In a contemporary society filled with greed and vanity, the term “leader” has lost its real meaning. Nowadays hedonism and individualism are eroding step by step the core of true leadership. Leadership should be based on responsibility and a proper understanding of human nature, that “we the people” are first and foremost human beings entitled with intrinsic dignity.
What does “pursuit of happiness” mean today in the popular mindset? What is the true meaning of this magnificent goal of humanity?
Answers to these questions hold the key for understanding what leadership really means, where it starts, and what its ultimate goal is. In the following, I outline my perspective on what I think to be the requisite characteristics of a genuine leader.
Modern society, pervaded by individualism, promotes a wrong path towards a distorted version of happiness. The contemporary leadership model is based on pleasure seeking at any cost, regardless of the impact it has on other members of society and on humanity in general. This unsustainable perspective weakens civic engagement, and is like a mirage in the desert: a vision of wealth, power, and glory that is impossible for the majority of the people to achieve.
Modern culture glorifies getting rich overnight, without effort, sacrifice, or responsibility. This dangerous mindset leads people down a path of emotional slavery and perpetual emptiness. Going down this road, it is easy to lose our freedom and responsibility, and we will always be poor both in material and spiritual aspects. Even millionaires can see themselves as unsatisfied and unhappy if their ultimate goal in life is to become billionaires; these people are slaves to material wealth. On the other hand, there are people who are truly poor and unhappy because they lack initiative and proactivity, seeking to win a fortune quickly, but unwilling to put forward real effort and take responsibility.
A genuine leader is a person who understands that emotions and pleasures are to be controlled and subjected to reason. Faith, self-control, proactivity, moderation and responsibility are the keys to achieve the full potential in life and pursuit of happiness.
By: Victor Ciumac, a member of WYA Europe