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Studying Patience

"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, love, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience." -Tokugawa Ieyasu

In the late 1400's, the ruling Ashikaga Shogunate of Japan became weak and lost its hold over the country. A many-sided civil war broke out, thus beginning the "Sengoku Period" - known as one of the most bloody and lawless periods in Japanese history, but also an era of some incredibly most heroic leadership.

Eventually, "Three Great Unifiers" came to power and ended the conflict through victory. These three were Oda Nobugana, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

In the end, Tokugawa Ieyasu won, and his family ruled Japan for the next 250 years. However, he's probably the least popular of the three great unifiers in Japan.

Nobunaga is popular for having an incredibly fierce, martial, masculine spirit. At one point, the warrior-monks of the Honganji allied themselves against Nobunaga and harried, harassed, and ambushed his armies. The Honganji provided supplies, spies, and information for Nobunaga's enemies and sometimes faced them in direct combat.

On Loyalty and Empire-Building: Muhammad and Khadijah, Hideyoshi and Nene

I've scoured the books of history looking for trends - why did this person succeed, when that one failed? Why did this movement shape the world, while that one died out? Why did this nation win, and that one lose?

Some people think accidents explain history. Perhaps accidents explain some of history, but certainly not all. You see common virtues among those who succeeded, and frequently you see common vices among those who failed.

Of the common virtues, the successful seem to have an immense amount of loyalty and reverence for the people that "got them there," revering and celebrating them even as they bring more and more people to their banner. The people who break from their early friends and supporters usually end poorly, in an isolation of their own making.

You can see this with two men that had the biggest impact on their respective cultures - Muhammad in Arabia, and Hideyoshi in Japan.

Both men were low born, but came to be hugely influential. There are a number of similarities in their stories. They both found and married an exceptional, charismatic, diplomatic, high born, highly intelligent woman relatively early in their careers. The wives of these men - Khadijah to Muhammad, Nene to Hideyoshi - were their first, most passionate, and largest supporters when few else believed in them.

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