What Hannibal can teach us about taking command of our life and mastering our own fears

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Most people hear the name Hannibal, and they think of Dr. Hannibal Lecter of “Silence of the Lambs”, the people eating evil genius.

However, that’s not who I am talking about. I am talking about Hannibal Barca, one of the greatest military commanders that ever lived. Napoleon himself, referred to Hannibal as a great strategist, and if you study his tactics during the 2nd Punic war, you will agree.

Hannibal was 26 years old when he was made commander-in-chief of the army of Carthage. He immediately went to work by expanding Carthage across the Tagus river. On his way back to Carthage, he was met abruptly by an attacking coalition of Spanish tribes. This is where we first see Hannibal’s genius strategy at work.

During his trek from Saguntum to Cannae, there were several pivotal moments in Hannibal’s strategy that I believe we can learn from, that may be counter to anything you might have heard or learned before. My hope is that it will instill confidence in you, and give you a new found energy.

Youth has nothing to do with being able to lead or command

Hannibal was only 26 years old when he took over as commander-in-chief of the Carthaginian Army. He had a zeal for warfare and a mind for strategy.

While most 22 year old kids today are out partying the night away, playing video games, or wanting to be the next great Fortnite or YouTube Stars, Hannibal was fighting against the Romans (one of the greatest empires), …and winning.

Those strategies that people use in video games actually originated with Hannibal and his genius military strategy.

It is said that Hannibal was

In fact, one of the most widely used quotes today was coined by Hannibal.

I will either find a way, or make one - Hannibal

Hannibal said this when he crossed the Alps with 20,000 infantry, 6,000 Calvary, and 37 elephants. What seemed like an insurmountable obstacle was seen as merely a speed bump that he needed to go around.

Hannibal was young, but he had unwavering confidence, and trusted in his abilities.

Bro, this guy had elephants, and he trampled his enemies with them. He crossed the Alps with them, and then he fought Against Rome and just kicked them in the gonads.

Hannibal, was a bad-ass! He did this all before he was 30 years of age.

Youth has nothing to do with anything. When God plants something in you, and you know that you were born to do it, then do it with supreme confidence.

Hannibal knew what he was born to do, and he did not let anything else deter him.


 

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When faced with impossible odds, Hannibal was strategic

Possibly the greatest example of strategy that Hannibal used was when he was going through the Alps, and went through a narrow canyon. Most of the time, troops had their weakest soldiers in the rear. However, Hannibal, knowing that he might be attacked moved his strong troops to the rear and put his weakest up front.

As they traveled through the canyon, they were attacked from above by rocks, and from the flank. The Gauls believed that Hannibal would be weakest at the tail end, but Hannibal had been prepared to meet them there.

They defeated the Troops that tried to flank, and escaped the ruthless avalanche of rocks from above.

Hannibal, knew there was a fight going on, he was alert at all times, and worked hard to remain one step ahead of his enemy.

We, like Hannibal, have enemies. Ours may not be other soldiers. For us it’s:

  • Pornography

  • Alcohol

  • Video Games

  • Hobbies

  • YouTube or Netflix

  • Women in general

  • Other Addictions

We need to know our weak points, because the enemy does. There is an enemy, that’s the first thing you have to realize. There always will be.

Things might seem impossible to overcome, but they can be, and with some strategy you can win, just like Hannibal.

Here is your strategy:

  1. Learn to understand your enemy. Everything about it or (him)

  2. Anticipate and be aware of how your enemy wants to trick you, defeat you, and deceive you

  3. Train for battle or combat (Fitness, Mindset, Relationships)

    • Read books that help you

    • Get on a workout program or do CrossFit

    • Surround yourself with other men who are wanting the same things

    • Train yourself like you are preparing for war, because there is one going on whether you can see it or not.



Hannibal had unwavering confidence

Hannibal knew he was destined for greatness, whether he was told this by his Father or family, or whether he manifested it around him, he knew what he wanted to do.

There was no doubt n his mind who he was and what he was going to do.

Most successful people will tell you the same thing, they just know deep in their gut that they have a calling, and they do everything they can to aim at that target.

In his book “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results”, Gary Keller, says that we should “Go Small”.

“Going small” is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you make your focus.

Fear is our only limiting factor. Hannibal seemed to be immune to fear, it just simply wasn’t in his vocabulary. Every time that he had the opportunity to turn heel and run, he didn’t. He moved forward with brilliance.



One of the things that made Hannibal so confident was that he had such clarity on what it was that he wanted to accomplish. He found the “One Thing” that made everything else he did worthwhile and driven.

Brian Tracy, in his book “The Power of Self-Confidence”, says the 4 C’s of Inner Confidence are:

  • Clarity

  • Conviction

  • Commitment

  • Consistency

Hannibal had mastered the 4 C’s. He wanted to conquer Rome, and he almost did it, but his own troops back home were losing ground, and Rome had changed their tactics when they realized they would never beat Hannibal in a face to face confrontation.

Putting it all together

Lessons from Hannibal’s life can be applied right now.

  • Youth is not an excuse not to lead or take action, and it’s not a valid reason for someone not to give you a leadership role.

  • When you come to an obstacle in your life, that seems insurmountable, rethink your strategy. There is always another way. You might have to put on some overalls and do real work, but it is another way. Don’t settle for something that you don’t want/

  • Develop Confidence. Create Goals, have conviction for those goals, stay committed to them and be consistent every single day as you work towards them.


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