Classic Influence: Timeless Lessons from the Legends

Classic Influence: Timeless Lessons from the Legends

Classic Influence explores the timeless lessons learned from the legends of leadership, power, hustle, and grit. Listen in as your host—the Harvard and Columbia trained researcher, author and speaker, Dr. Johnny Welch—works to unearth the wisdom and insights of the hustlers and heroes of history to discover the strategies, tactics, tips and tools you can use to master the power of influence to achieve your own most daring dreams and goals.... Show More

Episodes

February 22, 2021 25 min

Abraham Lincoln was born to poor Kentucky farmers in 1809. Raised in a one-room, dirt-floor log cabin on the American frontier, Lincoln’s early life was filled with long hours of manual labor, and many years of trial and tribulation, setback and struggle. But Abraham Lincoln, fiercely ambitious, was determined to rise up from his humble origins, and make his mark on the world. “The way for a man to rise,” he said, “is to improve hi...

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In the 1950s, still at the start of his acting career, and frustrated by the lack of work, Don Rickles began hustling gigs as a standup comedian in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Finding that his audiences were also failing to respond to his prepared material as a comic, Rickles started to boldly lash out. In fact, he began insulting people in his audience, particularly the hecklers. With this, Rickles finally began to see his a...

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In 1553, Mary Tudor’s dying brother, King Edward VI of England, was plotting behind the scenes to remove his half-sister from the line of succession. In the midst of the English Reformation, and the wider European Protestant Reformation, the Protestant King Edward was eager to keep Mary, a loyal Catholic, from reversing his and his father Henry VIII’s precious Protestant reforms. But Mary Tudor was not having it. She was the daught...

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In early 1898, days after the USS Maine was sunk in Cuba’s Havana Harbor, killing some 260 American sailors and marines, Theodore Roosevelt, who was still only the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, began doing all he could to prepare America for war. This included resigning from his desk job at the Navy Department in Washington D.C., and forming the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, known as the “Rough Riders.” What he did next came as qu...

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A populist champion of the poor, Huey Long grew up during America’s Gilded Age, and got involved in politics in the years before the Great Depression. Despite the considerable economic hardships he faced throughout his early life in Louisiana, and the ferocious political opposition he faced throughout his political career, Huey Long rose to become one of the Pelican State’s greatest political stars. Beyond his fierce ambition and q...

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In February 1815, after nearly a year of appearing to accept his fate, Napoleon Bonaparte suddenly began planning his island prison escape. Despite his exceptional leadership and unshakeable self-confidence, the idea that he might simply show up on the shore to retake France from the Bourbon monarchy was patently absurd, and probably one of the most daring adventures of his life. In this episode of Classic Influence, we’ll travel b...

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In 1940, with America on the cusp of entering World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to run for an unprecedented third term. Despite the longstanding and deep-seated tradition—going all the way back to George Washington, who voluntarily left office after just two terms—Roosevelt, a savvy political operator and masterful communicator, found a way to frame the decision so that it not only won the support of a majority ...

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One dark night in the winter of 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was leading a mass meeting at his local church when his house was bombed. What he did next became a defining moment in his life, and in the fight for civil rights. Borne out of King’s habit of taking time get outside of the arena, it was not the action that anyone expected, but it was just the right move for the moment and the movement as a whole. In this episode of ...

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One of history's greatest sagas of survival, the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew's quest to cross the South Pole is a gripping reminder of the power of optimism, endurance, and hope. Where the expeditions of scores of other daring explorers ended in drunkenness, despair, and death, Shackleton's leadership, his command of the psychology of his crew, and his capacity to project a cool and collected optimism in...

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In 1970, Arnold Schwarzenegger won both the Mr. Universe and the Mr. Olympia contest making him the greatest bodybuilder in the world. At just 23 years old, he was also the youngest Mr. Olympia ever. Of course he won the genetic lottery, only a fool would deny that. But that was only enough to get him into the game. What set Arnold Schwarzenegger apart was his profound ambition, relentless work ethic, and an ability to stay hyper f...

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In 1518, in defiance of the greatest empire on earth, the Spanish conquistador and explorer, Hernando Cortés, risked everything in pursuit of his goal, including his reputation, his wealth, and his life. Despite the grave risks and considerable forces allied against him, Cortés, with one bold stroke, turned the tide of events in his favor. Listen in now as we uncover the pivotal incident in the life of this notorious Spanish conque...

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The California Gold Rush led to the largest mass migration in U.S. history. From all over the world, men came to mine their fortunes. But it wasn’t the gold that led to the most enduring fortunes. In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we’ll travel back to Sacramento Valley in the mid-1800s, meet a few of the pioneering producers of the Gold Rush Era, and explore the vital wealth building mindset these icons help unveil....

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Writer and explorer, fighter and reformer, scholar, historian, statesman, and sage; Theodore Roosevelt disdained idleness. “In this life, we get nothing save by effort,” said the Panama-Canal-Building, Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning President. “I never won anything without hard labor and…working long in advance.” In fact, the “highest form of success,” Roosevelt said, comes “to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or ...

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According to legend, Ragnar Lothbrok was the most famous Viking of his age, and he remains one of the greatest heroes of Viking history. But did a Viking leader named Ragnar Lothbrok actually exist? In this episode of Classic Influence, we’ll explore the power of this everlasting legend, and why the Vikings told and retold his story over and over again. This episode also reveals the power of story, legend and myth, and how a compel...

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Nero stands out as one of the most monstrous, and universally hated emperors in the long history of the Roman empire. And, yet, the reign of the once popular emperor began in relative peace. What allowed for such a dramatic transformation? Were there any early signs of what barbaric slaughtering was to come? In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we’ll travel back to ancient Rome and watch as Nero, flooded with unquencha...

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Swamped with political ambition and romantic intrigue, the saga of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Cleopatra VII, has captivated historians and storytellers throughout history, from Plutarch in ancient Greece, and Shakespeare in early 17th century England, to screenwriters in Hollywood to this day. Cleopatra remains one of the most famous female rulers in history. Often portrayed as a sexy femme fatale, however, Cleopatra was not the...

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John F. Kennedy is widely regarded as one of America’s most popular presidents. On matters of leadership, communication ability, and social intelligence, political scientists and historians continue to rank Kennedy as one of the greats. In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast we explore how President Kennedy responded to his biggest blunder as President, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and the leadership lessons we can learn from ...

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Revealing the surprising power of mental maps, this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast takes you on a journey to the diamond mines of Golconda, and extracts the lessons we can learn from the tragic loss of the Persian farmer depicted in Civil War captain Russell Conwell's most famous essay, "Acres of Diamonds." Drawing on Henry David Thoreau's experience living in the woods at Walden Pond, this episode also br...

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Blackbeard remains the most famous pirate in the entire Golden Age of Piracy, and for good reason. In this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast, we'll examine the key characteristics that set Blackbeard apart from the pack, and how this cunning pirate captain used the power of a fearsome image to achieve his aim. We'll also briefly explore the five most fundamental factors in creating an effective image or personal bran...

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Surveying the disciplined strategy, transforming leadership, and dogged determination of General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, this episode of the Classic Influence Podcast reveals three key lessons we can learn from Washington’s effective prosecution of the war in the years leading up to the alliance with France. Looking back to the wisdom of the ancient Greeks, echoed in the insights of modern social sc...

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