04 September 2016

Leadership & Self-Reflection

Portrait of George Washington
by Charles W. Peale (1775–76)
George Washington was a humble critic of his capabilities.
“While I realize the arduous nature of the task which is conferred on me and feel my inability to perform it, I wish there may not be reason for regretting the choice. All I can promise is only that which can be accomplished by an honest zeal.”
— George Washington, President elect, 1789
A month into his Presidency, following the first quadrennial presidential election of 1789, Washington expressed the weight of his responsibility:
"I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent."
In contrast, 57 quadrennial election cycles later, is a mashup of Mr. Trump’s fetishistic braggadocio as the presumptive GOP nominee for the same office:
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich. My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”
— Mr. Trump
Mr. Trump’s blind spot for his considerable limitations and inestimable weaknesses suggest he's, at best, capable of command-by-coercion like other infamous authoritarian strongmen.

The capacity for honest self-reflection is a predictive indicator for successful leadership.

03 September 2016

Religion, Reflection & Change

Someone asked, "If forced at gunpoint, what religion would you choose?"

Forced at gunpoint, I’d be a convincing liar.

Last weekend, nosing around the forgotten towns of rural America, I rolled into Underwood, Minnesota, population 341. One of the Main Street buildings was a modest church. I pulled over.

The sign reads:
Prayer does not change things; prayer changes people, and people change things.
If prayer is quiet reflection, then this message resonates with me.

Forced at gunpoint to choose a religion, I’d say I’m an Underwood Unitarian.