Cornwallis

Cornwallis: Charles, 1st Marquis, 1738–1805, British general and statesman: surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, October 19, 1781.

From time to time I think about Lord Cornwallis.

Fortunately for me, history provides a bird’s eye view of the end result of almost any type of behavior.

If I’m willing to learn what happens in pursuing certain styles and mindsets, I can certainly avoid much stupidity and injustice.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Of course, so can you.

When I mention that I study a British general who’s been dead for well over two hundred and fifty years, you might have chuckled and thought, “What value could that have to my busy scanning of Internet life?”

The value is that Cornwallis had a perfect setup, with perfect conditions, and still managed to bungle it, arriving at an imperfect conclusion. At his disposal was the world’s most powerful and well-trained army—the British Regulars. They carried the best muskets, they manufactured the finest cannon and they certainly had the prettiest uniforms.

Their enemy was ill-prepared, ill-fitted and ill-equipped, and grew up believing that the British could not be defeated.

So at first, Cornwallis just rolled over these local yokels, making them appear to be fools. So sure were the British that they could defeat the American colonists that a decision was made to sub-contract the job out to German mercenary soldiers, called Hessians. “Cocky” would not even begin to describe the thinking of Lord Cornwallis.

But in case you don’t know the story, he lost. Finding out why he lost is what we call “the lesson of history.” It comes in two parts:

  1. Never underestimate an enemy who has more to gain than you do.
  2. Always remember that a battle is a fight, not a conversation over who has supremacy.

The Americans had their freedom to gain, so they had more fight. Cornwallis showed up with an army that had little to prove, and therefore had little fight.

I could learn from that. Matter of fact, I think I will.


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Cordial

Cordial: (adj) courteous and gracious; friendly; warm:

“It doesn’t work! Not nowadays!”

That’s the statement flung in my direction whenever I suggest that kindness, gentleness and being cordial is a viable option to bitterness, strife and animosity.

It seems the entire human race is frightened by the prospect that being merciful is setting them up, like a golf ball on a tee, to be driven far, far away by a funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
smack with a club.

Yet no one sits down and asks the simple question, “What happens when people are no longer intimidated by your bad attitude?”

You may frighten people off by being suspicious, nasty and unfriendly, but eventually, someone will be terror-free, and others will learn to shed their fear of you. Then they will come with torches and pitchforks, to kill the Frankenstein who was so rude to them.

That would be you.

There’s one thing for certain—no one has to go to bed nervous, asking him or herself, “Is my cordial attitude going to backfire on me?”

There’s a peace that follows being peaceful.

There’s a blessedness attached to being a peace-maker.

It is so precious that people will begin to believe that you’re a child of God.

The bravest thing you can ever do in your life is to refuse to fight, argue, attack and brutalize another human being. The risk is that they will still turn on you and destroy you while you stand there, helpless.

But there is the possibility that your unwillingness to draw blood in conflict with them will at least give them pause.

If you refuse to join the battle, any further attack makes them murderers if they kill you, not warriors.

Cordial people survive to have great-grandchildren and write the history books about those they out-loved.


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Clueless

Clueless: (adj) having no knowledge, understanding, or ability.

Three categories.

No knowledge: Hardly seems likely. In this information age, a decision to go without knowledge has to be a purposeful dodge to avoid it. It’s feasible, but even if we’re trying to escape, some of the volume still pierces our defenses. Therefore it’s difficult to use “no knowledge” as an excuse for avoiding responsibility.

No understanding: The ability to interpret the circumstances around us and come up with a suitable solution does require engaging our souls. If we’re just looking into a pool of self-interest or trying to ignore becoming connected with the people around us, we can certainly pretend we did not understand the severity of the situation.

Yet if you’re around someone who’s crazy and they threaten to do something drastic, it is unlikely that you can claim ignorance of the crime.

No ability: We might lack expertise. Expertise is achieved when we take the ability we have and teach it to be useful.

The concept of “natural talent” is humorous. The idea that our ability arrives intact and ready to go is mind-boggling.

Ability demands an obstacle course before it can be classified as capable of overcoming obstacles.

Clueless is a choice.

Attempting to remove oneself from knowledge, understanding and ability might temporarily give us the free pass of grace, but ultimately exposes us as charlatans who run away from the heat of the battle.

 

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Basilica

Basilica: (n) a building similar to a Roman basilica, used as a Christian church.Dictionary B

The battle will always rage.

It is the confrontation introduced by Judas to Jesus when he felt that the Master was foolishly spending money on unnecessary expenses instead of giving alms to the poor.

Honestly, as ridiculous as it is to spend a lot of funds on appearances, it is equally annoying to stand on the corner and lament the choices of others.

Here’s an easy rule I use in my life when deciding if I need a “basilica”–in other words, some edifice or evidence of my success and prowess. I ask this question all the time, and find it most beneficial. I use it for small things and for large decisions, and I find that if I’m candid, I always come up with the right answer, which enables me to avoid unnecessary financial loss, and usually dodge criticism from those who are ready to dole it out free of charge.

Here’s the question: Is this really necessary?

  • I do it with my time.
  • I do it with my family.
  • I do it with my underwear drawer.
  • I do it with my socks.
  • I do it with my car.

When you stop and simply ask yourself if the latest whim to build a basilica is actually going to adv ance your cause, or just burden it with debt, you’ll be astounded at how quickly your common sense will leap forward, attempting to take back control.

Even though I have many opinions on how money is misspent or how it should be given out in larger portions, ultimately it is up to the holder of the treasure … to decide what measure. 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

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