In the hustle of our daily lives, it’s hard to know what we’re missing. The reality though is we can’t miss something we never had.
While America is overflowing with celebrities, sports stars and the rich – normal people don’t experience anything but envy. Few famous people inspire a brighter future – they’re mostly distraction.
To be clear, a leader is not a perfect person. They are not always right. They have their flaws. A real leader believes in something far beyond themselves. They believe in something that can be attained, only by the dedicated actions of a team. A leader works for the greater good. They live a life aligned with their values, for the benefit of the group – not themselves. They don’t work for money, fame, power or influence. They don’t seek likes or attention or short term victories. They have optimism for the future, and they work to create it with others. People believe in them, trust them and respect them for this vision.
In America, it has been decades since a true, selfless leader was known. What is the unknowable cost of missing this?
Before the internet, an individual had to do a lot to stand out. They had to impact many people and/or stand as a symbol of something bigger than themselves. They dreamed big, did big work and helped the country improve. In short, they had a vision. Real leaders inspire others and motivate us to take action to make that vision real. Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sally Ride motivated us to strive for more. To make ‘better’ – reality.
Respected leaders ignite a fire to push for change— even when change is hard.
Today, it seems most famous people – are the opposite of leaders. They are often just annoying and self serving. From politicians to sports stars, to youtubers and actors – these people are famous for themselves, not for the benefit of others. They are not people working to build a broad coalition with a vision for a better tomorrow.
A lack of genuine public leaders is even more confusing, because on a local and community level, local leaders still do exist. There are still some teachers that go above and beyond. There are small business owners who provide quality jobs. Spiritual leaders in places still push for people to be charitable. However noble, though, they are local, and so is their impact. Leadership survives in small groups – but is lost at the highest levels.
Where are the true leaders in this country, and does anyone realize what happens when they aren’t around?
Imagine our car again. Our badly damaged, worn out and currently crashing car.
What happens without a transmission in a car?
Not a whole lot.
A transmission connects the wildly spinning engine with the wheels.
It is the connection from energy, to motion…
And this is similar to a good leader. They act like a transmission – one that takes the passion and vision of people, and helps all the wheels turn together to move ahead.
Any one person can get out of park and into first or second gear. But real leaders, they do the dirty work of a transmission until the car is safely at highway speeds, on its way towards the vision of the people.
That’s arguably what a politician should be, or at least the president…. But, realistically, at this point, we need outsiders to convert that potential energy of the people, into a better tomorrow. That is what great leaders have the power to do. Get things moving again.
Just like a transmission.
The world currently lacks heroes, and that’s a shame, we could use some. But to get heroes, we first need leaders – and that starts with each of us. To set good examples, do the right thing. Be honest, respectful, helpful -and taking action according to shared values.
Some good news is, historically, true leaders ascend from these local positions. These everyday people inspire others because people know what is right – they just need an example sometimes. That is leadership. It is inside all of us. Anyone can lead. And that can inspire others to do the same. And the country needs a lot more of that.
In your own world, in your city, in your household, YOU can stand up and demand better – it starts within. When people see someone setting an example – it shows others they can do the same.
Our media is focused on selling us. Our politicians are corrupt. Our government is outdated and bureaucratic. There is no leadership towards the future here. We can’t any longer for them to get up to speed – they’re just stuck in low gear.
We have to save ourselves – which starts by each of us leading in our own way.
To learn more, read all 10 short stories on What Is Wrong With America.