Agha Mohammad Khan: the funniest assassination in the world

Agha Mohammad Khan was a ferocious ruler who started the Qajar dynasty in 1789 in Iran. The Qajar dynasty ruled Iran till 1925, but not one of its successors was as cruel and devious as its founder.

Agha Khan beat back the Russians. Defeated the other tribes and united Iran. Made Tehran its capital. Went on to conquer Azerbaijan and the other regions of the Caucus. Plundered and looted everywhere he went. But his terror is exemplified when he razed down Tbilisi.

Georgia lost 4,000 soldiers during the battle for Tbilisi. Agha Khan? He lost 13,000 soldiers! He pressed on even when a third of his army was decimated. But after his victory, he rained down terror on the Georgians. Taking 15,000 prisoners and torturing a lot of survivors. Tbilisi was reduced to ashes.

In 1797, Agha Khan conquered the kingdom of Karabakh in modern day Armenia and Azerbaijan. And 3 days after that, he was assassinated.

The funniest assassination in the history of the world

Agha Mohammad Khan was assassinated not by his enemies or even by someone in his family who wanted to usurp his power. It’s a funny little story how his demise came about.

A quarrel arose between Agha Khan’s servant and his valet. And when they raised their voices in the vicinity of the Khan, he got mad. How could they disrespect his presence? And so, he ordered both of them to be executed.

But because it was Friday – the Islamic holy day – he ordered them back to their duties, and to await their execution on the next day. 

And what do you think happened? The servant and the valet, with the help of one more of their friends, entered Agha Khan’s pavilion in the dark of night. And assassinated him while he was sleeping.

Moral of the story: procrastination can kill you!

Don’t procrastinate. Don’t make excuses. Just do the work that needs doing.

But that’s easy to say and hard to do. We all know that procrastination is bad for us. But yet we do it. And then make excuses to justify our procrastination. Why?

Procrastination is a mood management technique

  • We procrastinate on a task to feel good in the current moment. 
  • And then we make excuses to help convince ourselves that our behaviour is legit.

It’s not that Agha Khan had never killed anyone on a Friday before. But yet he made an excuse. Fight the excuse and you’ll fight your procrastination.

The types of excuses

Psychologist Roxana Petrus teaches us that there are 4 types of excuses we make while procrastinating.

  1. Time based excuses: It’s the holy day. Or It’s too late to kill right now.
  2. Feeling based excuses: I’m too tired to kill.
  3. Environment based excuses: It’s too dark. Or I don’t have the right tools with me.
  4. Preconditional excuses: I should sharpen my sword “before” I kill. 

But all these excuses can be beaten in the moment. With one simple word. “But.”

“I feel too tired, but it’s important to work now.” Doesn’t matter if the reasoning after the but is not strong enough. Even weak reasonings help bust excuses. 

But you’re still just fighting excuses. How can you stop making excuses altogether?

How to stop making excuses completely

Charles Duhigg wrote about a powerful finding in his book “The power of habit.” Researchers found that people who manage to build the habit of exercising everyday, also end up eating healthier food. 

That makes sense. Because you want to keep your body fit.

But researchers also found that people who exercise regularly are also better at unconnected activities like cleaning dishes or stopping the usage of their credit cards. Crazy isn’t it?

How does this work? It works because one good habit changes your self image. A positive self image is the best tool in busting excuses of all kinds.

Action Summary:

  • You’ve got to cultivate your self image as that no-nonsense person. Someone who never makes excuses. What activity or ritual can you do everyday that will make you feel like you’re the person who gets shit done?