Why Empires Crumble, Families Fall Apart, And People Go Bankrupt

Mell and I do a lot of hiking. It’s always amazing to see a tree going on, through, and around a boulder. It had me thinking on this important analogy for you.


During my time as a history teacher we’d study some of the great empires in history. Guess what? Regardless of how powerful, they all have collapsed.



Here’s a few of the biggest examples and worth a second to get some quick perspective. Or simply skim and see they all have a beginning AND end date.

Mongol Empire (1206-1368): The Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous land empire in history, stretching from China to Eastern Europe. It collapsed due to several reasons, including internal conflicts among the ruling Mongol elite.

British Empire (1583-1997): The British Empire was the largest empire in history in terms of territory and population, spanning a quarter of the world’s landmass and ruling over a population of over 400 million people. Its decline included anti-colonial movements in its colonies and economic costs of WWII

Spanish Empire (1492-1975): The Spanish Empire was one of the most extensive empires in world history, comprising territories in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Its decline was caused by a combination of factors, including costly wars and internal political struggles.

Russian Empire (1721-1917): The Russian Empire was the largest contiguous empire in history, spanning across Eurasia and North America. Its collapse was caused by a combination of factors, including the impact of World War I, internal political instability, and growing social unrest and revolutionary movements.

Qing Dynasty (1644-1912): The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling over a vast territory that included present-day China, Taiwan, Mongolia, and parts of Russia. Its collapse was mainly due to internal economic and social problems.

Combined with other factors, every empire has crumbled because of internal instability and strife.

What they created couldn’t be maintained by future generations.

Businesses and Bankruptcy

Next up I start studying business as our family companies began to grow rapidly. A book I picked up was called “The Millionaire Next Door.” It countered what most of us had viewed as “rich people.” Instead, it wasn’t the flashy status symbols, big houses and fancy cars. Many of those people look wealthy but are a few paychecks away from losing it all.
Instead, it more often the “average” person next door that is frugal, independent, avoids status traps, and acquires assets quietly.

One study mentioned in the book was addressing the question of “which type of people are most likely to become millionaires?”

A top group was 1st generation immigrants to the US or their children. They had the work ethic, frugal lifestyle, and drive.
What about one of the lowest groups?

3rd and 4th generations from those same groups. What happened over a couple generation that turned some of the most successful people to some of the least successful people? One of the same things that ruined empires and we’ll discuss that with families.

What one generation created….the others couldn’t maintain.

Families Falling Apart.

This isn’t an article about divorce. It’s about families growing further from their roots and each other over their lives or within 1 generation. There were traditions in many cultures to establish family “crests” “mottos” “values”, and even professions.

Sure, over time things change and evolve. Still, the reason companies like 23 and me or Ancestory thrive is because people want to know where they came from, who were their ancestors, and what did they believe in.

All it takes is one generation to get complacent, not pass it on, and it’s lost.

What one generation created, the very next often destroys.

It’s a cycle that’s happened over time to every empire. They establish something rock solid like those massive boulders.

Then a little seed of doubt or comfort drops on top of it. Perhaps not the first or second one, but eventually one will sprout.

And that sprout takes root and causes cracks in the rock solid foundation. Soon it rains and the water starts to make the crack larger until it erodes the dirt under the rock. Over time, the now broken rock will lose it’s base completely and go sliding down the mountain to shatter at the bottom.

YOU can do something about it now.

Reflect on where cracks exist in your family. A good place to start is by downloading (free) our 7 Elements Of The Strong Family Path and consider if any of those 7 need to be addressed.

Then be purposeful about fixing those cracks.
That’s it.

It’s time to control the controllable. You can’t fix past generations and you can’t guarantee future success. You CAN make sure you’re a strong steward of your family that will leave a legacy for others. It does take action and purpose.

What can be lost in 1 complacent generation…

…can be found in 1 purposeful generation.

Are you going to push your family forward or sit back on what your ancestors provided?

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