Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on May 06, 2008

A man who could have ruled the Roman Empire but instead returned to his small farm to be with his family.

This man, Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus lived 2500 years ago, at the rise of the Roman Empire, and over the ages, he’s been considered an outstanding example of a person who would humbly surrender power for the good of his fellow citizens.

Cincinnatus’ story especially touches us now when we see presidents and dictators grab more power but it has been true throughout history as leaders have always lusted to rule.

In 458 BC, Rome was under such a severe military siege, its very existence was threatened. In desperation, the Senate pleaded with Cincinnatus to become dictator and rule the city/state and defeat Rome’s enemies.

At first Cincinnatus hesitated, knowing that if he didn’t sow his crops, his family could struggle to survive. But seeing how dangerous the situation was for all the Roman people, he quickly made arrangements to take care of his family and accepted the throne.

Just 15-days later, under Cincinnatus’ brilliant leadership, the Roman army defeated its enemies and the Roman people could live in peace and prosperity.

But rather than rule the Roman Empire, or even accept the military honors due him, Cincinnatus tendered his resignation and returned to his small farm, grateful to have been of service.

In 439 BC a revolt took place in Rome and the Senate again asked Cincinnatus to rule and to put down the revolt. Again he was given absolute authority. At 80-years of age he put down the revolt and as before, resigned his office to return to his small farm to live in peace.

More than 2000 years later, George Washington would remember Cincinnatus’ example when in 1783, he refused his Army’s desire to make him a dictator and instead surrendered power to the Congress and returned to his home. Years later a grateful public elected him the first President of the United States and today he is an American hero.

Often leaders who have held enormous power hope to be remembered throughout history. Few of them are. Today you may recognize Cincinnatus’ name from the Ohio city of Cincinnati or from the New York town of Cincinnatus or the Italian community of Cincinnato.

But if you are a serious student of history, you may already recognize his name and be aware of the wonderful influence he’s had on many humble leaders throughout the ages.

Success Tip of the Week: If today’s political turmoil concerns you, take heart. It just may be that a Cincinnatus is waiting in the wings ready to lead honorably in a democratic society or help restore one to its prior stature.

In the next KazanToday: From the mouths of babes.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!