1. Wisdom—King Solomon was not only a man who sought knowledge but also a man who sought wisdom. He is one of the few rulers who falls under the coveted title of the philosopher king.
From a young age, he knew that, in order to set himself apart from his peers, he had to seek wisdom over fortune, knowledge over fame, and understanding over power. He knew that, if he sought wisdom and knowledge, fame and fortune would come.
King Solomon clearly understood the benefits of wisdom, a few of which are captured below:
- Wisdom allows you to see what others cannot see: hidden opportunities, traps, hidden friends, and secret enemies. You are able to deal shrewdly with your enemies and wisely with your friends. You are able to reduce the number of your adversaries and multiply your friends.
- Wisdom allows you to do what others cannot do; it allows you to learn to succeed where others fail. Although King Solomon ruled over a small country, he managed to outwit his neighbors––not by force, but by diplomacy––and he ended up ruling a territory far larger than any of his predecessors.
- Wisdom brings you honor. Monarchs came from near and far to pay homage to King Solomon. Alexander the Great, who conquered the whole world with his sword, is largely forgotten, whereas King Solomon, who conquered the world with his sagacity, earned far greater honor and glory.
2. Courage—King Solomon was brave, even for a young boy. Some scholars speculate that he was about 15 when he assumed the throne. Not letting age deter him, he immediately solidified his rule by getting rid of his brother and general, both older than him by 40 years, for attempting to usurp him because of his age. He also dealt with hostile neighboring rulers, who saw him as easy prey. Not one to shy away from taking risks, he spared no expense in expanding the kingdom’s military and infrastructure. He took risks that leaders ten times his age would have thought twice about taking. King Solomon preferred to face his challenges rather than run from them, his courage allowing him to achieve great things.
3. Character—In order to succeed in business and life, people have to trust you—and in order for people to trust you, people have to have faith in your character. King Solomon built a reputation as a virtuous man; all throughout his realm and yonder, he was known as a man of honor. This also inspired the loyalty of his subjects. Too afraid of lesser men taking his place, they kept him in power for as long as they could.
4. Generosity—King Solomon gave a lot of his wealth away, investing a significant portion of it in public works. A good number of his celebrated wise sayings point to the fact that he was a practitioner of great generosity. Why?
- When you are generous, you not only win the hearts of those you are generous to, but you also win the hearts of onlookers.
- When you are charitable, it directly or indirectly makes people beholden to you.
- Being charitable has been scientifically proven to release the “feel good” hormone—the endorphin—which increases one’s lifespan and helps fight stress, the underlying cause of 99% of the world’s illnesses.
- Whatever you give, you receive multiplied. Therefore, givers—not takers —become rich.
5. Excellence—King Solomon was a teacher and practitioner of excellence. His building projects, especially the Jerusalem temple, were ancient wonders. People came from all over the world and were left in awe, furthering his fame and glory.
His writings, all literary masterpieces, have lived on; scholars, sages, and saints continue to study him. Two thousand years after he penned The Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, the maxim “as wise as King Solomon” has endured, a true testament to his remarkable diligence.
6. Spirituality—The spirit of something is its essence. Human beings are spirits housed in a body; taking care of your spirit, therefore, is taking care of everything else. King Solomon was able to achieve all that he accomplished because he took care of his inner man. He enriched his inner man, and therefore, his inner man enriched him.
The benefits of spirituality include:
- The universe yielded all of its secrets to King Solomon. He had access to what could only be understood by the divine.
- King Solomon’s spirituality made him wise, courteous, compassionate, and generous. It gave him all of the qualities that draw people to, and not away, from a leader.
By Matshona Dhliwayo, Philosopher, Leadership Expert, Columnist.