How to be Class President According to Genghis Khan

how to be class president studygate
8 minute read

So you’d like to learn how to become class president? Well, join me for a story of the man who was class president of his country. And he founded the country too!

Genghis Khan attended no school and didn’t get an education. He was actually a barbarian. But the man had street smarts like few people ever have. That is, if there was actually a street back when he lived.

But this guy and his ancestors got A LOT of hate after he took over the world.

The French naturalist Compte de Buffon wrote in the 18th century that Mongolian “skin has a slight dirty-yellow tinge, and is deficient in elasticity, giving the appearance of being too large for the body.”

So Genghis Khan was subject to racism. Trust me, he earned every vote of confidence he ever got. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

He also had people imitating him in all the wrong ways. Try to imagine with me a high school bully that throws you into lockers, steals your girlfriend and kisses her in front of you, and then somehow becomes friends with the principal. The bully then claims to be best friends with the class president, but doesn’t even follow him on Instagram!

how to be class president
This is Genghis Khan’s Instagram profile

This was Timur the Lame and he falsely claimed to be a descendant of GK. But the guy enjoyed torturing people, and GK never stood for that.

Then there was Matthew Paris who was alive when the sons and grandsons of GK invaded Hungary and Poland way back in 1241. Matthew called GK’s family “an immense horde of that detestable race of Satan.”

how to be class president studygate
This is a self-portrait of Matthew Paris. The man was not known as a reliable historian.

With all that hate, here’s rule number one:

If you want to be class president, you’re going to make some people mad.

That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. You want to do something cool in life? You want to stand for something, anything at all? You’ll eventually make some enemies.

And Genghis Khan made a lot of people mad. He was a 12th century Mongolian warlord who came from nothing and ruled over land that stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

Now you might be asking yourself “what does Genghis Khan have to do with becoming class president?”

Well, a lot actually. GK knew how to lead people. He wasn’t from the race of Satan, and he was actually a really healthy person. GK probably did the Keto diet before it was even a concept since he ate almost exclusively meat and dairy. Growing up on the steppe, he constantly rode horses too.

But GK was at his best when he was surrounded by smart people. When he defeated a territory, he would look for talented craftsmen, artisans, entertainers, and doctors that could share their expertise with others.

And that’s the second rule for becoming class president:

If you want to be class president, you should work on your campaign with people smarter than you.

Here’s what GK did to take over most of Asia:

GK limited the power of religion by accepting all religions. Under his empire, he accepted Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and the shamanism of his own people. At the end of the day, they were all subject to rule by GK.

If you want to be class president, be willing to accept and embrace jocks, nerds, and band geeks. Remind them they all go to the same school.

GK created wealth by spreading information. Arab doctors knew how to do surgery really good, but the Chinese understood better how to identify internal organs. GK advanced medicine by bringing them together. The Arabs were experts in astronomy in the 12th and 13th centuries, but the Chinese excelled at creating textiles. What one civilization possessed in excess, Khan would send to other territories where it was exotic, useful, and desirable.

If you want to be class president, identify people’s strengths and position them to help others who would benefit the most.

GK insisted on egalitarian behavior. When a territory was defeated, scribes would come in to fairly distribute the loot among not just the soldiers but all the people. Everyone had a stake in the success.

If you want to be class president, look for opportunities to celebrate. Throw parties and create parades. When someone succeeds, then publicly recognize them. Give others credit for group success.

GK also installed leadership with mixed backgrounds. Competing tribes, civilizations, cultures, and religions sat on the same boards to administer the governance of a territory.

If you want to be class president, find people who are talented and different from you that can get on board with your agenda.

Khan made the rules simple with high stakes treatment. Submit tribute and be part of an extended family that accords you rights and protection. Break the law and bring death to not just yourself but your family as well.

So this one’s a little much, no killing here!

If you want to be class president, make sure your core team wins together. Get little things for them like snacks and timely help. Serve their needs first, and don’t tolerate negative gossip. At all.

GK recognized that loyalty was a character trait. In taking over a newly conquered territory, he would accept the followers of his enemies as long as they hadn’t worked against the reputation of their former leader.

how to be class president studygate
In this scene from Mongol (2007), the servants of Genghis Khan’s enemy betrayed their former leader. They were promptly executed.

If you want to be class president, find out how the people that want to work with you treat others. They will do the same to you.

GK abhorred blood and violence, but valued winning above all. Death and loss were considered cultural taboos and unfit for discussion. However, GK valued his soldiers and used tactics ideally suited to ensure that he would not have to lose anyone on the battlefield.

If you want to be class president, brush off the losses and setbacks that will come. Take the blame for failure if necessary, and never throw people under the bus.

GK succeeded because he was constantly curious to learn from the people he conquered. This made him a great judge of character. If you weren’t competent, you didn’t get the job. Didn’t matter if you were family or not.

how to be class president studygate
This GK portrait comes from the Yuan dynasty and was completed at least 50 years after he died.

