WHILE ATTEMPTING TO FULFILL his dream of world conquest, Alexander the Great and his army wintered one season at the gateway to Asia; the city of Gordium. A shrine had been built in the center of the city where generations earlier, two gigantic ropes had been tied together to form an exceptionally complex knot. This knot, known as the Great Gordian Knot, was a symbol of the impenetrability of the Asian continent. The legend of the great knot, inscribed on a nearby gold tablet, read:
"Whosoever untieth this knot, and altogether breaketh the bonds thereof, the same shall become ruler of all Asia."
MANY POTENTIAL CONQUERORS had unsuccessfully attempted to untie the knot and subsequently failed to conquer Asia. Due to these repeated failures, the people of the region believed the knot possessed a mystical power that prevented it from being untied, and thereby protected them against foreign invaders.
THE LEGEND AND PROMISE of the knot fascinated Alexander the Great. Determined to succeed where so many others had failed, he struggled to untie the great knot for days. Unable to find the end of the gigantic ropes, he couldn't discover which portions of the knotted rope to pull. Each unsuccessful attempt seemed to tighten the knot. Herein was the strength of the knot. If one could not find the end of the ropes, there could be no successful attempt to untie them.
UNSCATHED BY HIS FRUITLESS attempts and never willing to accept defeat, Alexander changed his view of the problem. Entering the shrine one morning, he confidently strode to the great knot and studied it intensely for several minutes. Then, turning as if to walk away, he suddenly and quickly drew his sword, wheeled around to the great knot and with one enormous blow, sliced the knot in half. The bonds of the Great Gordian Knot broken, Alexander conquered Asia.
HOW DO WE APPROACH THE "Gordian Knots" in our lives? As investors, we encounter several seemingly impossible tasks on a regular basis. These impossible tasks may include allocating time, finding suitable opportunities, and financing transactions. Tasks, however, are not impossible. The way in which we view tasks only makes them seem impossible. Our view determines whether we progress or stagnate, whether we solve each challenge or simply give up. Looking at things differently unlocks our creativity as it did for Alexander. Creativity provides the solution. Our view empowers our creativity. Our attitude determines the scope of our view.
A WISE MAN ONCE SAID, "It's only the view from where you sit that makes you fear defeat, but life is full of many aisles, so why don't you change your seat?" Overcome fear and cynicism, open the scope of your view, empower your creativity, and slice through the "Gordian Knots" that stand in the way of your success.