Your Suffering Can Make You a Leader People Will Follow
Leading people would be so easy if everyone listened to everything the leader said. We could tell everyone who the leader is, then let the leader tell everyone what to do. All would follow the leader’s instructions. Pick a good leader and everyone will succeed.
But nothing works that way. It’s rare that someone hears instruction and then follows it diligently. It’s rare to have to only tell someone once. It’s also rare that everybody can agree on who’s leading. And you might be thinking that good leaders are not easy to find.
So how can we give our words more weight, so that people listen when we say something?
It’s easy for words to feel hollow. It’s hard to say something and move others to action.
Stop Eating Sugar
There’s a story that you may have heard about Gandhi. A woman had brought her son to meet the man, and she asked Gandhi to tell her son to stop his bad habit of eating too much sugar. Gandhi tells the woman that he can’t help her today, but to come back in two weeks.
The woman leaves and then returns two weeks later. The woman approaches Gandhi with her son, and now Gandhi has a different message. “Stop eating sugar,” he says to the boy.
“Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago?” the mother asked.
Gandhi responded, “Two weeks ago, I was eating sugar.”
I’m not sure whether the story is true or not, but it is a reminder of the power of words. Our words can be empty vessels. Or they can create a greater impact if we have experienced the pain and the price of what we have told other people.
The Words That Stopped a Rebellion
In March of 1783, a group of men assembled in the Temple of Virtue in Washington. The men were officers and all fought in the War between the fledgling colonies in America and Great Britain, under General George Washington. The colonies had failed to fully pay and reward the weary soldiers, and when the fighting stopped, the men were restless. They wanted their promised pay and pensions. Some…