Letter to World Leaders
I would like to start this letter series with a general letter addressed to all the great leaders of the world. In this letter, I will be presenting the stories of,
a. Emperor's New Clothes &
b. Arachnids taking over the town.
What is the story of Emperor's New Clothes?
This story which was written by a Danish writer, Hans Christian Andersen, and is supposedly based on various folktales of the past tells the story of a popularity and media-blinded king, whose myopic, popularity based thinking made him look like a fool in front of his own people.
What really happened?
This King channeled all his focus on his looks rather than on the kingdom, and was taken for a ride by couple of swindlers, who sold him an "invisible" clothing line. Moreover, the King was surrounded by a sycophantic supporting cast, who were more concerned about their own jobs and image rather than helping the King from not getting caught into swindlers words.
This story also showcases the pluralistic ignorance of people, where people themselves were ignorant, but thought others' were n't. Finally, a kid had to point out that the King was not wearing anything other than the undergarments.
How is this story relevant in this 21st century?
First of all, based on my limited 20 years of experience since my first degree, I can tell that majority of us revere, respect, and aspire to become great leaders similar to some of the current great leaders of the world, if not all. Having said that, it is also important that the great leaders reciprocate by taking the majority into account in the decision-making process.
Coming back to the above story, and connecting to the current world, great leaders ("emperors" & "empresses") of the current times need to identify a right supporting cast, who would not mind sharing their views upfront rather than later on. Great leaders should also update themselves not only along the lines of taking selfies and participating in the social media, but also understand the evolving global economic, judicial and technological landscape, and how it impacts various stakeholders.
By being continuous learners, great leaders can face off personal insecurities with ease, as well as address challenging scenarios with serene calmness, and total confidence.
While addressing this topic of great leaders, it is important to address the difference between dictating terms by great leaders vs dictatorship. Great leaders tend to have a clear mission and vision for the organization/country, and hence, there will be times when they end up dictating terms for the betterment of the organization/society. This dictating ability of great leaders should not be mixed up with the self-centered dictatorship that focuses primarily on one's own progress at any cost.
When we consider the dictating ability of great leaders, the one area where they should dictate revolves around creating an environment that fosters creativity.
How do great leaders foster a creative environment & Arachnids taking over the town?
1. Freedom to fail: creating an environment where prudent & accountable risk-takers (not those who filed bankruptcies 4 or 5 times) with right learning attitude be given the freedom to fail
2. Fear-less: Though there are different theories out there to extract constructive creativity, fear certainly appears to be one of the weakest factors for constructive creativity. The best way to bring out constructive creativity is by,
first step: finding those individuals with a right mix of strong logical thinking process, sound fundamental knowledge in various areas combined with inner urge to think differently
second step: providing right opportunities and environment to these identified individuals to come out of the shadows of a bureaucratic environment
Note: Fear-less means that we should neither be too fearful nor fearless; there needs to be some level of fear revolving around morals, values, law, and faith at least among the majority of the population of 7 billion people. To inculcate these virtues, a good family network surrounded by right friends and inspiring teachers are essential.
3. Most importantly, it is about giving those creative (constructive) individuals due credit (not in closed doors) complemented with right opportunities to progress on every front
To stress the importance of giving due credit, please understand that taking away someone's idea is equivalent to the arachnids in "eight legged freaks" feeding on human brains. Once the brains are gone, it is difficult to get back creativity. In that case, only those with strong-will, deep knowledge, and everlasting urge to rediscover themselves through continuous, meaningful learning will be able to get up again and again.
Youngsters: You're fortunate to have so many great reliable and trustworthy avenues available nowadays to learn, which was not available during my times growing up as a child. Please extract the most out of these resources on top of getting quality education in a diverse environment. Also, your progress in life should revolve around family, right friends, and inspiring teachers to go with balanced education from quality schools and universities - Not from those that are selling degrees.
By the way, to know more about arachnids, and the truth about insect world, reach out to specialists in this area. See below for some useful sites.
What else can promote constructive creativity?
There are many areas that can provide avenues to grow creative minds. On a personal level, one of the best ways is by taking active interest to travel to different places, and to have an open mind while interacting with people from various cultures speaking different languages.
I still remember the great times at Indian Institute of Technology, where I had friends/peers who had come from different parts of the country speaking different languages, and were from different religions. Similarly, I got to interact with a diverse group of students at University of Michigan from various countries, and learned at least to greet and to say bye in their languages. While working at one of the companies, I got to travel to various client sites, and interacted with people from different walks of life. These interactions certainly helped me to understand that people are people irrespective of where they come from, and also provided opportunities to imbibe new ideas.
Added on 8/10/2015
Why do we need great leaders right now around the globe compared to never seen in the history before?
- 7 billion people
- flattened world with technological advancements never seen before
- limited natural resources combined with global warming (whether it is natural or man-made does not matter), which in turn, can impact other areas such as, health, water and food
- psychological issues around the globe
officially, around 30% of the population in one continent + around 10 million new cases in one major country have some form of psychological issue
moreover, being a stigma in many other parts of the world, we have no clue about the extent of this issue around the globe
we also need to remember that psychological issues not only impacts the person, but also the family and community
- localization of younger generation populations in sensitive areas, where they can be misled
For these reasons, it is important to have level-headed leaders around the globe, who collaborate and coordinate actions, policies, and can forget/forgive happenings of the past.
Is this possible?
Spiders are known to be independent "web-sters", but during times of adversity, sub-sections of spiders have shown the inclination and ability to work together, and build community nests (please see reference-5 for what Arachnologists have discovered). If adaptation works for even spiders, why not for humans? When we are navigating through challenging times, we need to remember our roots (again, the constructive side), and where we came from, and work together around the globe.
Added on 8/15/2015
Time is ripe for democratic unification in a peaceful way in Asia similar to Germany. This unification will double the size of the country, and will also increase the population to around 75 million people (which is still only around ~60% of Japan's population). Moreover, the per capita income is wide apart, which would keep the country engaged in economic expansion (that appears to be a major issue right now for one of the countries that relies heavily on exports). Further, S. Korea is known to have the best educational system in the world, which should help the other half of the country post-unification.
When it comes to religion, may be, it is time to make the sub-divisions in certain religions come to prominence. For example, the three major religions have 32% (out of 7+ billion), 23% and 15% in distributions, which when sub-divided could potentially become more manageable. This suggestion connects to the area of optimization of large decentralized systems. In places where it is still not manageable, the best way to address the power struggle is to first make them understand through diplomacy that peace is the best way to move forward, and that a more ordered environment would help their beliefs spread wider. Further, the leaders of these groups should open up for a balanced educational system (no short-cuts; quality should not be compromised) that would help in improving the lives of the people. (I will share specific examples of success stories connecting to this topic)
Philosophically, people have to understand that more we try to hold onto things such as, power, land, languages, more it will run away from us, may not be in a person's life time, but over the due course. Please check the history, and you will find that all the major empires that relied on military expansion and force have vanished or have become significantly smaller.
Educational Attainment & Trouble Youths - Here is an interesting chart that was published in Economist, which further supports the need for offering right education.