Discover more from Prometheus Shrugged
Οτι συ μετ Εμου:
I’ll never mandate paid subscription*
Note: **The Prometheus Hub page/post** compiles most of the research and resources [1,500+] I’ve used/found/analyzed/watched/etc. during [and prior to] my efforts with DRASTIC, so that those who are looking for more about COVID’s origins can find it in one place.
*..but I won’t turn down donations via subscription.* Every donation means another spike protein of justice, riding a lipid nanoparticle across the blood-brain barrier of the bureaucracy.
[*in my fight against the mortgage mandate]
The first article I ever posted on my original COVID-19 website was about leadership-because, as John Maxwell said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Especially during a crisis, which is why one of my in-progress articles will look at how Dr. Fauci failed in this area so completely - at great cost. Post-pandemic, this blog will broaden its focus more into politics, geo-politics, culture and the impact of technological change on all of the above. However, leadership has been my passion for almost 15 years, and the three years since my 15-year Marine Corps career ended has only solidified my perspective on its importance [in fact, I can also credit the Corps for my sharply-honed sarcasm].
I re-posted the original article on LinkedIn last year after it was chosen to be the featured story for a LinkedIn group I was a member of. I wanted my readers to have a glimpse of what drives me - whether during my current research into COVID’s origins or during that magical period we used to call ‘normal times.’ Now that it’s been 18 months since this was written, each of you can compare this with what actually happened; my guess is that you’ll be able to see why I chose to share it with you.
(9/27/20) Rising to our knees: Elevation & Inspiration
I originally published this article on April 12, during the dark period when the virus was "peaking." As we enter fall, in preparations for what will likely be a much larger wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, there's been a little time to reflect on what went right and what went wrong as our society confronted an unprecedented pandemic. The bulk of the criticism has been directed at our President or our Congress, with a healthy disappointment in the responses in many states mixed in - but the harsh truth is that the pandemic has been used as an excuse to step back right at the moment when good leadership is needed most. _________________________________________________________________________
ὅτι σὺμετ᾽ ἐμοῦ
(4/12/20) As I’ve observed the response to this global pandemic, I’ve been encouraged by the willingness of many leaders to make bold decisions, when faced with difficult choices that must be made quickly. In many cases, this has meant putting aside some differences that had been used as excuses for inaction over the decades. However, the fight over the current relief bill is a reminder that waiting for someone else to come to the rescue is also an excuse – and if we are to complain about our government then we owe it to ourselves to become an example worth following.
This moment calls for more than the government holding out a hand; it calls for leaders to rise to the occasion, people who will give everything they have to lift others up in this time of uncertainty. However, despite the good intentions of many people who feel burdened to make a difference, it is vital to point out that true leadership comes at a cost – and our times require leaders, not outstretched hands.
The value of your leadership is proportional to the price you are willing to pay to apply it. The currency can be explained as elevation and inspiration.
Many leaders never drive positive change because they are unwilling to pay the price of elevation. In leadership, “elevation” isn’t about how much respect you’ve acquired in reaching a superior position; it’s all about how much you respect and value those who need your help. The hard part is lowering yourself to the place where the help is most needed, and pride will seek to hold you back.
Even an Olympic weightlifter can’t lift more with his arms than with his shoulders; our bodies weren’t made that way. And yet, the most common expression and method for assisting someone is offering a hand. It is the easiest way to show compassion, but the most difficult way to lift someone up. In spite of this truth, most leaders will stop short of truly sacrificing for the sake of someone else, because it means lowering themselves even further – only your shoulders are capable of supporting someone for very long. A good leader works to elevates others, and the price is that not everyone will be able to see your sacrifice beneath. The world needs leaders who will sacrifice without the expectation of glory.
The cost of inspiration is inter-related; in a time of crisis, the need for inspiration is greater than normal, because the mountains to climb are higher than normal. Our modern world is incredibly cynical, and so many leaders have disappointed us that our natural response is to question people’s motives when a good deed is performed (or worse-attack the character of someone in an effort to discredit them).
