Petraeus’s Rule for Living

Yeah, that guy…General Petraeus


The current issue of NEWSWEEK is called The Heroes Issue.

It’s always inspiring to read stories of courage and sacrifice so this issue is worth buying if you don’t subscribe.

The back page is entitled “Petraeus’s Rules for Living.” He includes 12.

I’m going to keep this simple and limit a great list to the very first one he mentioned:

Take your performance personally. If you are proud to be average, so too will be your troops.”

Excellence is never easy, no matter how talented or gifted one is.

The thing is, no one can make you want to be great. Threats and fear do not motivate over the long term.

No one can will another person to stop smoking, or lose weight, or to fully use their gifts and talent.

You have to want it.

You have to have that inner drive that every truly great performer has.

If you are proud to be average…”

Stop blaming your company. Stop blaming your GM, or your PD, or your teammates, or a lack of marketing, or whatever excuse you use.

“Take your performance personally.”

Dare to be great!



*Note: I wrote this blog before General Petraeus resigned as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, citing an extramarital affair. There is rarely an excuse for dishonoring your wife or husband through infidelity, and I won’t attempt to excuse this behavior. For me, at least, this does not cancel a lifetime of service, and sacrifice, and courage. And it doesn’t change my opinion of his first Rule for Living.