Wednesday, June 12, 2013


If you have been following my blog, you've probably seen this analogy before, but I will still recap.  Niccolo Machiavelli helped usher in an era of political realism, wherein instead of discussion how things ought to be like classic political philosophers did (such as Plato and Socrates), he discussed how things were.  In doing so, he came to terms with the reality that sometimes good leaders are going to need to do evil things.  What people tend to oversimplify as “the end justifies the means” is more Machiavelli’s understanding of the workings of luck, or “fortune”.  Fortune is a fickle mistress, and in order to be the most fortunate, one needs to have the greatest degree of flexibility in their leadership.  A leader who refuses to bend will eventually break, but a leader who is willing to use every tool in their toolbox when their use becomes necessary is one that will prosper and maintain rule and stability over his people.  One is not evil for the sheer sake of being evil, but for the sake of being a good leader when doing evil becomes necessary.

Maybe tone it down a little

How do we apply this to training, and specifically the notion of property as it relates to your training program?  The impact is twofold, the first being that careful analysis of your training is absolutely necessary in order to know what will and will not work for you.  Machiavelli’s political realism necessitated a thorough understanding of your present situation in order to develop a strategy.  One could not simply be an idealist and do what will work in a perfect world, but instead employ the strategies that are necessary in our fractured and imperfect reality.  If you have prior injuries, certain movements may need to be removed from your toolbox.  If your work capacity is garbage, Smolov just plain ain’t going to happen for you.  Use this reflection to discover your weaknesses so that you know what needs addressing.

The second aspect of this concept is knowing that you cannot be married to a movement.  Your loyalty exists to progress and progress alone.  It doesn't matter how much you like a movement, if it is not helping you reach your goals, it is worthless.  Additionally, it does not matter how well something works for everyone else if it does nothing for you.  Do not let your people starve and your kingdom fall because you are unwilling to commit the evil of squatting above parallel, for fortune is a fickle mistress, and she favors those who can adapt to her changing whims.  

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