What we believe to be true to a large extent is socially constructed. Accordingly, in Western society we tacitly learn to believe that the main purpose in life is to acquire as much as we can. While there is no truth to the adage the one who dies with the most toys wins, it seems to be the guiding principle of those seeking to keep up with the Joneses.
When life becomes a game, then unavoidably we become the pawns—the victims of our own devices. That is, not only does one structure his/her life in a way that will inhibit the development of his/her humanness, it also impacts the development of others.
I am sure you know several people who tend to define him/her self by his/her role or position in an organization or in society. In so doing they associate success in life with attaining superiority within these various roles. So, with success in life being synonymous with having more—more prestige, more possessions, and more wealth—they identify with their trappings.
When we define our self by our position or possessions we not only inhibit our self from connecting with our essence, we create a precarious sense of self. It’s precarious because our identity is in question, since it can always be lost or taken away. Consequently, those attached to their trappings are adrift in a sea of fear and doubt. Seeking to avoid being overcome by waves of fear and doubt, they are driven to get and have more. Caught up in a vicious cycle where getting more unavoidably turns toward a need to have more, their life becomes an acquisitive life.
As a result there is a strong tendency to forsake the development of one’s potential as a human being for the acquisition of material things in life. I am sure you know people who are striving to gain as much as they can that they are losing so much of themselves in the process—they may have a lot of stuff, but no substance.
Each of us has a choice of how to be-in-this-world. We can choose to focus attention on enhancing the experiences in life through our very existence, or we can choose to place attention on increasing the existence of material things in life. Focusing on the former does not preclude the latter, but focused attention to the latter inhibits the former—it need not be an either/or proposition.
The realization of your leadership begins with your understanding of the very person you are and not with what you do, the position you hold, or what you have. The emergence of your leadership requires that you let go of the irrational desire for the material trappings in life and begin to value and influence the unfolding of the (human) potential we all have. However, in light of our socially constructed beliefs, this takes considerable courage.