King Solomon was an ancient Jewish philosopher and monarch who lived over 3,000 years ago during Israel’s golden age. Best remembered for the unparalleled wealth and wisdom he acquired in his lifetime, he stands as arguably the greatest philosopher king the world has ever known. By some estimates, he amassed over $2 trillion and was sought by sages and rulers of kingdoms near and far for his incomparable sagacity.
This leads us to ask: What made King Solomon great? What made him stand out among the thousands of ancient kings who lived before and after him? What were the secrets of his success? Having researched extensively, below are some of the answers I unearthed.
- Wisdom—King Solomon was not only a man who sought knowledge but also a man who sought wisdom. He is one of the few rulers who falls under the coveted title of the philosopher king.
From a young age, he knew that, in order to set himself apart from his peers, he had to seek wisdom over fortune, knowledge over fame, and understanding over power. He knew that, if he sought wisdom and knowledge, fame and fortune would come.
King Solomon clearly understood the benefits of wisdom, a few of which are captured below:
- Wisdom allows you to see what others cannot see: hidden opportunities, traps, hidden friends, and secret enemies. You are able to deal shrewdly with your enemies and wisely with your friends. You are able to reduce the number of your adversaries and multiply your friends.
- Wisdom allows you to do what others cannot do; it allows you to learn to succeed where others fail. Although King Solomon ruled over a small country, he managed to outwit his neighbors––not by force, but by diplomacy––and he ended up ruling a territory far larger than any of his predecessors.
- Wisdom brings you honour. Monarchs came from near and far to pay homage to King Solomon. Alexander the Great, who conquered the whole world with his sword, is largely forgotten, whereas King Solomon, who conquered the world with his sagacity, earned far greater honour and glory.
2. Courage—King Solomon was brave, even for a young boy. Some scholars speculate that he was about 15 when he assumed the throne. Not letting age deter him, he immediately solidified his rule by getting rid of his brother and general, both older than him by 40 years, for attempting to usurp him because of his age. He also dealt with hostile neighbouring rulers, who saw him as easy prey. Not one to shy away from taking risks, he spared no expense in expanding the kingdom’s military and infrastructure. He took risks that leaders ten times his age would have thought twice about taking. King Solomon preferred to face his challenges rather than run from them, his courage allowing him to achieve great things.
- Character—In order to succeed in business and life, people have to trust you—and in order for people to trust you, people have to have faith in your character. King Solomon built a reputation as a virtuous man; all throughout his realm and yonder, he was known as a man of honour. This also inspired the loyalty of his subjects. Too afraid of lesser men taking his place, they kept him in power for as long as they could.
- Generosity—King Solomon gave a lot of his wealth away, investing a significant portion of it in public works. A good number of his celebrated wise sayings point to the fact that he was a practitioner of great generosity. Why?
- When you are generous, you not only win the hearts of those you are generous to, but you also win the hearts of onlookers.
- When you are charitable, it directly or indirectly makes people beholden to you.
- Being charitable has been scientifically proven to release the “feel good” hormone—the endorphin—which increases one’s lifespan and helps fight stress, the underlying cause of 99% of the world’s illnesses.
- Whatever you give, you receive multiplied. Therefore, givers—not takers —become rich.
5. Excellence—King Solomon was a teacher and practitioner of excellence. His building projects, especially the Jerusalem temple, were ancient wonders. People came from all over the world and were left in awe, furthering his fame and glory.
His writings, all literary masterpieces, have lived on; scholars, sages, and saints continue to study him. Two thousand years after he penned The Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, the maxim “as wise as King Solomon” has endured, a true testament to his remarkable diligence.
- Spirituality—The spirit of something is its essence. Human beings are spirits housed in a body; taking care of your spirit, therefore, is taking care of everything else. King Solomon was able to achieve all that he accomplished because he took care of his inner man. He enriched his inner man, and therefore, his inner man enriched him.
The benefits of spirituality include:
- The universe yielded all of its secrets to King Solomon. He had access to what could only be understood by the divine.
- King Solomon’s spirituality made him wise, courteous, compassionate, and generous. It gave him all of the qualities that draw people to, and not away, from a leader.
To help you on your own journey to success, be it financial, personal, or emotional, below are 20 insights I conjured up.
- Your talent is a blank check.
- All play and no work makes Jack a poor boy.
- Work as if you will die tomorrow. Play as if you will live forever.
- Life begins at the end of your fears.
- Don’t let the noise of mediocre people drown out the symphonies of your genius.
- Conquer your fears before they conquer you.
- Breaking from the herd is better than getting lost in it.
- In a world full of daisies, dare to be a rose.
- You cannot harvest the fruits of success without having cultivated the seeds of excellence.
- Critics are loud, but success is louder.
- Use your enemy’s arrows for firewood.
- Overnight success happens after a lifetime of sweat.
- Seek to be the smartest person in a room, not the loudest.
- Listen to all, believe few, and count on some, but trust none.
- Generosity is inverted prosperity.
- Raise your thoughts, not your fists.
- What you seek for others you find for yourself.
- Embrace all. Help some. Trust few. Harm none.
- A lifelong learner is a lifelong winner.
- Live each day as if it were your last; love each day as if you will live forever.