Don’t be a follower all your life.
The dynamics for following and leading is changing. We can’t all be leaders all of the time, but we can all lead something at least once, something the world would love to have you contribute.
When someone demands to lead all the time they produce waste. The waste is in terms of people who think because they are not the top thinkers, creators, artists, politicians, sportspeople, musicians, business-people … they have nothing to contribute.
This morning I was arrested by just how huge an invention the clock. Fire is a huge “invention,” so too the wheel and the printing press, changing the way we live. And now I’m going to include the clock.
When I think about it, time doesn’t only regulate my life, it can rule it – my dad never possessed a watch, he worked his market garden from morning till night and he loved it, but my day can be broken down into minutes. Before the clock, ‘the presumption that time could not be sold since time was a gift held in common’ held true, but afterwards, canny people realised clock-time would not only better regulate a day but was a commodity they could by and sell. Many made a fortune out of this, whilst many more missed out. We may be living in a time of change, though, when the balance of the is moving towards the seller.
In truth, it’s more about what we do with our time. The printing press used to be useful to the few who were literate, but with increased literacy the world has changed again. Literacy allows us to hold on to thoughts by writing them down, to ponder and develop them. Printing allows us to share our thoughts with others. I once sat in a space reflecting the impact of the printing press: the wall was covered with columns of newsprint, and the space was filled with people’s thinking in the forms of books – piles and piles of them. The writers didn’t have to be there to orally pass on their ideas, and I can read them whenever I have the time to.
If you are reading this, you’re reading something I’ve published. We may never meet but you know what I think and it may urge you to do that thing you do in some brilliant way (this is my hope).
Mark Levy combines the power of the clock and literacy when he suggests seeing what we’re capable of in ten minutes of explosive writing: set a timer (non-ticking type preferable) and write down your ideas or dreams as quickly as possible, not stopping for grammar, spelling, or punctuation corrections, finishing only when the timer goes off (even if you want to continue).
What you’ve done is a powerful thing; it is far more likely to come about now you’ve written it down. (If you want to share it with someone, I’m all ears.)
Set the timer again – ten or maybe fifteen minutes – and re-write what you’ve put down, developing it as well as tidying it up. You’ve just used up less time than it takes to watch one episode of a TV soap, come up with an amazing idea (I really want to hear it), and used more than double the calories!*
Now ideas and permission and technology (including maker technology) are aligning, making it possible for each of us to become a leader of something we’re passionate about.**
(*It’s estimated watching 30 minutes of TV uses around 30 calories, and light office-work double that – you may be perspiring as well as inspiring after your writing, though.)
(** Whether you intend making this your paid work or the work you do beyond the job.)
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