General Norman “Stormin Norman” Schwarzkopf is a famous U.S. Army General, spending 35 years in uniform, and most notably remembered for his leadership during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Not only was he a great Army leader, but he was also a very popular motivational speaker. Sadly, he passed away in December 2012.
What I would like to do in today’s post is share my top 8 General Norman Schwarzkopf quotes. These are quotes that really resonated with me. Each quote is in bold. I also provide my take on each quote.
1. “You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”
My Take: This means a lot, because a lot of people get too competitive to the point of trying to walk over other people in order to get to the top. If you help others around you succeed, you will succeed too. Develop your subordinates and watch them help you do even better.
2. “When placed in command—take charge.”
My Take: As an officer, I don’t shy away from being put in charge. Nobody should be afraid of the risk of being a leader, whether you are an NCO or an officer. Take the opportunity and achieve success!
3. “Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good.”
My Take: I’ve seen this a lot in the last 10 years. The true leaders don’t worry about how to make themselves look good, they know that their Soldiers are the ones that make them look good – and they enable their Soldiers and give them the credit, because they deserve it.
4. “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”
My Take: I call this the gut instinct. We generally know what right and wrong is, and if something feels really wrong, we need to listen to that. Sometimes, the right thing feels harder than doing the wrong thing – but we have to make sure to do it, because we will feel better in the long run.
5. “I believe that forgiving them is God’s function. Our job is simply to arrange the meeting.”
My Take: This is an example of the Bear’s ability to pull absolutely no punches. He didn’t toe the PC line and always shot from the hip.
6. “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
My Take: We can have all the strategy in the world, but if we can’t influence anybody to follow it, it is pointless. Character has a greater impact on Soldiers than anything else.
7. “A professional soldier understands that war means killing people, war means maiming people, war means families left without fathers and mothers. All you have to do is hold your first dying soldier in your arms, and have that terribly futile feeling that his life is flowing out and you can’t do anything about it. Then you understand the horror of war. Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.”
My Take: I believe this sums it up perfectly.
8. “As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist: He is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational art, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he’s a great military man.”
My Take: This one speaks for itself!
In summary, General Norman “Stormin Norman” Schwarzkopf was a famous U.S. Army General who led the U.S. military to success during Operation Desert Storm. Although he passed away in 2012, his legacy lives on. What are your favorite “Stormin Norman” quotes? Leave a comment and let us know.