This exemplifies the power of leaders to destroy inspiration, with very little effort. It costs very little to tear something down; it is a sad truth that journalists gain more notoriety through investigative reporting than through courageous or uplifting opinions. The profession of journalism values its role in communicating to the masses, but it doesn’t value those masses enough to project objectivity or optimism. Therefore, we have entered into a crisis largely defined by the pessimism and subjectivity of the media, and politicians’ willingness to look for blame instead of looking for inspiration; imagine if it were defined by courage and the value of human life instead.
In this age, we need a Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King – or more accurately, we need thousands of them. Neither man sought wealth or fame, but both inspired millions of people by elevating others at their expense. Their ability to inspire was partly a function of their rejection of rewards and acclaim. I have no doubt that most people don’t see such a person on the horizon, but I disagree. I see 10,000 such people who are willing to step forward, and I believe many of them are already attacking this crisis across the world. There is no limit on how many Nelson Mandelas humanity can produce, and almost all of the leaders who have made a difference in history are invisible to us because most of their elevating and inspiring came while carrying others on their shoulders. We are not wrong to celebrate heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr.; we are wrong when we lack the courage to lead without the promise of acclaim.
It is very common for children to want to make a difference or impact when they grow up, but reality dampens that spirit. Experience tells me that the decline comes from clarity, not cynicism; once we learn the cost of leadership, our willingness to sacrifice is proportional to our distance from the dangling carrot. If you can read this, you are also capable of looking into a mirror. If you look at your reflection and question your desire to sacrifice for others, then this is not yet your moment. Real leaders don’t help others in order to get a carrot – for them, helping others is the reward.
However, if you go to a window (instead of a mirror) and see an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, then this may be your time. Every true leader came to a moment in their lives in which the choice to act was laid before them, and you should find comfort in the fact that Mandela and King were no different than you – until they took action. We still have the ability to influence our surroundings, regardless of the position we hold. There’s no such thing as a person too low in status to make a difference. How you see yourself is far more important than how others see you.
The ebb of the pandemic will leave historic challenges, and our success in overcoming them will be determined by the sacrifices of leaders – thousands of heroes with no comic book. In this respect, our picture of heroism is flawed, because waiting for Superman is the wrong example. The Greeks had a much more appropriate myth thousands of years ago, because we need leaders willing to lift us up and bear the burdens of our world like Atlas (I should note that for him, it was a punishment); without demanding recognition or waiting for witnesses before rising to the challenge. Their background could be Harvard or Taco Bell, because leadership doesn’t arise from a resume, a paycheck or a degree program. The fire comes from within, and the spark comes from the example of others.
ἐὰν γὰρ καὶ πορευθῶ ἐν μέσῳ σκιᾶς θανάτου οὐ φοβηθήσομαι κακά ὅτι σὺμετ᾽ ἐμοῦ
In boot camp, my platoon’s motto was: “As I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil.” It wasn’t until 15 years later that I realized that our motto had left out the most important lesson from that verse: “For You are with me.” As a kid, my twin brother was with me; in Iraq – my fellow Marines. All of us, at some point in life, walk through dark valleys, but all of us can also be the ‘You’: a second set of footprints in the sand. Your background might be different than mine, but that’s okay - last time I checked, heroic leadership takes place from the front. Everyone can make a difference, and there’s plenty of room in this crisis.
If you’re reading this and struggling, don’t lose hope. This too shall pass.
If you’re reading this and questioning your ability to impact others, I recommend helping others until the answer comes.
- CHR -
*This is a portion of Psalm 23:4 in Koine (κοινε) Greek; the full κοινε verse is tattooed on my left forearm. It comes from the Septuaginta (c. 300 B.C.) translation of the Old Testament, which was what most early Christians used because very few could read Hebrew. The language choice is a product of my first graduate degree; the verse grew to become an inspiration during the PTSD treatment that led me to leave active duty.