Karl von Clausewitz said, “If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.” This incite discovered in a book my freshman year has inspired me to become a leader modeling the principles of von Clausewitz. I believe that a true leader has a strong will, high ambitions, and audacity.
For a leader to be accepted, respected and followed without question, he must enact on those principles. When I refer to leader, I am referring to leaders of men in situations where their safety or success rests on the person next to them. Whether it is in battle, sports, or in the field, without a leader who embodies the principles, the leader and his command will fall.
I have been the Trek Leader of a High Adventure Troop for the past three years. Each year we partake in tackling some of California’s most challenging terrain in 60 mile backpacking hikes. As the leader of the group I must show strong will and determination in the face of hopelessness. I am always the first up the hill to inspire the rest of my command and in doing so I show great determination to achieve the impossible. I have seen the affects of this when three sick men traversed 1000 feet in 1 mile to 10,000 feet. In being a good leader I inspire will and determination in others.
Ambition is the key to success. Leaders who have ambition motivate their men to new heights and above their supposed limits. The desire of one in a situation of defeat promotes heart in the ones they are leading. I epitomize true desire because I don’t look at the challenge I look at what will be achieved. The challenges scare men, but instill desire and all obstacles can be overcome.
Audacity, this is the riskiest part of being a leader. What can be achieved can be great but what can be lost can be even greater. However, a leader cannot live in fear because otherwise obstacles cannot be overcome. There must always be courage in the face of obstacles and failure. Risk is always involved in audacious decisions, but risk now then perfection to late is always better. Courage will inspire your men, make the impossible possible, and teach your men to trust you. In the middle of a hike and carrying a heavier pack because a man can’t carry his own weight makes audacious decisions justifiable. Five miles left seems impossible but an aggressive move for what could be impossible will result in great accomplishments from the men.
Audacity, Ambition, and Will make a great leader. Lead from the front with these principles in mind and you will inspire your men to do great things. Courage will shine through, a desire realized, and unwavering Will achieved is due to great leaders. “A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances.” ~ General Patton
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