Napoleon was 5’6

Certainly we are all familiar with what is known as the Napoleon Complex. This disproven emotional disorder is attributed to individuals of a shorter stature…


Certainly we are all familiar with what is known as the Napoleon Complex.

This disproven emotional disorder is attributed to individuals of a shorter stature that have developed an inferior disposition based solely on their height.

But the Napolean complex is, well, much more complex.

I say this because we have based our idea of the Napoleon complex on misinformation about the French commander. Contrary to popular belief Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French, was average height. He is estimated to be 5’2, but this on the French unit scale. This would put him at approximately 5’6 on our measuring scale in modern international units.The most significant cause of the Napoleon misconception is the company he kept. As the King of Italy, he had size requirements for his bodyguards. Whenever Napoleon was spotted, he would only appear lower to the ground compared to his over towering entourage. Perhaps Napoleon was a bigger man than most. If for no other reason because he didn’t mind being the smaller man for the sake of protection.


I admire many things about the reign of Napoleon but this small tidbit is important to me as I set standards for those I allow in my own inner circle. I believe that every relationship, friendship or partnership ought to have height requirements; minimal levels before they are afforded the luxury of your company.

In our commitments, whether intimate or platonic, we tend to steer clear of setting our minimal standard. This refusal to set a standard is deeply rooted in the fear of being alone. Some of us feel that if we set our minimal requirements we will ostracize ourselves from the choosing pool, taking ourselves off of the market. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. People are actually drawn to those who demand high-level personhood from others. Committing to this relational tactic will serve as a benefit for you and your potential significant other. Demanding more from others with patience and compassion is the untarnished key that unlocks loving and lasting relationships.


I am consistently shocked by the simple fact that Napoleon has been counted in history as short, simply because of his standard. We should set a standard for how “low” we will go relationally even if our reputation depends on it. Napoleon Bonaparte, the Little Corporal, teaches us that even if you go down in history as a “low-down” person, at least you demanded “high-level” people for your life.

We live in a time that is quite similar. We consider those like Napoleon to be cold-hearted and calculated because of their standards. We call them picky and high maintenance. It has even become a repetitive theme in our social media outlets. However, standards alone do not make one low down. It is the lack thereof that should spark questions about one’s character.Your standards for who you consider low are yours for the choosing, but it might encompass the abusive, manipulative and the self serving. These are only a few of the negative character traits that you are excused from. Regardless of your family history, your parent’s relationship or the low standards of classmates, colleagues and constituents, you are entitled to better.


“Better” encompasses those making next level commitments. The beauty of connecting with another person is the growth you will share rather than the growth you found. The person you commit to may not be the intellectual giant you prefer, but the advances you make together are what matter most.

This is why it is ultimately important to find your own idea of emotional surety. In a world such as this you will need someone to guard your heart. At the end of the day, you will have to make the decision. I leave you with the question that I believe Napoleon answers for us all: who will you depend on for security?

by Tyler Joshua Green

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