One day a field marshal requested an audience with Napoleon. As every good leader must, Napoleon agreed to hear him out. The field marshal brought news of a great victory he had achieved. He talked for a long time about his accomplishment, piling detail upon detail.
Napoleon listened closely throughout the entire narration, but said nothing. As the officer rambled on, Napoleon continued to listen politely, and the marshal interpreted this as encouragement. Surely, he thought, Napoleon will now give me the praise I so richly deserve.
When the marshal finally stopped talking, Napoleon asked him one question: "What did you do the next day?"
The field marshal was speechless. But the lesson was not lost on him. From then on, the officer understood that he should never rest on his laurels. So he left it to others to bestow the praise.
~ Brian Cavanaugh
Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon.
~ Percy Shelley