Egypt is the land of Pharaohs and a Thousand Suns. You won’t find a nation that provides such timeless lessons. The sun keeps rising in Egypt.
I visited Egypt for the first time last week. Expecting to see pyramids and mummies. but I ended up seeing a nation that always keeps its legacy in the back of its mind. A nation that is more optimistic than most other civilizations. Finally, I saw a nation that constantly strives to think of new ideas and regain its might in inventing new products. Egypt always wanted its presence to be felt — otherwise, how could such great leadership come out of here?
The fabric of Egypt that once existed millenniums ago still exists today. Here’s what exists in that same fabric
Long Term Thinking is the Name of the Game — Always Strategizing to Leave a Legacy
Legacy is an old word. First said in the late 14th century. It means “making an impact that will last long after one dies. It could be financial, with something that is created, or through the people that tell stories and pass down the tales.”
Egyptians understood the true meaning of the word before it was ever invented. They knew legacy is the only way to keep their civilization going day after day, year after year, century after century. Legacy is needed to inspire future generations to take action and to make sure history looks back at the Royal Kings and Pharaohs as a set of transcendent leaders.
I don’t think 31 royal families could have ruled, for centuries without constantly focusing on legacy — all the time. Legacy allowed the kingdoms to conquer lands, built great structures, and even generate transformational wealth. . Otherwise, how do you expect that 110 pyramids still exist today after 3000+ years?
Legacy was built because the Egyptians knew the right symbols of storytelling
1st they focused on building big physical infrastructure like pyramids and sphinxes when it was impossibly hard. Big physical structures always leave a lasting impression on a society that wants to be remembered as one that thought at scale.
2nd they built artifacts like gold-painted sarcophaguses, golden chairs, and statues of cats, that could stand the test of time. These symbols look so grand and everlasting even today. Showing the future the Egyptians had an eye for extreme detail and making sure the products last forever.
3rd they focused on notetaking and publishing when writing anything down was a challenging process. Today we believe capturing information is important and also work on creating digital information capture systems The Egyptians knew capturing information is the only way the story can be told. They knew memorization is weak and info just cannot be passed on by word of mouth. It must be written, drawn, visualized, and stored in a way where the dots connect and the future generations look back and think wow. Otherwise, there is no legacy.
Legacy is something that is still spoken about today — the great founders of the world push for massive CSR initiatives, liberate people, fight wars, and build massive structures all in the name of legacy and are rarely able to succeed. But, often founders are too late and are rarely able to overcome the negative narrative that hits them the moment they become successful.
The Egyptians knew Legacy must be a focus from Day 1 and that it cannot be an afterthought done at the end.
Infinite optimism drives unity and belief for a Better Future
The Pharaohs must have been so optimistic about their future.
Otherwise, it would be impossible to build and seal great tombs with the best materials for centuries. In a world where raw materials and formal processes didn’t exist the Pharaohs buried themselves with the best symbolic items inside massive structures. They even got their whole leadership team to be buried in large massive tombs that are so large and grand that nothing like it exists today.
This approach represents a deep Optimism that the Pharaohs had about going to a better world and these great things must be taken along.
This optimism spread into their governance as great leaders like Thutmose III drove this by taking on battles and winning one after another to build out Egypt’s Wealth. Leaders like Ramses II ruled till the age of 90 — building an army of 100,000 and uniting Egypt as one.
Think about it — these great leaders built societies where cities were created from the ground, pyramid-like structures were created, armies were formed and invention thrived. All that doesn’t happen without a deep sense of optimism that must have spread all across the great Egyptian heartland
Whether it is 2000 BC or 2020 people are people and there isn’t a way to force people to band together to build such massive structures and collaborate to achieve such feat. It all starts with the pharaoh’s ability to be optimistic and fuel the push for innovation forward — more so today and than ever.
A society of original thinkers — a rare sight in the Middle East
Egypt invented writing (hieroglyphics), ink, makeup, advancement in medicine, toothpaste, door lock, the plow, calendar, and sundial — all game-changing tools that shaped the world. Even today Egypt remains a society of thinkers.
Step out onto Cairo street at 9 PM and you will see every restaurant filled with folks — rich, middle class, and poor all dining. Often times in the same restaurant- parking lots are filled with Mercedes and Maruti 800 (a car even India stopped making). Now one can look at this and see a population that is just spending all their money on dining out. Families just dining out to skip home cooking. But take a closer look and one sees youth and small groups sitting together not massive Islamic families.
This gives a sense that the night is for discussing and debating ideas. Something that is valued more than ever today — as idea-to-execution cycles have shortened dramatically. This means they always they knew their ideas were big enough for the world to know.
The fact that this high-energy population does this despite having a bond risk-free interest rate of 18+% and a stock marker that is only $40 billion means the nation has a set of men and women who aspire to live and build the nation. A set of people who believe that tomorrow will be brighter so I will consume and continue to think big.
The fact that Egypt continues to have a world-class University of Cairo and a country with very little imported labor means the nation is hungry for growth and there are believers in the Egypt growth story.
History is a powerful indicator in predicting the next great civilizations
Civilizations that had their previous might strive to rise again because of old pride and belief. The Chinese did it, the Indians are doing it now. Egypt with its internal might may just be the next one to pull it off.
The pharaohs always believed the sun would never set in Egypt — that’s why it is called the land of the 1000 suns — a nation that is built by the confidence and optimism of its people. It’s fitting that Egypt will only rise again and regain its previous glory.