what a warrior was and remains to be. He was a poet, philosopher, classicist and historian. He was a renaissance man in a field not usually known for embracing notions of reincarnation (in which Patton ardently believed) or for allowing discussions of Soul to permeate one’s discourse.
The following liberal excerpts from his essay are reprinted from Patton’s personal papers. It was written March 26, 1926 when he was a Major. He had not yet achieved the fame that was to be his in WWII. His references to The World War refer to WWI. The perceptive reader will immediately see the analogies between many facets of Corporate Soul discussed throughout this book.*
I have interjected commentary throughout. Patton’s words are in boldface type and my own words bracketed and in regular font. Patton’s prose has a poetic quality so the reader may first want to read all of the excerpts first and then indulge in the commentary. For clarity of purpose, I have taken license to edit his essay and italicize certain of his phrases that are of special relevance to the topic of this book. It is with profound hope that we all can learn about creating a successful organization as well as living a victorious life by listening to what this marvel philosopher/warrior has to say.
Despite the years of thought and oceans of ink which have been devoted to the elucidation of war, its secrets still remain shrouded in mystery… War is an art and as such is not susceptible of explanation to fixed formulae. Yet, from the earliest times there has been an unending effort to subject its complex and emotional structure to dissection, to enunciate rules for its waging, to make tangible its intangibility. One might as well strive to isolate the Soul by dissection of the cadaver as to seek the essence of war by the analysis of its records.
Yet, the impossibility of physically detecting the Soul, its existence is proven by its tangible reflection in acts and thoughts.
[Patton is a New Paradigm thinker who does not believe that we can reduce reality to formulas. When we dissect reality, we lose the intangible, human characteristics of Soul. He further believes that we come to know Soul by indirect means, its reflections in acts and thoughts. This is common to synchronistic events.]
So with war, beyond its physical aspect of armed hosts there hovers an impalpable something which on occasion so dominates the material as to induce victory under circumstances quite inexplicable.
To understand this ‘something’ we should seek it in a manner analogous to our search for the Soul; and so seeking we shall perchance find it in the reflexes produced by the ‘Great Captains.’
[Patton is not a philosophical materialist. He believes that “something” animates material and this something is what we have been calling Soul. When the Soul dominates, victory comes inexplicably. He further suggests that we can learn the secrets of success from past great warriors since it is in the reflection of greatness that we come to know it.]
But whither shall we turn for knowledge of their very selves? Not in the musty tomes of voluminous reports or censored recollections…nor yet in the countless histories where lesser wormish men have sought to snare their parted ghosts.
The great warriors were too busy and often too inept to write contemporaneously of their exploits… While what they later put on paper as biographies were retrospects colored by their vain strivings for enhanced fame… War was an ebullition of their perished past. The violent simplicity in execution which procured success for them and which enthralled the world looked pale and uninspired on paper; so they seasoned it…
[In order to understand the secret behind success, Patton challenges the way in which we get our information. Although Patton was a military historian, he had little use for historians. He thought of them like wormish business consultants. They could only write about greatness, not experience it. Great warriors are like great business men. Many do not write about what made them great because they are too busy being great. Those that do write about themselves often appear as if their PR departments wrote their biographies in their name. How can they capture the ebullition, which means overwhelming passion, of “their perished past?” They cannot! So often those giants fail to write about their greatness or make up things that sound good.]
So with the soldier. To pander to self-love and [human] urge he attributes to his acts profound thoughts which never existed.
The white hot energy of youth, which saw in obstacles but inspirations, and in the enemy but the gage to battle, becomes too complacent with age. The result of mathematical calculation and metaphysical erudition; of knowledge he never had and plans he never made.
With the efforts of the historians, the case is even worse… no matter when he writes, is by nature a man of thoughtful and studious habits utterly incapable of appreciating the roaring energy of a soldier… Colored by self deception, shaded by scholarly bookworms, our soldiers stand before us as devoid of life as the toothless portraits of Washington which adorn the walls of half our schoolrooms…
[Patton is cautioning against relying upon soldiers’ recollections as well as historians. We cannot apprehend the secret to victory with this often faulty information. A soldier’s diary written years after the battle does not capture the “white-hot energy” nor does it capture the inspiration or passion of the effort. Historians do no better in capturing the spirit of the soldier.]
Seeking obvious reasons for the obscure, we analyze their [warriors’] conduct as told by historians and assign as reasons for their success, apparent, trivial things.
