The Exhilaration of Victory

By | August 30, 2019

[August 30, 2019]  I needed a one-hour credit college course to graduate, so I took Art History.  The course, which I planned to do my absolute least amount of work to pass, turned into one of the most interesting courses ever.  I learned about what was to become my favorite piece of art; the white Parian marble statue by an unknown Greek sculptor from the 2nd century (you can see some good photographs of it here).

Known as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the statue stands as one of the most beautiful depictions of drama and motion in marble in the history of art.  It is symbolic of the importance in victory of human affairs and continues as an iconic representation of victory over destructive enemy forces that wished to dominate the Greeks.

U.S. Army General George S. Patton once said, “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”  My art history professor said that there could be no great victory without great sacrifice.  Her comment and Patton’s idea of accepting challenges are one.  Victory implicitly means that some sacrifice must be made; else there can be no exhilaration, no celebration, and no value in the defeat of an enemy.

Others have written about the idea of sacrifice.  For example, there is University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson; who I’ve quoted here on occasion.  He frequently lectures about the Bible and other ancient sources which speak of sacrifice as something that is part of the tragic story of humans throughout our existence on this Earth.  We find some variation of it in nearly every common thread of human stories across all cultures and time.

To experience exhilaration, there must be a challenge.  Young boys in scouting, who I get to see almost every week, jump into any competition we provide for them.  They are naturally competitive (I don’t use the term “naturally” except in its full meaning as inborn).  Of course, their excitement on winning a game is uninhibited and fun to watch.

The exhilaration of victory is what we crave.  Everyone likes to be on a winning team, to pick the winning horse, and to come out on top in a card game.  It helps drive us.  It’s one of the best motivators.  When working with people – of all ages and abilities – I’ve found that the enticement of victory is much stronger than we give credit.  Leaders would do well to remember this.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “The Exhilaration of Victory

  1. Kenny Foster

    Excellent logic and something I never thought about. This is why I come to Gen. Satterfield’s leadership website; great articles like this. Keep it up, please. A future topic might be “the agony of defeat.” 😊

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      Great suggestion. I vote for an article on ‘the AGONY OF DEFEAT.’
      Anyone else give us a thumb’s up?

  2. Greg Heyman

    Your art history teacher and Patton must be on the same idea that ‘effort’ translates into ‘satisfaction.’
    Good article and thanks.
    This is what we need to see more of. Drawing connections between human ideas.

    1. Martin Shiell

      I agree. This is why I’ve started reading more and more of the old philosophers and the Bible where a wealth of knowledge is located but often ignored because modern progressives think the old stuff is out of date. Ha Ha. That is a joke on the progressives.

      1. Mr. T.J. Asper

        Also, go onto YouTube and find Dr. J. Peterson and listen to his videos. Watch him in action talking about similar issues. He is a well-known psychology professor. I’m giving a lot of this info to my students.

  3. Dale Paul Fox

    Sacrifice and only sacrifice can lead to the exhilaration of victory. So, if victory is so easily obtained, its meaning to us is shallow and thus worth less. The harder it is to achieve, the more valued it becomes.

    1. Max Foster

      This is the point I’ve tried to make in the past during some of my comments on this blog. Gen. Satterfield has done us a great service by continuing to link the idea that victory (read that as mission accomplishment) can only be valued deep down in our souls by great sacrifice (read that as hard work). These links are found in many ancient writings across cultures and also across time. Why don’t we understand that today is still a mystery for me?

      1. JT Patterson

        Well said, Max. The link can never be broken. They are inseparable.

      2. Yusaf from Texas

        Thumbs up on your comment, Max. As usual, you are spot on with your ideas.

  4. Eva Easterbrook

    Another wonderful article. It made my Friday morning that much brighter. I always enjoy coming to Gen. Satterfield’s leadership website for a tickler on a leadership subject.

  5. Eric Coda

    The Winged Victory of Samothrace statue is probably the most beautiful in the world despite missing a head and other body parts. I understand from my art friends that the statue is being reconstructed. Will they put a head on her? We’ll see how this restoration works out. A very old marble statue.

    1. Xerxes I

      Why was ancient Greek art so beautiful and so appealing to us? They were a free people.

      1. Bryan Lee

        Good point, Xerxes. Thanks for pointing this out. No one should overlook what free peoples (those who respect the property of others) who have a democracy and enforce it. Respect in those times didn’t mean there were a bunch of people on the public dole. It meant you worked for what you had. Art flourished in this environment.

  6. Harry Donner

    Another fantastic article. I never thought of the concept of sacrifice and its relationship to victory. Perhaps that is what drives us all to play games and the desire to win (sometimes at any cost). Kids have this instinctively. Adults seem to have lost the drive (motivation) to win – playing by the rules, of course.

  7. Army Captain

    I’m looking at the idea of victory a new way today. Thanks.

  8. Albert Ayer

    Excellent! I see where you are headed. Perhaps a future series on ‘victory’ and what it means in full.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      Yes, that would be a good idea for Gen. Satterfield to give us a little more on this idea of the exhilaration of victory. Like the kids who play computer games, they tell me they do it for the challenge. It gives them a positive feedback loop that gets them addicted.

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