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Everyone has heard of Alexander the Great, one of history’s most cunning and powerful conquerors. He was an incredible leader, and fearless in battle. Riding his horse, Busephalis, he would often charge right into battle alongside his men. He was courageous beyond compare — a visionary and a warrior.


The story is told that one day Alexander held court on the battlefield following a war. His authority was unquestionable, and he passed judgment on the actions of his soldiers. Those who had fought valiantly were given honor. Those who held back or deserted were often the recipients of his harsh punishment.


Then a young man was brought before him, barely out of childhood. Alexander asked the boy’s name. The officer nearby said, “His name is Alexander, sir.” Instantly the general’s countenance softened, and he seemed flattered that the young soldier bore his name. The officers nearby relaxed, assuming that Alexander would show leniency to the young man, whatever his crime. Alexander asked what charges were being brought against the boy, and was told, “He is guilty of cowardice. In the heat of battle, he fled.”

Suddenly Alexander’s expression changed, and his face became an intense grimace. Looking at the boy, the general asked, “What is your name?” The lad replied, “Alexander, sir.” The general asked again, “What did you say was your name?” And again the lad replied, “Alexander, sir.” Then the emperor leapt off his throne and grabbed the terrified soldier, bellowing in his face, “Either change your behavior or change your name!” (Story is credited to J. David Hoke)