Disregarding wholly the personality of Frederick, we attribute his victories to a tactical expedient, the oblique order of battle…Yet through the murk of fact and fable rises ever to our view this truth; ‘The history of war is the history of warriors; few in number, mighty in influence.’
Alexander, not Macedonia, conquered the world. Scipio, not Rome, destroyed Carthage. Marlborough, not the Allies, defeated France. Cromwell, not the Roundheads, dethroned Charles.
Were this true only of warriors we might well exclaim, ‘Behold the work of the historian,’ but it is equally the case in every human endeavor. Music has its myriad musicians, but only its dozen masters. So with painting, sculpture, literature, medicine, or trade. ‘Many are called, but few are chosen.’
[Patton betrays the position of his class here. He was born into wealth and privilege. He believes that understanding greatness lies in studying great people. Understanding personality, which Patton uses interchangeably with Soul, is the way to greatness…victory. Through the murk of trivial facts and exaggerations of fabled actions, the truth shines through. In every human endeavor, including business, we must get to know the masters. Are masters born?]
Nor can we concur wholly with the alluring stories in the advertising sections of our magazines which point the golden path of success to all and sundry who will follow that particular phase of ‘home education’ that they happen to advocate. “Knowledge is power,’ but to a degree only. Its possession per se will raise a man to mediocrity, but not to distinction. In our opinion, indeed, the instruction obtained from such courses is of less moment to future success than is the ambition which prompted the study.
In considering these matters, sight should not be lost of the fact…there is much similarity…between the successful soldier and the successful man in other professions. Success due to knowledge and personality is the measure of ability in each case; but…with the soldier success or failure means infinitely more as it must of necessity be measured not in terms of personal honor or affluence, but in life, happiness and honor of his men — his country.
Hence, the search for that elusive secret of military success; Soul, genius, personality — call it what you will — is of vital interest to us all.
[Knowledge itself is important but not sufficient to master a profession. At least its acquisition can lift a person to mediocrity, but not to the genius (master) level. Ambition in the individual is more important than obtaining information. This springs from inside and cannot be learned. Information without ambition is sterile. It must be infused with Soul for greatness.
One of the premises of this book is that we need different criteria for success rather than personal honor or wealth. Should not success be defined in terms of life, happiness and honor of an entire organization…even country…world? A Soulful organization judges its success using the same criteria Patton used for military success. Soul is of ‘vital interest to us all,’ and it is truly the elusive secret of corporate, military and life’s success.]
… A British writer has said, ‘The characteristic of war is its constant change of characteristic,’ but as ever the case with aphorisms his remark needs explanation.
There is an incessant and constant change of ‘means’ to attain the inevitable ‘end,’ but we must take care not to let these inevitable sundry means, past or predicted, attain undue eminence in the perspective of our minds. Since the beginning, there has been an unending cycle of them, and for each, its advocates have claimed adoption as the sole means of successful war. Yet, the records of all time show that the unchanging ends have been, are, and probably shall ever be, the securing of predominating force, of the right sort, at the right time.
In seeking a premise for the enunciation of the rules for the employment of this predominating force, we must cull from past experience, or study, the most permanent characteristics, select our weapons, and assign to them that importance which reason and the analogy of experience indicate that they will attain.
Bearing these considerations, and the definition of predominant force, in mind, we shall resume our search for the secret of victory.
No matter what the situation as to clarify of his mental perspective, the conscientious soldier approaches the solution of his problem more or less bemuddled by the phantoms of the past and deluded by unfounded or unproven hopes for the future…
[Patton begins his own dissection of what it takes to achieve success. We need to examine the means we use to reach our goals but stop short of believing that the same methods will work in every situation. We are reminded here of business panaceas that are touted by various consulting “gurus” who apply one method for all corporate ends. These go in and out of fashion. There is TQM, Just In Time inventory management, reengineering, etc. Victory and success cannot be reduced to a formula given to us from a book or consultant.]
In this scholarly avocation, soldiers of all important nations use at the present moment [a] method [that] not only familiarizes the student with all of the tools and technicalities of his trade, but also develops the aptitude for reaching decisions and the self-assurance derived from demonstrated achievements.
But as always, there is a fly in the ointment. High academic performance demands infinite intimate knowledge of details and the qualities requisite to such attainments often inhabit bodies lacking in personality. Also the striving for such knowledge often engenders the fallacious notion that capacity depends on the power to acquire such details, not the ability to apply them.
