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Last week I got to see interstellar… I still haven’t made up my mind about what I think… But I definitely think something.
Besides weirding me out and giving me that “don’t think about the space time continuum/ flux capacitor/cluster flub” – the film stirred up al kinds of thoughts about leadership.
The most frustrating thing about watching interstellar was watching someone with clairvoyance of the future be impotent to change the present. There is a burden that comes with vision… vision is the nonnegotiable of good leadership. Good leaders see where a group, company, family or movement is and where they need to go and calls for changed birthed from vision. But if you are in capable of changing the current circumstances, choices, or prejudices, vision can be the greatest burden a leader can carry.
Many of us have been in positions where we’ve seen what needs to happen but have been a minority of opinion when it comes to how to move forward. The black hole scene where McConaughey is trapped viewing the past without a way to effect the outcome haunted me for days after viewing it. In terms of cinematic power, the movie could have (and possibly should have) ended there. The poignancy of the movie seemed to rest in our inability to change the past based on what we know in the present.
While the film focused on the future it played with the terms future, past and present to the point that they were all interchangeable based on the time in which we are talking about them. The frustration we all experience at wishing we could change the past is the same lament leaders go through in moments of clarity and foresight.
So what are our options when we can see clearly into the future but realize we are powerless in the present?
1. We can escape. The maxim in poker is to know when to fold ’em. The sad reality is there are times when we need to stop trying to help people and just set up boundaries; when we need to leave the company that is fledgling; when we must stop supporting a movement or candidate because we can see where it will all end.
2. We can give in. Easily the worst of the options. This is when folks refrain from blowing whistles on corrupt companies because they will lose their paycheck; when countries become Nazi collaborators because they fear the consequences; when abusive leaders remain in power because no one wants to rick the boat.
3. We can form resistance. Just because we realize we cannot affect change where we are does not mean that we need to become apathetic and complacent. We can strike out in the revolutionary ways of rebellion: prayer, confrontation and reform.
This isn’t just at a corporate or political level…I’m thinking of someone standing up to and resisting a group of friends bent on destruction, a spouse committed to dysfunction, a church no longer following faith, an education system committed more to bureaucracy than students. At the end of the day none of these options lessen the burden of leadership, but resistance does lighten the feeling of apathy, complacency and corruption that come with serving a group, person or system that we know to be wrong.
I enjoyed reading this, I’ve been battling with a few major life changes that can and will have an affect on my life and those around me. I’ve been so torn with letting the past be just that but like most i am fearful of the unknown. Ive come to realize that in order for me to lead my own life I need to stop letting others or situations dictate my future. I sabotage myself with unrealistic expectations and possibilities. Its just hard to let go of all you’ve known for the unknown possibilities but I guess that’s where taking a leap of faith comes from. I need to live in present. Master oogway, yes from Kungfu Panda, has a quote that I try to follow but dont succede at most of the time…”yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift that is why it is called present!”Master Oogway’s Awesome saying: http://youtu.be/Nq8loZlpa_8
Wow that sounds like a lot…I actually talked about that very thing tonight…you would check it out…let me know if you would like to talk more
Really enjoyed this, Noah. We just saw Interstellar, so it was all fresh! Riley used one of the movie images in a science project on black holes, haha. Anyway, I appreciate your insights and agree!