How to be Class President According to Genghis Khan

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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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.

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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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How to Make Good Choices in School: Genghis Khan and the Tale of the Three Rivers

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When Genghis Khan was a young man, he lived a difficult life. Now, you might be thinking, “What does Genghis Khan have to do with how to make good choices in school?” And you would be right. After all, Genghis Khan was not well-educated. He was certainly not a scientist! He did not invent new technologies either.

How to make good choices in school studygate
This is Genghis Khan’s Twitter profile pic. But no one knows what he actually looked like because he wouldn’t let people make paintings of him when he was alive.

Instead, he grew up eating small mammals like rats. He also would eat birds, fish, and roots in the ground. Genghis Khan lost his father when he was young because someone poisoned him. The Tayichiud tribe he was with abandoned him, his mother, and his brothers.

In spite of this difficult childhood, Genghis Khan was a leader of people. He deeply respected himself, and he showed that through action.

A kidnapping

Once upon a time, Genghis Khan came upon a huge choice that would define him for the rest of his life. But first I will share a little background about this great leader. In spite of being a teenager, Genghis Khan married young. He was only 9 years old when he met Borte, and they got married later when he was 16.

Borte must have been a special person because she was kidnapped by the Merkid tribe. Now, you might think being kidnapped is a big deal in Mongolia. That isn’t really true. Actually, kidnapping women was pretty common back in the 12th century. In fact, it was how Genghis Khan’s mother came to meet his father since she was kidnapped from her first husband too. Violence was a part of life back then. I didn’t say that life was easy!

So if kidnapping Borte was not what made her special, what was it? Lots of people said that she “had fire in her face and light in her eyes.” If you read about Borte on Wikipedia, this means she is smart.

But not even her brains made her that special! No, what made her special was what Genghis Khan did after Borte was kidnapped by the Merkid.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “what does this story have to do with school?” Well, a lot actually! Knowing how to make good choices in school is a lot like making good choices in life. It is not always easy. Actually, knowing how to make good choices ANYWHERE is pretty hard!

And it was no different for Genghis Khan.

When he lost Borte, Genghis Khan was mad and sad. So he did what any man would do when he felt lost. He prayed to God. His god was the Eternal Blue Sky and the Golden Light of the Sun, and they lived around Burkhan Khaldun, which means “God Mountain.” This was a special place because the Mongols believed that the soul of the earth flowed through the water, especially rivers. Genghis Khan believed this, and some people still do.

As Genghis Khan prayed, he saw three rivers flowing down from the mountain. And that’s when he knew he had a choice to make. Which river would he decide to follow?

Kherlen River

To the southeast, there lay the Kherlen River leading to the steppe. A steppe is a large area of flat grassland with no forests. It was a place with the opportunity to raise crops and have livestock, but it was also an area vulnerable to attack since there weren’t many trees. As a herder, no matter how many animals and no matter big his family got, Genghis Khan could expect to be challenged. The Merkid who just took Borte would be back. The Tayichiud tribe were no longer his friends either.

The land was too rich and there was not enough space to live in peace no matter how rich he got.

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This is the Kherlen River. Today, people love to go fishing here and catch the mighty Taimen fish, which is a lot like a salmon.

Onon River

To the northeast, the Onon River gave safety to the people that lived around it. Since it is much colder in that direction, there wouldn’t be as many people either. It had a lot of twists and turns that could provide shelter to the people who did live there, but there wasn’t any place to store animals. This was where he grew up in poverty after the Tayichiud tribe abandoned his family. It would be familiar and comforting, but it wouldn’t be very nice and he would probably have to eat rats again.

He could live there in peace and take another wife, but there would be no reward here.

How to make good choices in school studygate
This is the Onon River. It has over 170 Google reviews and is one of the world’s longest rivers stretching from central Asia to the Pacific Ocean!

Tuul River

To the southwest, Genghis Khan saw the Tuul River. This river was not better than the Kherlen and Onon rivers. In fact, the Tuul River was the hardest choice of all. It would lead him down the path of conflict, but it would also lead him to people that would want to help him get Borte back. Some of Genghis Khan’s friends did not like the Merkid.

Of course, he might fail to win against the Merkid too. But the Tuul River was his only chance.

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This is the Tuul River. Its clean and pleasant waters flow all the way to the capital city of Mongolia, which is Ulaanbaatar.

The big choice

Genghis Khan chose the Tuul river and fought against the Merkid. And do you know what happened? He rescued Borte! Then he built an army and took over the world. His empire went from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. There were not many people like Genghis Khan.

And it started with this big choice. Would he live without Borte or would he fight for her? No one would have blamed him for giving up. Kidnapping was normal back then, and he could always find someone else. But Genghis Khan acknowledged that he was in pain from losing his wife. He was angry. He wanted to do something about his loss. So he took action.

No one else could have done it for him.

The meaning of each river

Sometimes it is hard to make good choices in school. There are many people that will want to influence you. Maybe your friends want to play Fortnite all the time and don’t care about studying. Or maybe they are smoking Juul and want you to as well. Maybe your parents want you to become a scientist and you want to be a musician instead.

Whatever your challenge, it probably won’t be like that of Genghis Khan. Most of us didn’t have to grow up eating rats! Maybe something very painful happened in your life, but maybe not.

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Pick a cherry, any cherry!

Either way, we all have choices like Genghis Khan did. The Kherlen River represents the wide path. Many people will take it and it has nice advantages, but you do not get to control your future. You might get rich and have many things, but someone else could take away everything you have at any moment.

