What George Washington teaches us about Success

I was reading an article the other day about our first president George Washington, and how there are certain “American Success” principles to be drawn from him.  I completely agree that George Washington is a man in whom one can look up to and strive to better himself by.  However, I felt this article had many things wrong.  Feel free to read the full article by Logan Beirne here: FoxNews Article on George Washington

Lets examine the three characteristics they highlight and why I think they are wrong, but on the right track.

1. “Insecurity”

In this article Beirne notes the first characteristic of success as “Insecurity.”  I feel they have mislabeled and misrepresented this characteristic.  Perhaps this is due to the self-image of the author himself?  I think a better analysis would show that the proper characteristic is Humility.  Humility should drive us to our knees in acknowledging and accepting our faults, weaknesses, and failures.  Humility should also drive us to better ourselves, and surround ourselves with people who strengthen, encourage, and push us toward the God exalting greatness within us.

Insecurity is counterproductive and makes the focus on ourselves.  While Humility is productive in that once we see ourselves for who we really are, we are able, through Christ, to move forward by knowing the value that He places on us.  This is what a dear friend of mine calls the difference between Self-Esteem and Christ-Esteem.

2. “Sense of Superiority”

“After one particularly gruesome battle, Washington wrote his brother, ‘I now exist and appear in the land of the living by the miraculous care of Providence . . . . I had 4 Bullets through my Coat, and two Horses shot under me, and yet escaped unhurt.'”

Beirne wants to portray this as Washington’s sense of personal and American Superiority.  I personally see this quote as evidence of Washington’s faith in his God’s Superiority and in His calling.  I do not disagree that the Founding Fathers believed their cause was a just and superior cause, but I believe that their basis for this belief is in God’s anointing of it, not upon their own strength.

3. “Impulse Control”

Beirne provides a fair assessment of Washington here, but yet again fails to properly label the characteristic. Impulse Control is only part of a bigger characteristic.  I believe that to be Vision.  When we set our eyes upon Christ and whatever Vision, goal, betterment, or task that He has given us, it allows us to ignore the trivial and immediate gratifications of today as we strive to keep our focus on the goals of tomorrow.  I remember having a conversation with a karate student who was without direction in life a few months back.  I didn’t ask them what they wanted to be when they grew up or where they wanted to go to college.  I asked them what did they want to be like 10 years from now, and what did they want to be doing?  I then followed that question up with, what have you done today or mold yourself into that person?

For me personally, I feel that God has called me to teach the Bible.

Should I then spend all my time checking Facebook, playing on my phone or Ipad, or playing video games?

If I feel that God has called me to teach the Bible, should I spend all my time learning physics?

If I feel that God has called me to teach the Bible, should I spend all my time teaching karate?

Of course the answer is NO.  Lets face it, time is the one commodity you can’t buy, get more of, or get back.  There is nothing ethically or intrinsically wrong with these activities.  Some can even be good, while others are rather frivolous.  We all need time to relax and unwind, but many of us spend all our free time relaxing and unwinding or goofing off.  Then we look back at our life and wonder why we are the same intellectually, physically, and spiritually as we were 5 years ago.


I challenge you to make the changes in your daily and weekly routine to grow yourself intellectually, physically, and spiritually into the person that aligns with the Vision God has given you!  If you don’t have a clear vision yet, grow yourself into the person that God can use for the vision He has set aside for you.  As the old saying goes, we ask God why He hasn’t given us a Vision for tomorrow, all the while He asks us why we haven’t done what He wanted us to do today.

Sensei Brown

Wake Forest Christian Karate & Kobudo

Matsumura Shorin Ryu Karate & Kobudo