09/02/2014 11:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Followers Make the Leading Ideas


The leaders you follow and their ideas gain in strength. These leaders literally represent something bigger than themselves, they also represent you. Often at political speeches you will see a lot of people who are standing behind the politician who's speaking. To emphasize visually that his or her view is greatly supported (even if it is not).

The simply truth is, that the more people support the back of a certain leader, the stronger this leader can move forward on his or her ideas. By the massive given support it is clear that these leader's ideas have to be taken seriously. This person has gained authority thanks to your support and the support of others.

The opposite is the same too. If no one stands behind you. You're not taking as seriously. It is just an opinion. I am not saying the opinion cannot be great, even if no one supports it, just that the chance that it will result in actual action is much less likely. Simply because it is not a supported view. A dumb idea greatly supported will have more chance of being executed. Democracy is more about what is supported than what is true and wise (for you).

It is important to keep in mind that not supporting a leader or a certain idea is a choice too. You do not give this leader or idea your support to move forward. I had never heard the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr. out of his famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail", until I saw a presentation given at the Aspen Institute recently. I was struck deeply by the following part:

It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will.

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.

Whatever you do or do not do, it has consequences. If you decide not to take care of your garden, you should not be surprised that at a certain point it will be messed up. When you do want to take care of your garden, but you just don't know how to, you can ask for help or learn how to do it. Not asking for help or not trying to learn a new skill, in this case gardening, is a choice. Another option is to hire a professional gardener.

You even can give feedback to your chosen gardner and if that doesn't work out switch to someone else. This garden which has to be taken care of can be your home, your organization, town, country, your world, your family, etc.

You can follow and support different persons and/or organizations. You can decide to switch your support to another leader. You can be a leader in one field and a follower in another field. As you give others strength, others can give you strength. We're the species with the extraordinary power to connect. Different leaders and leading organizations could decide to stand together. Followers from different leaders could also connect.

A leader can find its followers and followers can find their leader(s). Actively and publicly following and supporting ideas or persons is a form of leadership too. When I talk about leaders, I mean people who take a stand on issues they care about, whether by taking the lead themselves or supporting someone who's leading in that field or both.

The organization I founded is called Arts, Culture and Education Forum. It is a forum that aims to unite and connect (global) leaders and organizations in pursuit of wellbeing for all. The goal of the forum is to achieve better outcomes as a holistic team. One team with many players. You can find my first attempt at creating a vision on this holistic team here.

At the moment I am following and supporting four great campaigns on social media, namely: #PowerToCreate (the RSA), #YouCanLearnAnything (Khan Academy), #EthicalLeadership (The Elders) and #PictureCompassion (Paul Ekman Group). Two of them I have connected in the following slogan: You Can Learn Anything and have the Power To Create Everything!

In the book Emotional Awareness Paul Ekman suggests that we should make a switch from positive and negative to constructive and destructive emotions and/or behavior. On a larger scale he suggests, that what is constructive are things that foster our global cooperation; what is destructive is what does not. So, constructive and destructive can been seen in your personal life, as while as in life in our global society. Please read the above quote of Martin Luther King Jr. again.

Next to my computer hangs the following picture of quotes of others, which combined shapes my vision for us all.