We need a new type of leader in the 21st century. Leaders who think and act in a spirit of rebellion. Here is what I mean by rebel leadership:
(i) A rebel leader stands up for what she knows is right. This is an age of terrible conformity, terrible mediocrity. People without any talent, without any ethics, and without any intelligence are somehow monopolizing our positions of cultural, political, and spiritual authority. Everywhere around us, we see the results of this type of leadership. Wars spread, people are gassed at the borders, detention camps proliferate, even as the icecaps speedily melt, sea levels rise, and species go extinct.
The world today is blanketed in injustice. In order for the human race to survive, more and more of us have to stand up for what we know to be right.
It is the job of thinking people to defend the weak, seek justice in all things, and to be skeptical of those with power.
I know from personal experience that this can be an inconvenience. It is not an easy thing to take a principled stand, particularly if it might upset others, or cost you financially. But the world is running out of time to avoid a real climate breakdown and a real possibility of human extinction. Today is the time to stand up for what is right.
(ii) A rebel leader inspires a positive vision in an insane world. The leaders of today cling to their positions of power by playing on people’s fears. Today, demagogues in countries all over the world are openly xenophobic, racist, and misogynist. They create a dark vision of the future to scare people into supporting them.
We need leaders who can create positive visions of the future. Where are those people who can help us get to the Golden Age? A vision of the world that is at peace, where democracies are healthy and vibrant, human rights protected, and the Earth in balance? Why is this such a difficult thing for our leaders to imagine?
Rebel leadership means rejecting a politics of fear. Rebel leadership creates a positive vision of the future for others to build. The only way the human race survives is together.
(iii) A rebel leader is authentically herself. In a world of conformity, there is great power that comes from just being you. With our families, with our friends, and at our jobs, there is too often a conformity that we feel obliged to follow. We feel compelled to think or say the right things, or to behave in the right way.
Thus, we live in cultures and societies where everyone thinks the same, acts the same, votes for the same losers into high office.
We can break the cycle simply by being authentic to ourselves. This sounds like easy advice, but this does take some courage. It does take courage to be yourself and to let yourself shine in a world of darkness.
But the more authentic you become, the more powerful you become. The more you will trust yourself, and know the right direction that you are supposed to go in.
Be authentically you.