Leading Is The Opposite Of Easy

It is always leadership’s fault and we are all leadership.

We all experience situations, circumstances, and even relationships in our lives that we wish were better than they are, that we want to see improved, and which, through some positive change, would enhance our lives exponentially. Each time we experience these, we have choices to make. We can choose to ignore them and do nothing, we can walk away, we can blame others and hope or demand they change, or we can take the lead and do something.

Obviously, doing nothing will not create the change we wish to see, but, perhaps we have decided, given all of the options, that our perceived problem was not really that bad after all, not worth the effort, and we can live with it.

Walking away, when it is even an option, creates its own problems because there will always be wreckage left behind in the form of damaged relationships, hurt feelings, or even unnecessary and irreparable enmity, and, beyond that, we always take ourselves, our own baggage, and our own issues, including an inability to face our problems, everywhere we go.

Blaming others not only damages our relationships, but it also damages our perceptions of our own power in our lives, reinforcing the belief that we have no control over whether or not things improve, that the only path to positive change in our lives is through the behavior of others, and that, if only they did better, we would be happy, content, and successful.

Leading is the positive opposite of these other dubious strategies, as it requires us to take action when doing nothing seems easier, to stand our ground and work through things when leaving requires less effort, and to take ownership of both our problems and their solutions, adapting ourselves to the circumstances and the people involved instead of requiring that they adapt to us.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.

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