“The very moment you begin to advance and are recognized as one who is doing things in a great way, you will find yourself in danger. The temptation to patronize, advise, or take upon yourself the direction of other people’s affairs is sometimes almost irresistible.” Wallace Wattles, “The Science of Being Great”
Where have our great leaders gone? I see quite a number of successful people (depending on how your define
success) but I don’t see great leaders in today’s world. I see people who want to lead, who are in leadership positions, but lack greatness. Why is that? I look at heads of state and I can’t find any there. I look at heads of institutions and I don’t find them there either. Are they in the military? From the looks of things, I find the opposite. Are today’s religious leaders great?
In studying lifespans as applied to number cycles, it takes a minimum of 40 years to lay the foundation for a life. The references in the Bible to 40 days and 40 nights or 40 years etc. are always the preparation period, the building years, the learning and the building years prior to launch. It is same with humans. We take 40 years to even understand greater concepts and have enough life experiences to start to become effective in our own lives. From that age forward, we begin to integrate what we have learned, what we think we know and what we must still gain in knowledge. That takes another 9 years. It is then at the age of 49, we start to become effective in our own lives. Up until that time, we have not developed the backdrop or canvas to lay out our creations. We tend to see small pictures of life without the ability to see the grander scale or the complexity of the whole. We begin this process in our 50th year.
Unfortunately, we keep churning out young, ambitious individuals who want to lead, want to be successful, want to be rich, save the world, run our institutions and set out policies for us. Alas, they lack the ability to look at life’s complexities because they have not developed the backdrop for them. We see this easily in our young, ambitious political leaders in their 30’s and 40’s who want to save us and the country. We see this in the young “political advisers” on their staffs. We see this in our televangelists. We see this in our young tech entrepreneurs.
The source of power for this greatness is wisdom. It is the essential ingredient for greatness. It is dependent on knowledge and and the perception of the right thing to do. The person who knows the right thing to do and who is able and strong enough to do the right thing has the makings of a truly great leader. If this person can be trusted to do the right thing, people will follow this leader. Even with able advisers around her or him, the truly great leader knows the truth and has the courage and faith to follow it.
Wisdom takes time to develop, cannot be rushed and certainly cannot be achieved by sound bites. If we want great leaders, look for wisdom and truth. We don’t need politicians, they need us. We need great, wise leaders. The chance of finding them under 50, are few and far between.