In 483 BC the king of Persia, a man named Xerxes set out to conquer the Greek mainland. (You may remember Xerxes as the main bad guy from the movie “300”). Xerxes attacked Greece to avenge the failure of his father, Darius, who lost a major battle against the Greeks at a place called Marathon about a decade earlier.
In order to get his army over to Greece by land he had to build a bridge over a strait of water called the Hellespont. His engineers started construction on the bridge but before it was finished, a terrible storm came and destroyed all the progress they had made. Xerxes was so upset at what happened that he had every engineer beheaded then sent soldiers down to the banks of the strait and actually had them whip the sea 300 times for its failure to obey him and comply with his plans.
I have always been fascinated by the scene of men whipping the sea as Xerxes looks on. Obviously the sea had no control over the storm that caused the failure of the bridge. The beheaded engineers had even less to do with it. But either way, Xerxes took factors that were out of anyone’s control and placed blame anywhere he could. This same mentality would later lead to the defeat of his army.
I can’t help but wonder how many of us look at events in life that we have no control over and blame them for our own failures or lack of success. How easy is it to curse the economy for a failed business, the loss of a home or a broken marriage? How long do we hold onto those excuses before we look inside and realize that even though bad things happen, we can decide to how to react to them?
Do you stand at the banks of the river and whip the water for not cooperating with your plans; or do you look at what happened and figure out a way to come back stronger? The decision is yours. Even if the world crumbled around you, the choice to give up or get moving would still be yours.
There is always a way to move forward!
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