Sunday, February 07, 2010

All Things Considered.....

When I first heard about it, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of pride. For a community shorn of such festivities, Awllen was an opportunity to unwind, regroup and refocus. True to its serenading name, coming as it is at the fag end of the winter season, it was an occasion the young and old looked forward to. With festivities within the community few and far in between, the hype surrounding this particular social function was something everyone welcomed. But reports emanating after the culmination of the event have been far from satisfactory.

One, asking a nobody to be a somebody and the nobody’s failure to make an appearance has angered many. Such choices must be made taking every possible aspect in consideration. It may be pertinent to point out that for a philanthropic organization it would always be in tune to invite non-political entities, and people within the community itself. We must not make any effort to turn the community into a vote-bank, more so for people outside the community.

Two, guests should be invited on the basis of contribution and love for society and their vision for community-building and not position. Our failure to recognize the above two important points resulted in the farce that was played out on February 2.

While some may just want to blast off and rock, it may be reasonable to remember that community gatherings are a time of togetherness, interaction, sharing and, certainly, enjoyment! While it is not socially and ethically wrong to enjoy oneself and have the time of one’s life, I’m afraid that turning a public function into a private party is not only farcical but totally unacceptable. We made a sham of the whole event, turning its purpose upside-down. We have turned one big opportunity to bond with one another into an event which will lead to talks about the probity of leaders and their character. And certainly, many will question the necessity of such gathering. Now, the inevitable question is: “Don’t we deserve leaders who will lead?” And it may be safe to conclude “we are what we are because of who and what we are”.

For some one who has been away for almost thirteen years now, commenting on an issue is not an easy one as some tend to consider me “an outsider”. But as someone who bears the name Vaiphei proudly, and also in the absence of any platform wherein such issues can be raised, I feel I am duty-bound and called to raise the issue through my blog. But before I wind up for the night, let me share a few more thoughts on leadership and what it required.

While many may disagree with me and I too feel that it is debatable, the foundational cost of true leadership is self-sacrifice. If you are a leader you have to sacrifice yourself. Along with that, a true leader must sacrifice time, money and energy. A true leader never believes anyone owes him for his services. He is doing it because he is aware of the price involved and he understands it. The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve. True leadership exacts heavy toll. Every great tree was once a seed. But the seed had to die. You cannot simply achieve great success without paying a heavy price.

If you are going to be a leader, a truly effective leader, you have to accept the fact that from its very nature the load of a leader is a very lonely one. He has to stay ahead of the pack - alone. And he must be prepared and willing to tread alone, even though he may be the friendliest person in the world. Leaders are the loneliest persons in the world. Loneliness is a price every leader have to go through.

Leaders are tired people. But they never complained. Why? Because they have a passion for their purpose. And they know that fatigue is a part of the package that comes with leadership.

No leader is exempt from criticism. His character and humility will be nowhere be seen more clearly than in the manner in which he reacts to and accepts criticism. A leader who negatively reacts to criticism is a leader who fails to understand the situation.

One important price of leadership is rejection. If you hate to be rejected, you will never be a true leader. Rejection does not mean you are wrong. It does not mean you are the wrong person holding the wrong position. It simply means you haven’t build a bridge between you and your followers. And that they don’t know you yet.

The life of a leader is full of expectations and duties. And these duties accompany responsibilities. And with responsibilities come pressure. The greater the responsility the greater the pressure.

Finally, don’t take life too seriously otherwise you will be controlled by every element. See it for what it is. One of the most precious gifts a person can exercise as a leader is the gift of humour. No matter how embarrassing the situation may be, a good leader must be able to laugh at himself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. And don’t take others too seriously. A good leader has the ability to look at life for what it is. And learn from it!

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