Seemingly many never change their mind. These are individuals who work very hard to keep the future from replacing the past. Life’s lessons are nowhere to be found in their actions. To them what was must always be, since for them determinism and not learning anew is essential to (their) life. Ironically, although these people strive to control everything it is their mind that is in control of them—and they don’t even know it.
Explaining by illustration, if we ask business-minded people what is the business of business their answer would be to maximize (their) profit? Yes quite automatically maximizing material self-interest springs forth. Why? It’s not that each person has come to the same conclusion after reflecting and thinking about it. Reflective and critical thinking were not involved at all! It was the mind securely attached to the maximizing material self-interest belief that offered the auto-response. Moreover it is unlikely that the mind’s belief in material self-interest was the result of previous critical thinking, just as it was unlikely that those believing for so long that the world is flat came to this conclusion by thinking critically about it. In both cases the story told was swallowed whole without thinking.
Leading versus Being Led
The unexamined mind holds many such misguided beliefs that brings forth answers and directs behavior. The good news is that the mind is equipped with habits of thought—paradigms—that will guide behavior. The bad news is that the mind so equipped—and destined to repeat the patterns of the past—is one of the greatest impediments to self-development and our collective progress. If leadership is about envisioning and creating a future different and better than the past, then those absent of the will and ability to think critically—to be consciously aware of and challenge the contents mind—are clearly the wrong individuals for this role.
Once a person is willing and able to think critically then that person realizes that he/she is not their thoughts. Because their identity is not inextricably connected to the contents of mind—thoughts and beliefs—they are willing and able to suspend and challenge all notions in mind except the one unquestionable fact that we each exist—more accurately co-exist—as human beings. Thus being consciously aware of a shared humanness with all people, the relationships they are able to develop are based on deeper levels of connectedness and are thus reflective of care and compassion. Having no divisive pretense they inspire goodness in others. Consequently their vision of a better future resonates with far greater numbers of people.
If a person seeks to be a great leader then he/she must turn off autopilot and take control of his/her mind. Otherwise the one leading is in point of fact the one being led by a self-absorbed mind.