Obsessed with this thought, students… perish in a morass of knowledge where they first browsed for sustenance.
[Patton is not against attaining knowledge. This is an important attribute of success. He believes that it is essential to learn the technical aspects of one’s trade. But he is quick to note the limits of knowledge and the limits of the quest for knowledge has in attaining victory. Often those people with the most knowledge are those who have spent the most time in school. They acquire great detailed information and Patton believes that these are the people who are most in need of Soul. He uses the word “personality” but as we have seen he uses this word interchangeably with Soul.
Also Patton believes, quite correctly, that the ability to acquire knowledge in no way gives that person the ability to apply that knowledge. Whether we gain knowledge from military institutions like West Point or business schools like Harvard, academic excellence is not the secret to victory. We all know articulate idiots who possess reams of knowledge but lack any faculty for its practical application. Patton had little patience for these people.]
When the prying spade of the unbiased investigator has removed the muck… from the swamp of the World War, then the skeletons of many such military mammoths will be discovered. Amidst their mighty remains will lurk elusive the secret of German failure.
Beyond question, no soldiers ever sought more diligently for pre-war perfection. They built and tested and adjusted their mighty machine and became so engrossed in its visible perfection, their masterpiece proved inefficient through lack of the divine afflatus, the Soul of a leader.
[Patton believed that there was no war machine quite like the German machine prior to WWI. How could they be defeated? No amount of technical genius will substitute for Soul on the battlefield supplied by an inspired leader. No corporation with technical wizardry can lead to sustained success without inspired leadership infusing the enterprise with “divine afflatus,” which means inspiration. Soul lies outside the realm of visible perfection and therefore victory and success also lies beyond this realm.]
Here we must most vigorously deny that anything in our remarks is intended to imply belief in the existence of spontaneous untutored inspiration. With the single exception of the divinely inspired Joan of Arc, no such phenomenon has ever existed… We must require and must demand all possible thoughtful preparation, and studious effort possible, so that in war our officers may be equal to their mighty trust — the safety of our country.
Our purpose is not to discourage such preparation simply to call attention to certain defects in its pursuit. To direct it not towards the glorification of the means — study, but the end — victory…
[Patton believes that divine inspiration, or Soul, favors the prepared mind. He does not want to be misunderstood to sound as if he is against scholarship. Learning one’s trade is essential to success. He is not a dualistic thinker that believes in one side of the dichotomy to the peril of the other. His audience was to a group (fellow officers) who believed in the infallibility of reason…much like many of today’s corporate CEO’s and managers. So with his audience in mind, he continues to stress the limits of reason. He wants to direct the pursuit of knowledge toward the only purpose he has in mind… the end…victory.]
We must guard against becoming so engrossed in the specific nature of the roots and bark of the trees of knowledge as to miss the meaning and grandeur of the forest they compose.
Our means of studying war have increased as much as our tools for waging it, but it is an open question as to whether this increase in means has not perhaps obscured or obliterated one essential detail, namely the necessity for personal leadership…
All down the immortal line of mighty warriors the same is true. Hannibal, Caesar, Heraclius, Charlemagne, Richard, Gustavus, Turenne, Frederick, Napoleon, Grant, Lee, Hindenburg, Allenby, Foch, and Pershing, were all deeply imbued with the whole knowledge of war as practiced at their several epochs.
[Whether seeking to understand war or corporate affairs, we can not surrender to a view of reality that reduces what we are looking at to such minute details that we lose sight of the larger picture… the totality that represents the “grandeur of the forest.” The whole knowledge of war is necessary, but not enough.]
But also, and mark this, so were many of their defeated opponents. As has been pointed out, the secret of victory lies not wholly in knowledge. It lurks invisible in the vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident in the lightning — the warrior Soul.
There is no better illustration of the potency of this vitalizing element than is portrayed in the story of the ‘Maid of Orleans’ [Joan of Arc]. For more than 90 years prior to her advent, the armies of France had suffered almost continuous defeat at the hands of their British opponents. The reason for this state of things lay not in the inferiority of French valor, but in the reappearance of the foot soldier armed with the missile weapon — the longbow — as the temporary dominating influence on the battlefield. As a result of the recurrence of this tactical condition, France suffered almost continuous defeats with the result that her people lost confidence. They developed an inferiority complex.
