“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Think Different
Today, we are facing a population explosion, climate crisis, lack of resources, inflation, increased competition, and a lack of integrity. Many of our corporate and government leaders are only interested in their personal agendas and do not care about the well being of society. In order to meet the demands of the society, even the educational institutions are preparing their students to be able to handle the challenges of life, by mainly focusing on developing their competitive behaviors. The media is also influencing and brainwashing us with commercials that make us feel unworthy. If we do not live a certain type of life style, drive a specific vehicle; wear certain brands of clothes, associate in certain social groups, or are not in a relationship, then our lives are incomplete...
During these times of confusion, turmoil, distress, and chaos, the role of a leader is crucial to restore calm, order, and confidence in society. Expecting the leaders of our countries to restore confidence has clearly shown to be a failure. Therefore, it is up to us as individuals to unleash the leadership traits within us and transform the future generation and ourselves.
We are born with the gifts and talents of leadership, and now is the time for us to unwrap these gifts and share them with the world. Whether we are entrepreneurs, part of the workforce, students, or parents, there is a tremendous need for us to cultivate our leadership skills. The following are key traits of leadership hidden within us.
Vision & Purpose – As leaders we have discovered our purpose and dedicated our lives to fulfilling that purpose. We have a long-term vision of the future and empower others who share the same vision. With persistence, planning, and execution, the shared vision is realized and turned into a reality.
It is our responsibility to encourage others to discover and live their passions. What the world needs today are people who are truly “alive” and not just living. We can demonstrate this by being fully alive, authentic, and enthusiastic about our purpose and vision.
Motivation & Enthusiasm – We are all motivated by the same force – happiness. However, the manner in which we approach happiness differs between individuals. Some of us seek happiness through extrinsic factors such as wealth, fame, and beauty while others seek happiness intrinsically through purpose, mastery, and autonomy. Those individuals that are extrinsically motivated may achieve their desires, but that journey will be filled with frustration and fatigue. However, those individuals that are intrinsically motivated are always full of energy, grace, and creativity. And ironically, the intrinsically motivated individuals also attain the extrinsic rewards of wealth, fame, and inner beauty. It can also be observed that along with motivation, there exists a strong sense of enthusiasm. Whether the rewards may be wealth or simply inner peace, leaders are always excited and passionate about what they are doing, and this ultimately leads to success.
While we interact with our friends, colleagues, or children, we must encourage and empower them through intrinsic rewards such as inner growth, greater challenges, or self-worth, and less by extrinsic rewards or punishment. Extrinsic rewards can be used during the early stages to encourage children or colleagues, but eventually should transform into intrinsic ones in order for the individual to emotionally evolve.
Emotional Intelligence – Very often we are praised for our intelligence or IQ. Corporations and educational institutions accept us based on our intellectual capacity. However, many institutions that we consider higher authorities, do not stress enough the importance of emotional intelligence. The destructive power of intelligence is clearly visible to us. Individuals who lack the ability to listen to their conscience develop weapons of mass destruction, atomic bombs, war strategies, and other immoral innovations. There have been many incidents where extremely intelligent individuals have caused a tremendous amount of sorrow to society. Recently, the person responsible for the shooting in the Colorado cinema was a Ph.D student who had failed his oral exam. In spite of his intelligence, he was unable to maintain his emotions and decided to go on a rampage. Other geniuses are also unable to manage their emotions and go on a killing spree if they catch their spouse having an affair or encounter unfavorable situations in their lives.
We must understand the importance of emotional intelligence, and focus on cultivating it and helping others develop it. We can become emotionally intelligent by practicing self-awareness, self-management, empathy, social awareness, and relationship management. We must become aware of our thoughts, the feelings of others, and consider situations from different perspectives. Eventually, we will realize the power of our thoughts and choose not to ever complete a negative thought in our heads. As leaders, we can always remind ourselves to watch our thoughts, as thoughts become words; words become actions, actions become habits; habits become character; and ultimately character becomes our destiny. In addition we must also encourage our children to cultivate emotional intelligence so that they can live a life of integrity and achieve “true” success.
Learning & Growing – As we practice emotional intelligence we will notice our desire for continuous learning and self-discovery. Education does not end after college, it is a life-long pursuit, and true leaders have a yearning for learning. The universe can be our greatest teacher if we allow it to be. Each one of us is constantly speaking to ourselves, but we do not realize that the universe is listening and responding. If we simply become more aware, we will find the answers to all our questions. The universe responds to us in creative ways, but it is up to us whether we see the responses through its synchronicities. As leaders we must encourage our friends, colleagues, and children to always consider themselves as students of life. We must develop the capacity and enthusiasm to learn, un-learn, and re-learn, only then can we maximize our full potential and the lessons we have learned.
As we age we tend to become more structured and rigid in our thoughts and behaviors. However, life is full of uncertainties and requires us to be flexible and adapt to the situations as they change. Acceptance, change, and moving forward are part of learning and growing, and if we do not go with the flow, we will simply cause unnecessary stress to ourselves and those around us.
These days, there is an urgent need for authentic leaders in corporations, educational institutions, governments, and most importantly in our homes. Unfortunately, happiness, gratitude, empathy, self-discovery, and wisdom are not frequently taught in schools, so as leaders it is our responsibility to encourage the pursuit of personal development, emotional intelligence, and collaboration in order to create a harmonious society.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon