The biggest challenge about being young is finding your own voice. Unfortunately we spend the better part of our lives trying to conform to socially acceptable norms and trying to fit in. Be it in school, college, work or even home, we struggle all our lives to fit in. There is no room for individual opinion anymore and the collective seems to have taken over our lives. What we have always been tutored to do all our lives is to “play the game right” with not much emphasis on what path to follow in order to accomplish this. This is the root cause of what stops us from becoming thinking individuals and this is what we need to stop doing.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by” - Robert frost
At some point we have all dreamed of attaining glory and fame or whatever other form of achievement it is that is important to us. Not having the courage to walk your chosen path is the only thing that has stopped us from attaining that glory. The ones who have attained that pinnacle of personal achievement are the ones that have chosen to be fearless and carve their own paths. We look upon them as leaders and think those are the ones to follow. Truth is that there is a leader within all of us. Each one of us is a leader and the only real difference between those that become it and those that don’t is fear. Be fearless enough to walk alone and you shall never live in shadow again.
I don’t believe that suffering is the only way to attain strength or glory, but I do believe that the best way out is through, which can entail hardships that need to be endured and not avoided in order to overcome our inherent fears. Think about a time when you wanted to do something but didn’t because you were afraid. I once got on stage to sing a song that I had rehearsed many times. I was petrified as I had always feared the stage and was sure that I would do something to mess things up. That is exactly what I did. I sang the wrong song. But when I did sing the wrong song I realized that I was still singing well, even after having blundered so, and the minute that realization set in I was unafraid anymore.
Taking responsibility for ones own actions is the first step towards becoming a leader. Right or wrong, take your own decisions and along with that the responsibility for the consequences. You know the best part about doing this is that you start to listen to your inner voice for guidance. Most people call it instinct and that is something that we learn how to suppress with time. The second you start to take your own actions and decisions that voice wakes up and becomes stronger. And trust me, it is the biggest guiding force in our lives. Always, always listen to your instinct and follow it.
Being honest isn’t all about not speaking lies, it’s also a lot about being truthful to yourself. The only person that you need to face at the end of the day is yourself and if you can look yourself in the mirror then you’re on your way to finding that leader inside. What this reminds me of is a chance meeting with a tarot card reader once who looked me straight in the eye and said that my biggest weakness was that I was too honest and that I walked the straight path. I was unable to decide what shocked me more, the sincerity with which she said this or that what was once considered a virtue was now looked upon as a vice. I decided that she was an integral part of the herd that I didn’t want to follow.
Finally, one of the biggest driving forces in the world is the power of positivity. To bring any sort of change in your life or to the person that you are one needs to be the change, one needs to believe in their dreams and aspirations and change their beliefs, if need be, in order to reach their goals. The leader within you will only come forth if your beliefs are driven with positivity. Think about it, is it possible to start that venture you’ve always wanted to if you are saddled with negative thoughts beforehand? Your thoughts are who you are and the only people that others will look up to are the ones that can infect them with positivity and enthusiasm. Positivity is that magnetic force that we always tend to attribute to people we admire and mostly it translates into their charisma.
Our beliefs can be constructive or destructive and in order to find your own voice one needs to tune to a positive frequency. You know we’ve always been taught to do things that conform and when someone decides to take an off beat path our first reaction is to judge and say he’s being foolish and that is not the right way to be. Change that reaction. Respect that person for having the courage to follow their instinct.
You know leadership isn’t all that it is perceived to be. It isn’t all about leading a pack but more about having the ability and strength to be an individual. To have individuality and a thought process, that is not dictated by others, and the courage and conviction to stand by your choices. Let the leader in you emerge and walk that path of truth, honesty and fearlessness. Never shall you be lost or walk in the dark again.
About the author: Neha Parmar is a wildlife photographer and a conservationist with some tolerable talent for writing. If you liked, connected or have a contrary perspective with anything that you read please feel to share your feedback.
To see more work by Neha Parmar https://www.facebook.com/NehaParmarPhotography.
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