If there was one person in this world that you could follow, who would it be? And no, I am not talking about following someone on Twitter, or any of those popular social media websites. I mean someone you would look up to and follow in life, with character traits that could lead you somewhere you otherwise wouldn’t reach on your own. This person just seems to know exactly what to say or do in a specific situation. Never afraid to uplift others as he/she does himself/herself. This person may be everything that you admire. Do you have someone in mind? We’re all pursuing something in our lives, are we not? We want to become something more or do something more at every point in our life. Regardless of where you are, there must have been a point in your life where you did not know something. Maybe you didn’t know how to do something at your place of work or maybe approach someone to speak with them. Whatever it is that you found difficult to do, most of us would’ve sought aid in our pursuit. Sometimes we find it and sometimes we don’t. So what do you do when you don’t? Let us see if we can make a bit more sense of this, kind reader!
Most of us go through our lives following something or someone. Be it the word of deities, our parents, people we trust, random people we meet, characters from movies or just our own. Thinking about these people at times do help us make particular decisions. For example, if I would choose to be honest in a moment that prompted me to lie because this is a particular characteristic that I admire. But we weren’t always this way. We didn’t always have something or someone to give us direction. Not knowing what to do when we need to do it is a strange place to reside in, even if it is just for a few minutes. Most of us tend to stay here longer than we need to, but that’s ok. Being here can teach you a lot about life, about reality and most importantly about yourself. I noticed that this is where most people either find themselves or lose themselves. Don’t get me wrong, the decision does not ultimately decide your life, but it does impact your life in some way. We’re all using what we know to make the best decisions for ourselves. We may not realize that we are doing so, but at every moment we are all trying to figure out the best way to live our lives.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ah, so on to how I have come to my conclusion. Please do bear with me a bit. I had learned a lot from stepping into the working world. From job-specific knowledge that gave me the necessary “work experience”, to learning more about my life and how to figure things out which gave me the necessary “life experience”. Let us take a few steps back. Coming out of my entire schooling and university career, I never knew what it would be like to not have someone point you in the direction that you wish to follow. I mean as much as we would like to think that we are getting the degree on our own, the lecturers have paved the path to follow by creating a curriculum for us. Now my turn had come to be introduced into the working world. And yeah, I felt that cool mix of fear and excitement. You know what I am talking about. Doing whatever learning that I could get done so that I could be better prepared. This was the first time I was away from everyone that I could have asked advice from. I was finding myself — so I needed to be here even more than I felt that I didn’t need to be at this point. So naturally, I was the naive kid ready to learn all that I needed to learn and become all that I needed to become. I met a whole lot of different people that were kind, disciplined and friendly. When I had started working I met people who helped me get the job-specific knowledge. But honestly all of these only took me so far and what I needed was something more because I never felt fulfilled coming this far. How do I go about doing this?
After some time, I felt the monotony come along. I thought that I would be challenged more and be taught exactly what I needed to become the person I saw myself becoming years from now. Getting the job-specific knowledge did take a few weeks, but after that, I was not progressing. It was as if I was procrastinating becoming the person that I saw myself becoming and this was a subtle torture that I did not wish to live with. Self-reflection seemed to help because in these moments is where I find more of myself. This is where I seemed to notice that most give in and become the monotony with their only reason being, “that’s life”. I decided to take a different path and be a little unorthodox. I decided then that there must be a reason why I cannot find what I was looking for. There must be a reason why there is no paving on the path that I wish to follow. That was when everything built up and then a brief silence — maybe this was me telling me to become the leader that I wished to follow. But how was I going to do this? That was when it hit me, that no one can answer this for me. Because a leader that I would follow is everything that I admire. So I asked myself, “If there was one person on this planet that you would follow, what would they do in a situation like this?” I did not know the answer immediately but after some time I noticed that each moment that I faced defined me as a person. Looking back on the mistakes that I had made and the ones that I didn’t, they all helped me become a little more of myself. That’s when I realized that I would learn from every moment that I had experienced — the good and the bad. To develop those characteristics that I admired in myself. I allowed my mistakes to be my mentors. As much as we would love it, there is no secret pill that we can take to make us gain all of the experience that we need to become the person that we admire. One of the stories that I enjoy telling people. Is that when I left home, initially I thought that I was going to follow a job. Most of the time this is what it seems like, but I later discovered that I left home to find myself. To work on myself. To learn whatever I needed to — so that I could make progress in the right direction and become the leader that I wished to follow. Trust me, this may sound all good — but it wasn’t. I had moments that helped me define my character because as they say “still waters never made a skilled sailor”.
“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” — Warren Bennis
Being the leader does not mean that you always make the right decisions. It does not mean that you always have an answer or always can uplift the world. No being a leader means being that person who isn’t afraid to make those decisions. They aren’t afraid of falling flat on their face. They can get themselves up. They aren’t afraid to admit when they are wrong. Being a leader means making a conscious effort to be someone that you would follow. It’s never easy, but it’s never difficult also — it just takes a higher level of effort, and that’s just something you must accept.
Develop those innate qualities within you. Don’t let it become something you regret on your deathbed. Be a leader. Leaders feel the entire spectrum of feelings that you feel, but the way in which they interpret this feeling is up to them. They may not always know what to do or how to do what they wish to do but eventually, they figure it out. They are not some special breed that knows everything. They are just the person that you want to be, the person that you can be but never the person that you choose to be. Why? It’s too easy to give in and be a victim to everything that you feel. It is too easy to live just enough of life to make your online presence seem much more than it actually is. Everyone can do this, but how many go beyond and discover the treasure hidden in themselves? How many dig deep and share their riches to save others from the poverty that is their minds? How many use that which they know and that which they have to improve the lot of others? We are all human beings. We choose our life at every moment. The only influence that we have is our own. The only person that needs to be convinced that something is or isn’t is ourselves. So when you don’t know what to do and have a full spectrum of thoughts speeding through your mind — take a moment and ask yourself “if there was one person on this planet that I would follow, what would she/he do in this moment?”.
Cultivate your thoughts. Step up, strengthen your mind and become everything that you admire. The world has those leaders that you do admire and they are a combination of everything that they choose to be. What the world needs is you and the combination of everything that you choose to be. This way you could inspire others to become their own leaders someday. See it, believe it and become it! It may never be easy, but if you invest in your existence you just may become the leader that you wish to follow.
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