Derek Silvers said, during one of his presentations on TED, that it takes only “one follower to transform a lone nut into a leader.” He has a very valid point. He goes on to point out that the real leader is that first follower, the lone nut is the innovator.
I came across that clip while taking (yet another) course on Alison. If you don’t know Alison, you should meet (Alison.com). It is a multinational site designed to provide free and verifiable education to common standards. The one I was perusing was Bill Liao’s course on the Stone Soup Way, which is about building business and social enterprise. So far I am liking it and finding it very helpful. Perhaps what is most helpful is the concept of the “heated holistic present.”
Bill Liao basically says that most people fail at what they set out to do because they look to their past too much to learn. The past sets up a preconceived notion of the future. It is the person who can clearly imagine the future they want that will allow them to create their present. The past then becomes a record of where you have been, but not an indicator of where you will go. I find that the concept has a certain ring of truth about it. I have encountered a fair amount of people who not only define their own futures according to their pasts but also, will seek to define yours that way to know that it is not a commonly held concept.
I have talked about all the studies that have debunked the social myth that our pasts predict our behavior (from our past actions to past experiences – ie the once abused will abuse cycle) and how even though debunked, the majority of people cling to them as a means of predicting the future. But you can’t predict the future because it does not exist. To attempt to predict it is a waste of time and energy and most likely, you will be wrong. Unless, of course, there are reasons or catalysts (you, others) that ensure the prediction comes true. It is, of course, easier to fulfill an expectation or prediction because it absolves you of the responsibility for creation. A person who imagines their future is responsible for creating themselves in the present.
Another way to think of it harks back to Fromm’s concept that our society has become necrophiliac. We participate more with the dead (the past) then the living (the present) and the possible (the future). Back to Silvers, the innovator – the nut – is someone who can imagine the future but isn’t quite rooted in the living yet. That takes the first follower, the one who is living but can’t solidly imagine a different future – but will recognize a good one when they see it and risk supporting it. The next layer that comes, the other followers are people who need to see in the present that the venture is not rejected or ridiculed – it is then validated as being worthy of having a past, a point of origin and they jump on board.
The nut and the first follower are equals. The innovator and the leader cannot function without each other. One can imagine, but not create. The other can create but not imagine. Even when the role is fulfilled by one person, they will shift between those two roles (and get rather burnt, I imagine).
Yesterday, I played Go with someone much, much better than me who (after winning), walked me through several approaches of the game. I learned more in a ten minute conversation with him then in all the playing and reading I have done over the past few months. I immediately went online this morning to one of the Go problem sites and “got” the problems. Not that I could solve them yet, but I began to see the order and reason of the moves.
I had my writer’s group yesterday and I had a new poem submitted that they liked so much one of the women launched into a rewrite of it. To me, that is one of the highest compliments – to have someone so moved by a piece they want to write it in their own language.
Ok…back to the ocean, the small room, the draft but hopefully…not Tony Bennett.
c.2012. Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.