Then came Joan, whose flaming faith in her heaven-sent mission rekindled the national spirit. Yet, as great as were her powers, it is idle to suppose that, all unschooled in war as she was, she could have directed, unaided, the energy that was produced. Like the fire beneath the broiler, she produced the steam…
[Patton is saying that the passion and energy emanating from Soul needs direction. What can guide this enormous power? Reason supplied by those who lack inspiration may possess enough faculties to direct even heaven sent passion and energy. Patton clearly believes that a leader is supposed to supply the passion, energy and Soul to an organization. This is another secret to victory.]
The happy coincidence of her ignorant enthusiasm and their uninspired intelligence produced the phenomenal series of victories which freed France.
It seems a far cry from the Virgin Maiden to the professional pugilist, yet there is much in the way of their similarity in their dominant characteristics. In all closely contested ring battles between opponents of equal weight the decision almost invariably goes to the fighter who is better endowed with faith, self-confidence, and a courageous spirit. But, we must again point out that no pugilist, no matter how confident or courageous, has ever succeeded over an enemy unless to his special attributes he has added the combined knowledge of, and skill at, his profession.
[“Ignorant enthusiasm,” which is passion without reason can team up with “uninspired intelligence,” which is reason without passion. Success can not be sustained without each other. One must learn about one’s profession, whatever it is, be it pugilist, warrior or CEO. But also skill without Soul is inert material. If we cannot combine or overcome the duality of Soul and reason within ourselves, a valid course of action is to ally yourself with the other half of the duality. If this combination conquered France, it should work for capturing a market!
Patton wants to reemphasize that no amount of inspiration can leads to victory without adding the combined knowledge and skill to the mix. Whatever is your profession, there is no short cut to victory or success that bypasses preparation.]
We shall now seek to evaluate and place in their just ratio the three essentials to victory; Inspiration, Knowledge, and Force (Mass).
Considering Napoleon as the apogee of military ability, we note that whereas he won many battles with numbers inferior to the enemy, he never lost a battle when he was numerically superior. In other words, even his transcendent ability was not equal, on every occasion, to the task of counterbalancing numerical inferiority…
So it was with Caesar. Against the Nervae he was a consuming flame, yet against Romans a successful contender. Grant in the Wilderness was as nothing compared to Grant at Donaldson before Vicksburg.
The three preceding cases represent the highest type both mentally and spiritually, but perhaps a shade more emphasis on the spiritual side.
By way of contrast we may note how the learned, but uninspired, Prussians of 1870 triumphed over the poorly led French while, in 1914, their equally uninspired descendents were far less successful in the face of better opposition.
We may therefore postulate that no one element, be it Soul, Knowledge, or Mass is dominant; that a combination of any two of these factors gives a strong presumption of success over an adversary relying on one alone, and that the three combined are practically invincible against a combination of any other two.
[Patton identifies the three essentials of success; Soul, which he uses interchangeably with many words including inspiration, Knowledge (reason), and Force (mass). We have spoken about Soul and reason, but what is this force-mass thing? My first reading suggested that Patton was in some way alluding to the equivalence of mass and energy. But Patton, though educated, was not schooled in the physics of his day. He was referring instead to the resources at a leader’s disposal. In war that would be armaments, gas, troops, etc. To the corporation, force would refer to capital and personnel.
He attempts to apply a ratio as to “how much” Soul, Knowledge or Force is required for victory. While admirable, this is not possible and he misses the mark. We cannot quantify Soul. But he does identify the likelihood of success if these three essentials are forged together. His methodology may be weak but his insight brilliant. Below he compares the state of US prospects for success against that of others. All CEOs need to do a proper analysis of the competition as well.]
Comparing our own resources as to mass with those of any other possible opponent or group of opponents, we strike at least a balance.
The demonstrated ability of our trained leaders in the past wars show that, so far as education is concerned, our officers have no superiors and few equals. This being so, victory will fly to or desert our standards in exact proportion to the presence, or absence, in our leaders of the third attribute [Soul]. Of what does it consist?
[US resources and knowledgeable commanders were at least as comparable to their counterparts. Patton squarely believes the decisive characteristic of victory lay in the development of Inspiration, Passion, Intuition, Creativity… those reflected attributes of Soul.]
As has been noted, the records of all trades and professions show that it is the rare individual, rising like a mountain peak through the clouds of billowing mediocrity, who attains success.