The Onon River represents the safe path. It is a harder life, but people will leave you alone. You will have enough to live on without having to rely on the help of others. If you don’t care about being famous, this can be a nice way to live. It is hard to develop yourself on the Onon River.

But the Tuul River is a wild card. Nobody knows where it will lead, but you will have to fight to move forward. If you think things through when you take action, you can have an incredible life. It would be better than any life the Kherlen and Onon river could ever offer. But there is danger too. If you are foolish with your planning and do not consider the needs of others, you will fail and your life will be painful.

How to make the best choices in school

If you are in high school getting ready for college or in college getting ready for a career, you have the chance to choose your river. There will be a career or maybe a SO to choose as well. You will go to your Burkhan Khaldun mountain or maybe the mountain will come to you! The truth is that some people think about their choice and others don’t, but everyone chooses a river.

Once you get older, it is very hard to change rivers. Not because you’re not smart or not clever enough, no. It’s just hard to change once we set ourselves on the path of life. Our habits when we are young define us when we are old. And habits are a very hard thing to change.

Please don’t get me wrong. The best river is not the Tuul River. It is not even the Kherlen or the Onon rivers. Instead, the best river is the one that you think through and choose for yourself.

Genghis Khan chose the Tuul River because he loved Borte more than anything else. Like him, we can follow his example and listen to our hearts.

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10 Life Hacks Every College Student Should Know

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Here are 10 life hacks every college student should know. Are you ready? Let’s check it out!

Problem 1: You do not have a coffee pot

All you’re gonna need is coffee, a coffee filter, and to boil some water. What we’re gonna do is get a spoon of coffee and we’ll make a tea bag of coffee. Put the ends together, spin, and fasten with a rubber band. Keep twisting until it’s tight. Then we’re gonna dip the coffee bag in the hot water and leave it there for about 5 minutes. Then the coffee will be dissolved in the cup.

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Problem 2: Annoying to store beer in the refrigerator

Put a black metal paper clip on the metal wire to stack your beer bottles. You will get half of your refrigerator empty for other uses. With this trick you do not have to worry about the unstable beer like when you try and stand them all up straight on the wire shelf. That is too unbalanced. A paper clip is great, nothing will move it!

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Problem 3: Cannot wake up with the alarm

Put the cell phone inside of a beer glass to increase the sound. And arrive on time to the first class 90% of the time, all the time! The same thing works for music. Don’t have any speakers? All you need is your cell phone to listen to the music inside of your beer glass, which will increase the sound.

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Problem 4: Dirty hands with Cheetos

Everyone loves Cheetos. In college we eat a lot of junk food like this because we do not have time. It’s hard to get the Cheetos when the bag is lying down. You have to stick your hand in there and it gets the cheese dust on it. However, you can pull the bottom part out (not apart!) and then push the bottom of the bag inside out. Keep pushing until the Cheetos reach the top. Now you do not have to stick your hand into the and it’s easier for them to come out. Hot Cheetos work great for this too!life hacks studygate

Problem 5: Your beer is not cold enough

Do you want to cool a beer as fast as possible? Wet a paper towel in cold water and put the beer in the freezer. Then wrap the paper towel around the beer. The paper towel will freeze cold, and your beer will be cold much faster. BTW, frozen beer explodes. 15 minutes ought to do it with this technique.

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Problem 6: Your bananas go ripe too fast

Keep the bananas fresh by wrapping the top of them with plastic wrap and keeping them away from other fruits. This will prevent them from getting bad. But once you take a banana, you have to tie it up again. Bananas ripen with ethylene, but wrapping the stems reduces their flow of oxygen to get ethylene.

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Problem 7: Cook a hot dog without a microwave

Start with a coffee pot. Make sure your coffee pot is clean, then put the hot dogs in the coffee pot. Run a cycle and leave the hot dogs in hot water until you see they’re cooked. The bottom of the coffee maker will finish the job of cooking the hot dogs.

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Problem 8: Have no laptop bag to take computer

Make a laptop bag with your hoodie. Lay your hoodie on a table chest up and place your laptop horizontally in the chest area with the long parts facing the arms. Make sure your hoodie has the strings on the outside, then bring the bottom part up and fold it over the hoodie itself. Tuck the extra fabric under the hoodie itself. Next, put the hood over the top of the laptop and pull it around the device so that it wraps like an envelope. Flip the laptop over and tie the drawstrings together. Finally, tie the arms here together so that you can carry it on your shoulder. Guys, this might look like a purse. You’ve been warned!

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Problem 9: Your pens keep wearing out

You will need some G2 pens. You can usually buy 4 of them for $5. Next, purchase the Mont Blanc brand of two ballpoint pen refills, which usually cost $12 to fill up a $200 pen. Get the cheap pen and take out the ink refill. Remove the top of the cheap refill and place it on the top of the Mont Blanc refill. When you put your Mont Blanc refill with the G2 top into the G2 pen, you’ll see that you just got a very expensive pen that cost only 12 dollars.

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Problem 10: Not enough space in your closet

Use soda pop tabs to organize your closet. All we need to do is put one hook in one hole of the soda pop tab and the other hook in the other hole. This takes up way less space because it lets the shirts hang down instead of all having to fit side by side.

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That’s it for life hacks in college! Thanks to Crazy Russian Hacker for this great original post. Click here for life hacks on how to study as well.

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