Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Building our Nation's... Builders?

I am trying to decide if I should reject the title "leader." Do I want to be a "leader?"

Think about it. It has an almost dirty connotation to it. When people say, our nations leaders... and most people think about congress today they either grumble to themselves or complain about something recent in the news. The inefficiencies, the politics, the MACHINE, the dirty tricks, the never ending healthcare/taxes debates... really most of what the media decides we should hear about. If Real Clear Politics is telling me that 14.6% of the country thinks Congress is doing a good job... while 78.4% disagrees... I dont think this is the image I would like to be associated with. (The stats are from the most recent poll on

So where else do we see leaders? Is a leader inherently political?
Because.. well I'll be frank. From my time at Yale, I have seen many people in the traditional "leadership" role. And... there really arent that many who do things that are really interesting. Or new. Or much beyond what is expected of them. Which, dont get me wrong, is a lot. But I want a leader who is smarter than me, a faster thinker, more creative... all of this because they should, in theory, be better at solving problems than I am or some other supporter of theirs is. Do we see this in congress? Do we see this in the head of the Yale Daily News? (No disrespect to you, MdelaB. I'm sure you're a great guy who is working really hard to keep it running and thriving). In some cases, yes. But if all who assume a position in charge of these spaces count as "leaders" I want to be something different.

So many people are afraid of what it means to be creative, or even labeled "creative." As though that it is a dirty term. I think its a compliment of the highest order.

Yes, it is hard to keep something running and keep track of all of the details to carry on as we were. But that is comfortable. Predictable. Easier to manage than wandering through the woods in the dark mapping out your own path. There is nothing wrong with wanting that.

Except, the people who are interesting are the people are building things. They see what we have and where we've been and come up with the places we CAN GO! They create. Not always because it must be done to save the rest of the group, but because they can. Because they see beyond what exists now and hold onto enough of their idealism to see what is possible beyond this.

This is what I want to be. I want to be a builder. Not a leader, a builder. I want to create things that did not exist before and offer my skillset to do so. I do not pretend that I have all of the answers (and neither should you) but I take guesses and run with it when I think there is something that I can do about it.

Maybe this all has something to do with the way that we "teach leadership." I'll leave that for another entry and get cracking on more of my Colombia research now.  

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