He starts from the same upper reaches, be it hill or hero; yet the cataclysm which causes the former is imponderable as the conditions which produce the latter. So it seems… so surely is the leader the product of obscure, yet ascertainable, circumstances.
The future happiness and existence of races cannot be relegated to the realm of uncertainty contained in the plausible but indefinite assurance that, ‘Genius is born, not made’…Certainly, despite a superabundance of educated aspirants [in WWI], none of the participants produced an inspired leader.
It would be impious to attribute this dearth to God alone. The system of military education, and be it noted, the universal system (of the draft) must be at fault.
[Patton does believe that genius can both be made and born. The old Nature/Nurture debate is not being taken up as an either/or situation. He overcomes this dichotomy by acknowledging Nature’s role then sets about to tackle the inadequate attempts at education of our leaders. His reasoning still holds true when comes to educating our business leaders.]
… ‘As a man thinketh, so is he’…contain[s] an infinity of truth. Dry knowledge, like dry rot, destroys the soundest fiber. A constant search for Soul-less fundamentals, the efforts to regularize the irregular, to make complex the simple, to assume perfect men, perfect material, and perfect terrain as the prerequisites to war, has the same effect on the soldier student…
[What a wondrously poetic way of saying that we can destroy our brightest students, our soundest fiber, by pursuing professional education without the fundamentals of Soul. In our military and economic educational institutions we spend much time on technical issues but little time on Soul. Patton is not an evangelist and he is not talking about religion…he is writing about searching and teaching about Soulful fundamentals that are secular, yet spiritual.]
War is conflict. Fighting is an elemental exposition of the age-old effort to survive. It is the cold glitter of the attacker’s eye, not the point of the questing bayonet, that breaks the line. It is the fierce determination of the driver to close with the enemy, not the mechanical perfection of the tank, that conquers the trench. It is the cataclysmic ecstasy of conflict in the flier, not the perfection of his machine gun, which drops the enemy in flaming ruin. Yet, volumes are devoted to armaments; and only pages to inspiration…
[How true this is! Recalling my own business education, few pages were devoted to inspiration, values, responsibility, passion, and the essence of greatness. These less formal topics have a place in the classroom and boardroom. If one, as a leader, could spark the “cataclysmic ecstasy of conflict” in a WWI pilot, if one could foster and inspire the creative impulse of a computer programmer, lift the passion and energy level of a sales force, or develop a vision for your department or company utilizing the many faceted gifts of Soul, then you will distinguish yourself. You will poke your head above the clouds of mediocrity.]
Obsessed with admiration for the intelligence which history has ascribed to past leaders, he forgets the inseparable connection between plans, the fruit of the intellect, and execution, the fruit of the Soul… Hugging the notion of ‘intelligence,’ he pictures armies of insensate pawns moving with precision of machines…
Doubtless, he further assumes this same superhuman intelligence will translate those somber sentences into words of fire, which shall electrify his chessmen into frenzied heroes who, heedless of danger, shall dauntlessly translate the stillborn infants of his brain into heroic deeds.
Was it so with Caesar as he rallied the 12th Legion? Could the trackless ether have conveyed to his soldiers via the medium of radio waves the inspiration that Napoleon imparted by his ubiquitous presence when before Rivoli he rode five horses to death, ‘To see everything for himself’?
Staff systems and mechanical communications are valuable, but above and beyond them must be the commander. Not as a disembodied brain linked to his men by lines of wire and radio waves, but as a living presence, an all pervading visible personality.
[Patton eloquently pleads for uniting the intellect and Soul. Reason can be substituted for intelligence in his writings. He does not want our Reason to dehumanize our troops into insensate pawns. It is interesting to note that a Tibetan Monk thinks executing simple tasks like washing dishes can be a Soulful experience and yet we treat even our most momentous activities as if Soul were nonexistent. Patton believes executing plans must be Soulful if success is to be gained. This is not achieved by treating soldiers or workers as if they were machines devoid of feelings.
A leader must convey passion to the troops. Napoleon rode five horses to death! Patton was always near the front lines and showed himself to the troops in WWII. He took his own advice. If you run a department or company and you do not show yourself to the “troops,” how can your passion be conveyed? By memo? By telephone? E-mail? Nothing replaces the connection between leader and follower face to face.]
