“So many books? What are you reading?” Lulu asked as he hopped near an open book on my table.
“Reading. On leadership.”
“Why? Do you want to be a leader?” Lulu must have been a criminal lawyer in his previous birth. He questions every statement to find ‘ulterior motive.’ You do retain some traits from what you were then, they say.
“Yes, in a sense, yes!” When you do not wish to admit something fully, however true it may be, this phrase ‘in a sense’ comes handy.
“Nobody becomes a leader by reading books. Ha, ha! What you posted yesterday on Facebook hit the nail on its head, I liked it.”
“You mean the quote, ‘Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.’”
“Yes. How true it is. Why did you pick it up?”
“It appealed to me. ‘Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.’ Deep it is.”
“Because ‘becoming yourself’ is a never-ending process, the act of becoming a leader is never complete. You start it and you keep going.”
“You said it.”
“I recently met my schoolmate. After twenty-five years. We were chatting for hours. I was amazed at how we both had changed so much – the way we engaged in conversations, our evolved outlook to life, the way we navigated through tough times…..”
“Experience will chisel your personality. That is no ‘becoming yourself’.” Lulu turned a page of my book as he spoke.
“So true, Lulu. When something is chiselled, an unwanted piece is removed and…..”
“…….you have to decide what you are going to drop, right? That is where men differ from each other. They are their own sculptors!”
“You got it, Lulu. I met a friend recently. He was cheated by his business partner. He told me that he moved fast to ensure that his family will not be impacted by his financial downturn. So, he sold some real estate, his shares and cleared all his debts immediately. He started a new business. While his partnership dispute is in the court, he has made enough money now in his new business.”
“Yes, he says that this experience has taught him many lessons. He thinks he is a better person now too.”
“What makes him a better person? I thought he should have been a bitter person!”
“That’s the difference, Lulu. Experience makes some people better and others bitter. A lot depends on how you ‘process’ the experience.”
“I guess the man must have reflected on what the experience has taught him, and with focused more on his interests than teaching lesson to his partner.”
“You guessed it right. He focused more on his interests, and on how he needs to change to handle the situation. Reflection provokes self-awareness. Reflection is the key to development.”
“That’s an incomplete statement. Reflection is incomplete without a resolution. That’s when we learn a lesson. Your friend succeeded because he made those resolutions for himself.”
“That’s one of the important steps in ‘becoming yourself.’” Lulu paused for a while and said, “In final analysis it is up to each individual to decide whether to set sails for the journey of leadership or ‘becoming yourself’. And like any voyage it will have turbulent and calm sea, sunny weather and hurricanes, yet those who undertake the journey will get rewarded without fail.” Our discussion made me think. I fell silent. Lulu fluttered his wings and hopped on to my shoulder, and whispered, “This silence is so pregnant.”
Vivek S Patwardhan
”What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”