What the Knights Templar Teaches Us About Teamwork
All great projects have humble origins.
These days we’re conditioned to believe that the high-profile feats we see in the media are the result of overnight success.
This could not be further from the truth.
Just look at the Knights Templar.
Most people know them as a large organization of pious Christians who protected European travelers visiting places in the Holy Land throughout the medieval era.
They had enormous wealth and influence, with strong political connections across Western Christendom. Their military feats were stuff of legend and added to their aura of perceived invincibility.
However, the Knights Templar did not magically become successful overnight. In fact, their origins tended to be quite modest.
With the arrival of Islam in the 7th century, Christendom was deadlocked in a grueling struggle with Islamic forces. Islamic Warriors from North Africa were able to subjugate the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD.
Subsequently, these Islamic armies headed northward towards France but were halted by Frankish leader Charles Martel in 732 at the Battle of Tours. Islam’s spread was halted in Europe for the time being.
That said, tensions between the two civilizations never went away. The ascendance of the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century saw local Christian populations in the Middle East along with Christian pilgrims become targets of Islamic militants. Even the Byzantine Empire, the last outpost of Christianity centered in the Anatolian peninsula and parts of the Middle East, saw Islamic warriors prey upon it.
Towards the end of the 11th century, Byzantine emperor Alexis I Kommenos petitioned Pope Urban II for military aid against Islamic incursions. Subsequently, Urban II called on devout Christians to make an armed pilgrimage to Jerusalem and take back the Holy Land.
Christian knights succeeded in taking back Jerusalem in 1099, thus concluding the First Crusades (1096–1099).
Once the Holy Land was secured, various pilgrims made trips from Western Europe to visit these sacred territories.
Despite the Crusader victory in Jerusalem, most of the Middle East remained in Islamic hands. Any traveler making a pilgrimage would likely have to traverse through Muslim-occupied territories, potentially putting them at risk of being attacked or robbed.
The French knight Hugues de Payens recognized this dilemma and teamed up with eight relatives and acquaintances to establish a military order to protect fellow Christians. Originally, this military order of warrior monks would be known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.
But as they grew in prominence and became a force to be reckoned with, the military order would be recognized as the Knights Templar.
Across the West, the Knights Templar built a strong reputation that earned it both respect and sharp criticism.
Well-established religious leaders feared that the Knights Templar would grow too strong and potentially challenge their legitimacy.
Despite these concerns, the Knights Templar earned the trust of the countless leaders of the Catholic Church and secular leaders alike.
Their valuable military services helped position them as defenders of the West. The papacy was so impressed with their commitment to defending Christendom that Pope Innocent II issued a Papal Bull in 1139 that granted the Knights Templar special rights.
Among these new rights were exemptions from paying taxes, permission to build their own oratories, and enhanced autonomy in their operations. Effectively, the Knights Templar were only subject to the Pope’s authority.
Although the Knights Templar were known for their austere lifestyle and modest origins, they were able to branch out into other fields. This elite group of knights established a lucrative consortium of banks and became major financial players throughout Europe.
At their peak, the Knights Templar commanded a respectable fleet of ships, had the island of Cyprus under their control, and functioned as the most reliable banking institution for European rulers and aristocrats.
However, all good things eventually come to an end.
The Knights Templar lost influence by the 14th century because of the resurgence of Islam in the Middle East and crackdowns carried out against them in the West by ambitious rulers who wanted to chart their own political paths.
By the 15th century, the Knights Templar largely disappeared from the European political scene.
Despite their decline, the Knights’ Templar legacy never left the consciousness of Western civilization.
In fact, various organizations in Western civil society have emulated the structure of the Knights Templar (minus the belligerent crusading!).
One of the lessons you can take away from the Knights Templar’s example is the power of people who share similar interests banding together.
Teamwork is needed to pull off any major feat. Wealth-building is no exception to this trend.
Real estate is the most historically proven asset class.
However, it’s not a walk in the park as far as learning the craft goes.
I’d be misleading you if I said that real estate investing is a cinch.
I’d also be doing you a disservice if I told you that you can attain success on your own.
You’re not going to succeed in real estate by going the Lone Wolf route.
You will need help along the way. Especially when you encounter the inevitable roadblocks.
At that point, mentorship from more experienced individuals is crucial.
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