The Price of Inflexibility

I discovered this quote by Napoleon Bonaparte which states that “The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” A number of leaders fail because they lack the flexibility to adapt in the face of changing landscapes. They allow unexpected changes to their plans to paralyse them. We all get emotionally attached to our plans that we can lose all objectivity when results and others tell us that we are heading the wrong direction. Some leaders get bogged down by failed plans that they are unable to pick up the lessons from them to create and execute new ones.

It is said that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Our successes can make us complacent and create the illusion that we are smart, whereas posterity will prove that we were just lucky. Mistakes can, however, provoke us to reflect on what happened and how we can prevent it from happening again. The leader who succeeds is the leader who realises that there is a lesson to learn in both his mistakes and his successes. The leader who succeeds is the one who refuses to be bogged down by his mistakes or become complacent by his successes.

It is ironic that Napoleon would eventually fail to heed his own advice. He underestimated the strength of his foes and overestimated his own. His inflexibility and unwillingness to compromise would cost him the French empire and lead to his death on the Island of Saint Helena as a prisoner of the British.

7 Comments

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7 Responses to The Price of Inflexibility

  1. this Got me thinking .. thank you spiritually as well if i am so set in my way How can i achieve more i am limited by what i know … and as all thing start from there my Victory lies in ma flexibility as God does amazing things to my shape and and ma life .. wow

    thank you Sir

  2. Chiedu

    nice post,
    I hope more people will read this and heed the wisdom in been flexible.
    A rule of life for the successful is to be flexible in their thinking ( see life as an adventure).

  3. Valencia

    thank you for this..i think the word for this season might be complacent…i realized just how much limitation you put on yourself when you’re not aware of whats going on around you…question how do identify your mistake if you were doing the right thing but it still went wrong?if that makes sense…love you x

  4. Samuel

    Don’t they say that change is the only constant in life (i don’t necessarily agree with this), but it makes it pertinent that in everything we do…. looking out for the signs of change and adapting oneself to meet its challenge is a must to excel!

  5. Adelaide

    Valencia, even if you are doing the right thing you can still make mistakes;
    1) You can underestimate your oponent/circumstance (being complacent).
    2) You can do the right thing wrong because of your attitude, motivation and also assuming you know or understand what the person/circumstance need or want.

    The bottom line is as the writer said there is always something to learn both in your mistakes and successes.

    The question is are we open minded enough and lacking in pride and prejudice to do that?

  6. Ogechi

    So what I’m understanding is that it’s ok to review my mistakes in case I have another chance to do something over.
    I think pride keeps people from reviewing their mistakes. I mean, first of all, you gotta admit you’ve made a mistanke and that there’s a different way to do something.

    Failing at something is like a challenge for me to make sure I get it right. Since all things are working together for my good, ‘failing’ is not allowed to be a bad thing in my life.
    Failure is like a caution focus and pay attention, isn’t it? Isaiah 30:21! It does not have to be a dead end, I choose to see it as a wake-up call.

    Ola, where did u find that pic… how appropriate!

  7. Tamara

    I’ve enjoyed this one and all the contributions. Thanks all, this is serious food for thought.

    The pessimist often finds himself beating himself up when he fails and the trouble sometimes with the optimist is looking quickly to the bright side and starting afresh but not learning the lesson from the mistake.

    It is true, with being flexible I realise that…..wisdom after all is the PRINCIPAL thing!

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