In fact, there is a story from Genghis Khan’s reign where the shaman Teb Tengeri earned a position administering the estate of GK’s mom. Unfortunately, Tengeri also beat up Khan’s brother Khasar. After Khasar begged for help, Khan immediately sided with the shaman until he realized he was being manipulated by the shaman. Family loyalty could not surpass the ability to do the job.

If you want to be class president, don’t pick your friends for jobs just because they’re your friends. Pick them because they’re the best at what they do.

Weaknesses

Now, that’s a lot of advice. And I’m convinced Genghis Khan set an example as one of the greatest leaders in world history. The best part is that we can all learn from him!

But you should know his greatest weaknesses too. In a letter sent to a Taoist monk in China at the end of his life, GK wrote:

I have not myself distinguished qualities. I wear the same clothing and eat the same food as the cowherds and horse-herders. We make the same sacrifices, and we share the same riches. I hate luxury. I exercise moderation. But as my calling is high, the obligations incumbent on me are also heavy.

The key word here is obligations.

With so many obligations, GK’s greatest task of finding a successor was crippled by his inability to trust his family. GK killed his older half-brother when he was but a teenager because he threatened Khan’s influence in the family.

And after acquiring great power, he failed to mentor his sons. Sure, they knew how to win wars. They were the best in the world.

how to be class president studygate
Painting of Genghis Khan riding to invade the lands of Southeast Asia (1277). #fakehistory

But seriously, GK spent so much time leading conquests that he didn’t have time to teach them the nuances of taking care of his own people.

GK’s lack of mentoring for his immediate family resulted in family fighting that eventually tore apart the Mongol regime. His sons and grandsons did not agree on political leadership and cooperated only by mutually existing economic interests.

If you want to be class president, create incentives for people to work together. And be willing to mentor others to do your job after you graduate.

The second weakness of the Mongol Empire was their failure to recognize their greatest strength as their greatest liability.

When the Mongols were struck by the plague like the rest of the world in the 14th century, their empire began to disintegrate. They failed to identify the root cause of their problems, which had started with fleas spreading the plague.

Now, the Mongols did communication at a world-class level. They had to as rulers over such a large territory. So they set up post stations for soldiers and merchants traveling across Asia. The Mongols planted trees along the paths, provided shelter for travelers at the post stations, and ensured there was enough pasture for the horses by removing any surrounding farmland.

how to be class president studygate
This is a paiza, which functioned as a passport for travel between post stations. This particular one is now at the MET in New York City.

But the greatest strength of the Mongols for creating networks of commerce between cultures turned into their greatest weakness as the Bubonic plague traveled along those very same paths.

That killed at least 75 million people worldwide from South China all the way to London.

If you want to be class president, consider your strengths as your greatest areas for growth. Try to become world-class at 1 thing or very good at 2-3 things.

You will find people smarter than you and dumber than you at school. You will meet people with conflicting interests. Students will know all the clever tricks to beating the academic system. GK lived among people just like that, but he never wavered in his commitment to building systems that were fair to all. He understood that people need to feel protected and have a stake in the success of their society.

And now you know how to get elected class president. Whether you win or not, we can all learn to understand others before taking action.

For more on the history of Genghis Khan, see Jack Weatherford’s Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.

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Great Questions to Ask Your Grandpa or a Celebrity

Great Questions to Ask Your Grandpa or A Celebrity studygate

Here are some great questions to ask your grandpa or a celebrity. Tim Ferriss came up with these questions while conducting interviews on his podcast The Tim Ferriss Show.

Some of the most famous people he has interviewed include LeBron James, Jocko Willink, Stanley McChrystal, Jamie Fox, and Brené Brown.

His questions are too good and too clever not to pass on to you. So if you’re looking for great questions to ask your grandpa or a celebrity, this list should get you going. It could even work for a class interview project!

Great Questions to Ask Your Grandpa or A Celebrity studygate
A grandfather and his grandson spend time together making a guitar.

Great Questions to Ask

  • When you think of the word “successful,” who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
  • What is something you believe that other people think is insane?
  • What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made? Could be an investment of money, time, energy, or other resource. How did you decide to make the investment?
  • What is the worst advice you see or hear being dispensed in your world?
  • If you could have one gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say?
  • How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Or, do you have a favorite failure of yours?
  • What have you changed your mind about in the last few years? Why?
Great Questions to Ask Your Grandpa or A Celebrity studygate
Charlize Theron at the 2010 Academy Awards

In 2016, Ferriss published Tools of Titans. The book contains many of the interviews from his podcast including helpful articles like “8 Tactics for Dealing with Haters,” “Lazy: A Manifesto,” “The Dickens Process,” and “How to Say ’No’ When It Matters Most.”

By reading this book, you can expect to feel more content with your place in the world and understand that we are all trapped on this small planet going through a giant universe. You will learn that every successful person does things their own unique way, but nearly every successful person does some form of meditation.

At the very least, hopefully this post has guided you towards great questions to ask your grandpa or a celebrity.

