Napoleon’s Ample Self Esteem.

by Daniel Russ on April 23, 2018

Post image for Napoleon’s Ample Self Esteem. Napolean Bonaparte

 

Napoleon was a workaholic. He planned warfare all day and all night when he wasn’t attending high state affairs. He woke and slept at odd hours and when he asked for an aide to show up, they had to be ready. A position as an aide to napoleon was no sinecure. In fact, it could be a death sentence. At least three aides died of exhaustion or stress related to their job all before 1807. Indeed, Napoleon quipped that in his administration “the lucky man is one who hides away from me in the depths of some province.”

 

He pursued goals with unrelenting ambition. He once said “even when I have nothing to do, I feel I have no time to lose.”

 

Napoleon told his aides not to wake him with good news, only with bad news. He understood that bad news meant something had to be fixed instantly. Statesman Goethe  felt that Napoleon had a mind like no other. “The Emperor has the highest intellect which was ever granted to a human being.” He is said to read everything he could get his hands on, especially classical literature. He retained so much of it. He also constantly sought-after data. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why he rarely suffered a defeat. He tasked his aides with bringing him options and recommendations based on facts and discernable facts at that. He demanded body counts and proper distances.

 

He said that in planning a battle “I am more pusillanimous than anyone, I magnify for myself all the evils that are possible in these circumstances.” He had a certain perspicacious intuition about people. He did not trust appearances or people’s arguments. He saw ego as the driver of most peoples’ decisions. In managing people he shrewdly found their weaknesses, their needs, their hard points. He would need this skill as he led men into battle for two decades.

 

Napoleon occasionally made mistakes. Marching into Russia after Alexander played him like a violin. He lost a lot of his army in Spain. He lost a letter that showed he intended to invade Turkey. He underestimated how the Germans would react to French sovereign rule in Switzerland.

 

But often enough he won huge battles and defeated mighty armies and his own mystique grew such that he became equivalent to the French Empire. Like Louis XIV, he was France. His pride was enough to convince him that he would be immortal. Did he actually believe he would survive death? No,  he probably knew he had a permanent place in history. He said to Monsieur Bourrienne, his aide- “Well you too shall be immortal.”  Bourrienne said “Why?” Napoleon answered “Are you not my secretary?” Bourrienne replied, “Then General, tell me the name of Alexander’s secretary.”

 

“Power is my mistress. I have worked too hard at conquest to let anyone take her from me, or even covet her.” He also knew he was smart and he knew people thought he was smart. “…people know me well enough to know that there is more in my little finger and all the brains in their heads.” In 1810, he fulminated on his legacy and felt that Europe was too small for him. He wanted to conquer huge tracts of land the way Alexander took Central Asia. About his legacy he said “What I am I owe to strength of my will, to character, application and audacity.”

 

I always say that I have never really seen anything worth a shit that wasn’t attached to a healthy ego. Napoleon’s ego was quite healthy.

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