…[The secret of success lies] in the inspiring spirit with which [commanders] so inoculated their soldiers as to lift weary footsore men out of themselves and to make them march, forgetful of agony, as did Massena’s division after Rivoli or Jackson’s at Winchester…
The ability to produce endurance is but an instance of that same martial Soul which arouses in its followers that resistless emotion defined as élan…it is akin to that almost cataleptic burst of physical and mental exuberance shown by the athlete when he breaks a record or plunges through the tacklers, and by the author or artist in the creation of a masterpiece. The difference is that in the athlete or artist, the ebullition is auto-stimulated. With an army, it is the result of external impetus — leadership.
[When you build an organization or department, it is up to the leader to infuse the enterprise with that vital spirit. When your people are weary you must arouse them. You must supply them with energy. I depart from Patton when he suggests that athletes supply their own energy. In team sports this can be achieved from the roar of the crowd or an inspiring talk from a Lombardi or Riley. But it is the case that good leaders bring passion to their profession.]
In considering war, we must avoid that adoration of the material as exemplified by scientists who deny the existence of aught they cannot cut or weigh… History as read does not divulge the source of leadership. Hence, its study often induces us to forget its potency.
As a mirror shows us not ourselves, but our reflection, so it is with Soul and with leadership. We know them but by the acts they inspire or results they have achieved.
[Here is Patton’s simple statement against philosophical materialism. He does not want to reduce reality to things you can cut or weigh. There are other things that exist beyond that which we can measure…like Soul.
We get to understand Soul indirectly. Jung called this method “circumnabulation” or talking around a subject to elucidate it. Patton comes close to the Biblical analogy of knowing a tree, “by the fruit it bears.” We see the Soul at work by its fruit.]
Like begets like. In the armies of the great we seek the reflections of themselves and we find: Self-confidence; Enthusiasm; Abnegation of the self; Loyalty; and Courage.
Resolution, no matter how so adamant, mated to knowledge, no matter how so infinite, never begat such a progeny.
Such offspring arises only from blood lines as elemental as themselves. The leader must be incarnate of them…
[When like begets like, Patton is suggesting that we reap what we sow. If we have dignity, honor, passion, and Soul then we will receive this type of effort from those around us.
We see reflections of the Soul in the traits great leaders have exhibited. Resolving to acquire these traits does not insure their acquisition. Even when that resolution is wedded to “infinite knowledge”, there is no progeny without Soul. Only when these traits emanate from the Soul does the leader emerge from its expression.]
There are certainly born leaders, but the soldier may still overcome his natal defects by unremitting effort and practice… The enthusiasm which permits the toil and promises the achievement is simply an all-absorbing preoccupation in the profession elected.
Loyalty is frequently only considered as faithfulness from the bottom up. It has another and equally important application; that is from the top down. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of the great (who remained great) is unforgetfulness of and loyalty to their subordinates. It is this characteristic which binds, with hoops of iron, their juniors to them.
A man who is truly and unselfishly loyal to his superiors is of necessity so to his juniors, and they to him.
Courage, moral and physical, is almost a synonym of all the foregoing traits. It fosters the resolution to combat and cherishes the ability to assume responsibility, be it for successes or for failures.
Can a man then acquire these characteristics? The answer is: they have — they can. For, ‘As a man thinketh, so is he.’
The fixed determination to acquire the warrior Soul, and have acquired it to either conquer or perish with honor, is the Secret of Victory.
— Maj. George S. Patton Jr.
March 26, 1926
[Patton does not want to give the impression that we cannot overcome “natal defects.” Through perseverance of spirit and study, a leader can become great. He must be selfless toward his men and courageous in assuming responsibility. How often have you seen managers run for cover to avoid responsibility? It is all too often common. Its practice can never lead to greatness.
Patton comes full circle and gives hope to those not born with all the natural gifts from the Creator; “As a man thinketh, so is he.” This combined with the journey to acquire not only knowledge but the Warrior Soul is the path to victory. This journey is a sacred journey for every profession. Those who instinctively understand this are given a gift from above. Those who come to understand that that this Soulful journey itself is what makes greatness will prevail.]
* A note about Jaffer Ali.
Jaffer is a serial entrepreneur and currently is the CEO of PulseTV and is a long time online advertising executive. He has published over 200 articles on politics and business. His interest in Patton spans over 30 years and this little known essay of Patton’s first appeared in print in a book entitled, “The Unknown Patton”.
The Secret of Victory with commentary by Jaffer appeared in his book, “Corporate Soul”.