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Four Ways To Stay Motivated And Finish The School Year Strong

Stay Motivated

It’s May! That means state testing, prom, research projects, just a bit more homework than you bargained for, and a whole bunch of other things that can really take a toll on your focus. It’s easy to start slacking right around this time of year. The end of the school year is in sight, summer’s on the way, the weather’s nicer, everything seems more upbeat and relaxed. But you’ve got to stay motivated!

Don’t fall for it!

There’s a lot you can do to sabotage yourself in this critical time in the academic year. It’s okay to stop and smell the roses every now and then, but you’ve also got to stand up straight, square your shoulders, and put in the work. Here are four ways to help you do that:

Organize and Prioritize

If there was ever a time to stay organized, this is it. With so much going on in school and at home, it’s important to keep every date, every obligation, every meeting straight in your head. If you don’t already, keep a planner handy to write down things that you know you need to take care of in the future. Then, rank those things from most to least important. Now,  you can direct your attention to the things that need it the most, and you’ll feel less stressed as a result!

Be Mindful

Speaking of stress, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that’s going on around you. In the midst of all the chaos, take time to slow down and understand what you’re working on. Group projects and research assignments pile up during this time of year, so it’s a good idea to be especially aware of your work habits and how you’re feeling. When choosing how to divide your time, be selective! Ask for help if you can’t meet a deadline, focus on delivering quality work, and above all, set aside some time to take care of your health.

Get Some Perspective

The tests you take during this important season can improve or hurt your chances of ending up with that A you’ve been working so hard for, or the high SAT or AP score that will take you to the college of your dreams. It’s a crucial moment! But that’s all it is. A single moment in the vast timeline that is your life. Don’t put any unnecessary stress on yourself. One test does not decide what your entire future will be. Chin up, shoulders back, do your very best, and your future will fall into place, you’ll see!

Remember Your Goals

There are so many contradictory things about May. It’s testing season, and you should study hard, but prom is coming up, and you want to party hard. Graduation is coming up, and you feel like you’re finished, but those last few assignments count—it’s not over yet! Take time to remember your goals. What did you set out to achieve? Make them more visible in your everyday life. Write them on post-it notes and stick it in your notebook, on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, EVERYWHERE. With summer around the corner, it’s very easy to get distracted with all the fun things going on, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to stop short of the finish line.

 

Students, this is time to remain focused and do all you can to finish the school year strong! Keep yourself accountable, check your urges to slack off, and accomplish what you set out to do! For more helpful tips, homework help, test preparation, and one-on-one tutoring, visit us at StudyGate.com!

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Impress Your Friends With These St. Patrick’s Day Tidbits!

St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that’s a lot of fun to celebrate, but not too many people know the history of it. It’s never a bad time to learn something new, so here’s a few interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day that you can impress your friends with while you try to pinch every poor soul not wearing green!

 

St. Patrick? Who?

Basically, St. Patrick was a Romano-British Christian missionary living in Ireland in the fourth century. He grew up in a wealthy family, with his father and grandfather being a deacon and a priest respectively in the Christian church. While he was working as a shepherd, he “found God”, became a priest and dedicated his life to evangelism and converting the pagan Irish to the Christian faith.

 

His Life Was Pretty Crazy

Get this: At the still-pretty-young age of 14, St. Patrick was kidnapped by pirates, and then forced to work as a slave in Gaelic Ireland. I know most preteens have it rough these days, with their Snapchatting and whatnot, but imagine being yanked from your bed by pirates and taken somewhere against your will! When he turned twenty, he was returned home by a bunch of nice sailors, so it got a little better for him.

 

So What’s With All The Leprechauns?

Those tiny creatures that hide in the grass and protect their pots of gold are actually a huge part Irish folklore. According to Irish legends, leprechauns spend most of their time making and mending shoes. Taking that into account, it’s easy to see why they’re so concerned with protecting their gold! I know about one who’s pretty harsh about protecting his cereal, so you can imagine what the rest of them must be like!

 

So Why Do We Pinch People?

The best (or worst) part of St. Patrick’s Day for schoolchildren is the fact that you run around pinching your friends all day. But why do we do it? Well, it turns out that there are a couple of reasons. One is ridiculous and the other pretty serious.

Going back to leprechauns, the little guys would protect their pots of gold by—you guessed it—pinching their victims. Additionally, in 19th century New York City, wearing green became a symbol of national pride for many Irish people living in America. During important events like St. Patrick’s Day parades and elections when politicians would pay visits to the Irish communities to gain their support, American Irish were expected to wear green in a show of solidarity with their peers. If you didn’t, you were pinched for your lack of Irish pride. It was like a way of saying, “Shame on you!

 

What’s The Deal With Shamrocks?

You know those three-leafed clovers you see everywhere? Legend has it that St. Patrick would pluck them from the ground and use them to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) when he was teaching the gospel. Handy!

 

 

Not bad, huh? Now you’ll be prepared for all the questions you’re bound to get about St. Patty’s Day. Just don’t forget to wear green! Find more fun stuff, study advice, and homework help at StudyGate.com!

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