The world and the people who reside in the world always have been in want of great ideas and persons who exemplified those ideas in deeds. Great leaders are made by great ideas and great actions. The extraordinary capabilities of organizing a movement surrounding some specific aim are the first quality of great leaders. Great leaders inspire action not by just showing the path to the followers but also by walking with their followers on the same path.
1. Why Great Leaders Inspire Action?
It is often assumed by some vested interests and critics that great leaders inspire action because they manipulate the minds of the people. This false belief is rooted in those people who don’t understand how great leaders inspire people into some particular form of action.
It is imperative to search for the answer to how great leaders inspire action in people’s minds. The story of Mahatma Gandhi comes immediately to one’s mind. Once a mother complained about his son having the habit of overeating sugar to Gandhiji. Gandhiji told her to come after one week. Next week ensued. Again Gandhiji told her to come after a week. This recurred for four weeks continuously. After that, Gandhiji advised her son to lessen the amount of sugar in his food intake. The mother asked why this advice was not given on the very first day. Gandhiji replied that until he had controlled his desire to eat sugar, how could he direct others about it?
2. How Can Leaders Inspire Action?
This story is simple yet it makes a powerful and profound point that unless the leader himself cannot follow what he has said, his words are ineffective. The way to inspire others lies in ourselves. Until we are not prepared to take up the challenge and follow the lofty ideals to ensure our victory in response to some particular aim, we cannot possibly be held as a leader, and we won’t succeed in achieving our aim.
The inspiring leaders hold strong beliefs and never shy away from commitments. Those inspiring leaders not just talk but act on the idea. The lazy idea of leaving things in the middle never occurs to inspiring leaders. They are adamant about their belief in the act which they do. It can only happen when the idea is pious which can make the act holy.
How great leaders around the world have shaped the contemporary life of the nations is something that has always puzzled the people sitting in power and authority. The power and authority were nominally held by the Britishers but the masses were with Gandhiji. They were following his every call assuming it as some sort of a religious diktat. The loyalty of people was not to any authority or person sitting in power but to someone who was outside it. The power was hapless in front of the inspirational leadership of Gandhiji.
2.1. Ideas Worth Spreading
Some spectacular organizations have assumed the charge of spreading inspiring ideas and generating important conversations around many themes connected with daily lives. One of the most powerful ways to transmit such ideas is through social media and seminars. YouTube is one of the most effective ways in today’s era to communicate with the ideas of great minds, for example. One needs only a smartphone or computer to exploit and access any video in today’s time. The Internet provides everything.
To watch knowledgeable videos is to communicate with the best of minds, it is to engage with inspired leaders, it is to secretly talk with the world and critically analyze it. It gives one a strong grasp on the relevant subjects and issues concerning the world. It is to experience visually the greatest intellectuals and leaders who are actively seeking to change the world from the status quo.
One must never cease to gain and learn from existing systems of knowledge. How great leaders have always sought to immerse themselves in knowledge and good books symbolically tells us the importance of gaining education and learning ideas which are sustaining the society. To know what sustains our society, first, we need to learn the ideas and ideals which would have inspired our ancestors who created a nourished civilization wherein the spirit of inquiry was welcomed.
2.2. Great Thoughts of the Leaders of India
The civilization of India has from ancient times produced great leaders who inspired action in the people. The consciousness of the Indian people is filled with the ideal images of Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Nanak, Shivaji, and Gandhiji. It is filled with the images of Sita, Draupadi, Gargi, Laxmi Bai, Ahilyabai Holker, and Annie Besant. All of them were immersed in Indian culture and society. They inspired generations after generations. However, there was a section of elites who were wary of the spread of ancient ideas in the masses. They viewed India with contempt. They styled themselves as progressives.
2.3. Progressives and Ancient Ideas
The idea of anything ancient has not gone down well with the supposed progressives of our country. A progressive becomes an enlightened progressive when he learns to spit on his culture without any kind of proper examination, which he considers to be beyond his intellectual dignity. The one who is most violent, disloyal, and hateful towards his own culture is the one taken as a person with an impeccable intellect and a mark of superior genius.
The progressives claim to bring a panacea to the people, but they end up delivering plague and poison. They disrupt the commonly held notions of the society and culture, the efflorescence of different speculations and ideas to them is a negation of intellectuals. Anyone who holds a different opinion other than theirs is an object of disdain and dismissal. Those who dare to differ are subjected to mockery and contempt. They are treated as untouchables and further ghettoized.
The progressive mind is in perpetual denial mode for he never concedes any idea to be good other than his own. The other ideas are not even read upon, leave alone speculations. They are contemptuously referred to in a tone that is ridden with unbridled megalomania and superiority. The best-established tempers of the populace, the habits which have been inherited from our past, and the customs which have withstood the test of time and ages are to be in their opinion disposed of and dismantled.
2.4. Ted Talks- A Necessary Remedy Against The Progressive Elites
The progressive pursuit of ideas has negative consequences on society which can only be corrected by other community talks and discussions on the vital issues affecting mankind. One such social community is Ted talks.
Ted Talks is a very popular social initiative undertaken by those people who have been passionate about researching and discovering the “ideas worth spreading”. A TEDx program aims to spark lively and fruitful conversations and discussions that aim to shape the local community of any area. Ted talks can be organized freely through cooperation with the Ted organization itself. Ted organization provides free license and guidance for successful event management as well.
Ted talks have brought about a successful change in the world in the last three decades. The public discourse has been actively enriched because of the Ted talks videos that people watch on a computer screen and discuss with their peers and family members. The Ted talk video that is watched by common people explains how the success of one social initiative can change the way of thinking of organizations after organization.
