“…anyone who has control of his spirit is better than someone who captures a city.” Solomon, Proverbs 16:32
Leadership begins with self, not with others.
What you do with yourself first, is the first
determinant of your preparedness to lead others. What you do with/for others only shows the extent of your personal and spiritual growth. The world has nothing significant to reap from you, if you have not made much of your self, that is, grow in the direction of your potential. Except, of course, nuisance (whatever that is!) which is the very thing you have nurtured so far.
Here is a nugget for you, “there is no vacuum in nature.” Oh you know that, right? Yeah, everybody does!
Given the same amount of time, opportunity, exposure and, may be, education, one person becomes a blessing to the world and the other, a curse. Remember, the only thing the rest of the world can reap from you is the benefits of what you are becoming. And they will certainly reap it, one way or the other!
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Paul of Tarsus, Galatians 6:7
The opportunity of self-reflection
There is nothing the media is currently reporting that is not a reflection of what we have been sowing as a people. For instance, the United States have sown so much liberalism, that has substantially shifted her from the moorings of their founding fathers, and is being publicly tested in the demeanor of Clinton and Trump, Presidential contestants for the November elections. While Hillary Clinton may be treated with suspicion, Donald Trump has on his side the recreational benefits of a people amused by a clown master.
Leadership is doing what you can with what you have
Nevertheless, we must quickly note that, Clinton is in a company of people who seem to be more proficient managers of imperfections. One must applaud the grace they have displayed this week, where a sitting President makes such a powerful and emotional case for his former rival.
And not only President Obama, but a former president, Bill Clinton, whose turn it is to pay back Hillary who stood firmly by him, during his presidency, and Chelsea, Bill and Hillary’s daughter, and others, who beautifully wove a personal story into their case for Secretary Clinton’s presidency. That was beautiful. For me, it makes the case for a new start for anyone with imperfections, and who doesn’t have any?
Both parties, Democrats and Republicans, are full of many struggles and inconsistencies, but one of them, and you know who, has found a way to lead, by focusing on hope instead of hate. And even if this is not sufficient for them to redeem their image, it still shows their willingness to do the best within their own challenges, which is a mark of leadership, and which, if I might add, is the very quality that recommends them for another 4 to 8 years of leading the American people.
Anyway, where was I?
Anyone or group of persons who is willing and committed to taking the right step or doing the best in a personal situation IS the one qualified to help others to replicate the same experience in their own lives. Leadership is when private victory becomes a public advantage. You see that this definition of leadership embraces a person’s own daily struggles, learning (or unlearning) and accomplishments, as well as, the call that gets placed on him/her to extend the grace experienced so far to the rest of humanity.
This is why I believe the challenges confronting us globally today, requires an individual focus on people and not just nations. For all we know, even a nation is subject to the whims and caprices of a man or woman who is either elected to lead it or forcefully takes power.
The power of ideas
You hear shootings all the time now in the country that ships its culture most to the rest of the world. Police maligning those who are not “white”, increased violence against the American police and, of course, Europe’s trauma in recent times, this is taking for granted the wildfires of religious radicalization that has engulfed much of the middle east, and now getting a western twist in what had dominated the news in recent times. Now, it’s no longer a fight against religious radicalization, but a war against a more subtle and even encouraged element in today’s globalization, ideas.
Yes, that is the single most irreducible element of self. Whether we are discussing politics, business, religion or life, we are shaped by the ideas we have entertained and eventually admitted into our (in)formal, you know, normal way of thinking. This is the reason why leadership is even more crucial now than ever.
If you’re following me so far, you’ll know that, it is not, first of all, how to lead others from something undesirable to our collective existence as humans, that is my concern here, rather, it is to unlearn the bad habit of leaving self to chance, basically making much of your self by investing time and effort in doing the hardworking of leading your self.
The development of good answers to effort
Just like things do not require any effort whatsoever to degenerate into disrepair, evil usually runs faster than good; because any state of idleness is good enough breeding ground for the multiplication of evil.
Any development of good is always a product of active, committed and sustained effort. Not leading your self is evil and you don’t need to look too far to see what it has cost the world. Leading your self is the good that will slowly but surely restore order and prosperity again into our world.
Accepting the responsibility to lead your self
So, how do we begin to do just that? Now, what I’m about to share with you may sound a bit philosophical but I humbly ask you to follow me with your mind first before making a decision. We arrived on earth as “raw materials”, if you like, and with the proper mix of some “finished materials”, what physically began as a raw material gradually transforms into a refined product, that is useful (purposeful) in shaping the human experience and making the world a better place. If, like me, you see yourself as yet unfinished, a work in progress, you will be more careful with the way you expose yourself to ideas that are dangerous to the collective prosperity of mankind.
Carefully decide what you will believe
Now, how do we know what ideas to accept and what ideas to reject? This question is a key question to ask as we seek to actualize the true self we are destined to be. The seed of this self that we are yet to become is already in us. So we need a sure way of staying on course in the midst of all the possibilities (or is it distractions?) that is all around us.
Two things shines through so far, you need to have a revelation of who you are, the seed of which is already in you, and then you must learn to lead your self towards the direction of your destiny by aligning yourself to the conditions (principles) that will guide your beliefs, tastes and choices.
Do you have the map to destination YOU?
My guess is by now you know that you need a map. You are basically a traveller. You’ve not been here before. You are on a mission. You need a map that will show you, who you must become and how to become who you must become, in order to get to your destination.
I believe the words of Socrates is appropriate here: the unexamined life is not worth living. And like the cartoon character, Doc Mcstuffins, says (and sings) in my children’s cartoon, it is “time for a check up!”
Here are 7 questions to ask your self:
1. Is the world better off without me?
2. If I woke up tomorrow the most powerful person on earth, probably, #POTUS*, what will I do with that power?
3. Power is for order, direction and expansion. Do I prosper with power or do I suddenly become wicked?
4. If every other person in the world today begin to live exactly as I live, believing the same things and doing the same things, will there still be violence, corruption, immorality, segregation etcetera, in the world?
5. What kind(s) of reward can make me swing my beliefs instantly to something opposite?
6. Who am I?
7. What exactly am I here for?
Self-awareness is the starting point
Remember, the question of leadership today is not whether you have people following you or looking up to you, it is whether you know and accept yourself enough to follow your self. Following yourself is what makes it possible to have a refined version of you that will live and breathe for the good of others. It is this type of person that can be emulated and, of course, followed by others who sincerely want to repeat the same quality of mastery (or more) in their own lives.
*#POTUS is President of the United States
Upcoming: Self-awareness and the 4 senses
1. Sense of acceptance
2. Sense of meaning
3. Sense of contribution
4. Sense of achievement