Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

by persadv

Last weekend I watched a documentary about/with Ted Turner, the founder of CNN. During the interview his desk came into view. Very prevalently there was a plaque displayed saying “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” -which, we all know, was originally published by Thomas Paine.

One thing I found a bit surprising was that Ted Turner displayed this quote proudly on his desk (given the politically correct times we live in), but then something interesting happened: I started asking myself how many times in my life I had been falling into either category.

And I found that -while I do have a clear affinity for one of these three categories, there were/are times when I find myself in either one.

Now, the first two are perfectly OK, the third one isn’t: Because being in the way means being an obstacle to others and oneself, whether it is life in general, business, relationships etc.

So I asked myself:

What would happen, if we all were more conscious about whether we might occasionally be falling into the third group –and therefore hinder our own and other people’s progress, growth and overall positive development?

Would it change our behavior, our actions, maybe even the world in general?

I think so. Quite often most of us have a tendency to block growth –mostly due to our ego, angst, hurt feelings etc. etc. Every time that happens we not only miss a chance to grow (most importantly), but we also slow down the world and people around us (albeit not deliberately).

So even some 200+ years after Paine published this quote, it is still valid and obviously triggered these thoughts and Email.

I have hence decided to get one of these plaques for my own desk –with a little twist: Instead of it facing the people coming into my office, it will face me, so that I will be more consciously aware to which group I belong at any given moment –to assure that I contribute positively most of the time.

Hope this wasn’t too philosophical, but I felt compelled to share my little epiphany with you (knowing that at the very least my beloved wife will be delighted reading this).

Sincerely, Sage

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