Today I want to talk about self-help guru Stephen Covey's views on leadership as he discusses in his book The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, and what I find to be an incredible metaphor for realizing potential. I must admit, I'm still stifled by a lot of ill-fitting "scripts" handed to me by society, teachers, nationality, race, and whatever other institutions you can imagine, but it's getting easier to recognize my own inner power the more I am exposed to the writings of thinkers like Covey. Of leadership Covey says:
"Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves."
If you're familiar with his seminal work, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this may not be a new concept to you, but his general stance on what makes a leader has absolutely zero to do with what position you hold or what assigned authority has been deemed unto you. Rather, leadership is something that is cultivated within and spread without; you cannot simply entitle yourself to a leadership role and think anybody's really gonna give a shit what you want from them. Essentially, to earn respect from, and thereby influence within, a group, you have got to inspire the people around you to be the bad motherfuckers they really are.
How? By "unleashing human potential". This metaphor is what really got me. Like, it's still getting me.
There is a leash--or even a series of leashes--that has been placed on us. Our schooling puts a leash on us, our upbringing, our culture, our religion, etc. and when we try to live our lives by the standards of institutions rather than by our own undeniable inert principles, we allow our potential to be leashed (confusingly to me personally, though Covey is a strict Mormon, he's super trippy and kind of an anarchist... perhaps more on that matter later). It then becomes our duty to unclasp the leash(es) around our necks: we must, according to Covey, develop a mind willing to seek out those who amplify our potential, allow them to unleash us, and then pay it forward. New York City has been good for that so far.