“Men make history…not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
—Harry S. Truman, 33rd U.S. President (1945–1953)
Is there a better quote to have for today than this one?
My goal today is to be short and sweet! And I would just leave you today with a few thoughts on this most important secular holiday of the year. Here are those thoughts:
We are living in a chaotic world of rapid and revolutionary change. Unfortunately, much of that change is not positive. Therefore, rising above the current situation and learning to adapt, manage, and lead a positive change process is essential to survival. Wisdom, agility, discernment, and expertise in the area of change leadership are essential to leaders today. All leaders must learn to navigate change, but all of the truly great leaders today are masters of leading change, revolutionary change. Whether international, institutional or organizational change, a mass movement, a world-wide protest, or a nonviolent revolution; learning to lead and organize people and resources around a positive, constructive, creative, and dynamic shared vision of change is indispensable to success.
But we must do so much more than organizing people and resources. These are skills of a manager or an expert in logistics. What this country needs is another generation of Washingtons, Jeffersons, Adams, Franklins, Reveres, Hancocks, and so many other brave men who put ink on a piece of parchment that for many, sealed their doom.
But their leadership and signature did something else. It sealed our independence and freedom from the tyrannical and oppressive government that was taking all of their hard-earned resources and squelching their freedoms and liberties.
With the ultimate hope and determination to build a better life and a better world, these revolutionary leaders offer lessons that we can learn from today. Are we looking back enough to history to discover again what it was that made those leaders revolutionary long before the tea was dumped in the harbor or the shots were fired on the green near Lexington and Concord?
As Niccolò Machiavelli said: “Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.”
Today is a gift bought with the blood of patriots almost 250 years ago. What will you reflect on today? Will it be the heat? Will it be the chance of rain ruining your BBQ? Or will you reflect on the leaders who risked it all to be free? What will you risk to be really free and to be a revolutionary leader who leads with the greatest of personal stake in the outcome?
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Photo credit: Rob Shenk / Foter / (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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