Ted membership is optional and many people who conduct business, and who work in a company join it formally or informally.
2.4.1. Simon Sinek- An Unconventional Speaker at Ted Talks
Simon Sinek is one of the most popular speakers whose speech at Ted sparked a huge range of conversations around the globe. It galvanized the way people usually think. He describes himself as an unshakable optimist and is an author of five famous books including ‘Start with Why’ and ‘The Infinite Game’. He is a leadership expert and has a unique way to see and attend the outside world. His famous speech “how great leaders inspire action” has been viewed more than eighteen million times. It is the third most viewed Ted talks of all time.
In the speech “ how great leaders inspire action” he describes what is it that makes only a few people leaders and why most people buy the ideas and causes of those leaders as their own. He tells people that leaders are the most ardent followers of their ideas and they deeply believe in what they say. They can inspire others because they have an attachment to the just idea and cause that they are leading. This resonates with these common people who happen to have an invisible connection with the leaders and their thoughts and ideas.
Simon Sinek further elucidates what transpires in the minds of great leaders. He says that great leaders have a solid vision of change and what the future would look like after the change has happened. Whether it is a social change or political change or business change, they all have a clear vision of it.
3. Some Examples of Real Life Leaders
3.1. Martin Luther King
Simon Sinek expands his speech by giving the example of Martin Luther King. Simon Sinek notes in his speech that the massive influence that was exercised by Martin Luther King can make us realize how great leaders are made. He says that even before the civil rights movement, there was enormous discrimination against many citizens of the USA. They had no voting rights.
Simon Sinek observes that Martin Luther King was not the only one who suffered those injustices, he was not the only one who was a great orator, many arguably could speak better than him. Then why did Martin Luther King become the resistance symbol of those who fight against injustice?
Simon Sinek says further that it was because the way he lead inspired people. His vision of the future was so positive that people wanted to relate themselves to it. It is in human behavior that one wants to associate himself with positive things. Martin Luther King recognized how human behavior works. He just didn’t speak but he had a certain vision of how to go from here to there. He had a vision of how to alter things in a way that could enhance the quality of the social life of millions of people.
3.2. The Wright Brothers
Simon Sinek gives another example. The Wright Brothers: Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright were the two who invented together with the world the first flying machine that could be controlled by humans. What exactly did they have? There was someone else who was also in the pursuit of making flying machines; Samuel Langley. Langley had better resources at his disposal, he had better colleagues with him, newspapers were following him, and he got enormous money from the war department to figure out how flying machines work. But yet no one knows him! Why?
The Wright brothers were not surrounded by the best minds in the world, they didn’t even have a college education. The Wright brothers didn’t even have enough way, their bicycle shop was only for proceeding them to the fulfillment of their dream. The focus of their life was on their goal, they were possessed by a dream to discover something, and they were driven by some high purpose and cause that they thought could change the world forever.
The Wright brothers were in the pursuit of a desire for rapid improvement of the lives of the people. They were not worried about money and fame, and thus the blood and sweat of the wright brothers paid off eventually. One day they became the first person in the world to fly in the air with the help of machines. Langley after knowing the success of the Wright brothers quit the job. He had no desire to even improve upon the design and quality of the flying machine. The financial services were most important to him, and the service to humanity was in the brothers. That’s the difference between a leader and a normal being.
3.3. The Apple Company
Simon Sinek gives yet another example to conclusively prove his point. This time of the Apple Company. Why the business of Apple organization grows more than others? How do they communicate to the consumers? Why and how do they hire people? Why do they show no sign of stopping? What is the simple but powerful model of success according to them? These are the questions that Apple Company asks itself when they hire people.
The way Apple communicates to the audience is very different from others. They focus on why are they doing what they are doing. People buy not what you do but rather why you do it. They hire people with the vision of challenging the status quo and that’s where they make a difference. They share the vision of gradual ascendancy of scientific knowledge and improvement of our lives.
4. The Golden Circle Followed by Leaders
Simon Sinek has beautifully codified an idea to explain all of his thoughts which he refers to as a golden circle. This golden circle consists of three circles. He says that there is a very definite and clear pattern about how best minds and organizations work. Martin Luther King, the Wright brothers, and Apple, all of them think, act, and communicate in the same pattern. This pattern demonstrates why some organizations work but others don’t.
Why? How? What? These three questions amply explain why some ideas and organizations inspire people while others don’t. All organizations of the world know what they do, many of them also know how to do what they do but only a few know why they do what they do. By “why” the profit is not implied because profit is only the result of it. By “why” it meant what exactly is the purpose behind what you do, what’s your belief, what’s your cause. That determines the outcome of your result. Whether you are successful or not, heavily depends on your viewpoint.
Without some purpose, a person can never progress. The way to ensure progress is to determine the purpose which should be pious and holy. The inspired leaders, the inspired organization all of them work inside out, thinking in terms of why they are doing what they are doing. This paves their way to progress and initial signs of success motivate them to continue on the path and they lead the world to a better place, inspiring everyone alongside.
A person who wants to become a great leader has to work in the same way as Gandhiji did, Luther did, and Nelson Mandela did. Furthermore, they should read and watch the great minds of today. The search for success, the way to lead people, to expect things in a certain manner requires a great deal of hard work and sharp vision. The one thing that explains why you do the work you are doing is the most significant thing in the whole matter that decides the rest. Search your purpose, seize it, and work upon it. Success would follow!