Conscientious Leader

Neha Singh

There is rarely anyone who doesn’t aspire to be a leader, more often than not we want to lead in professional roles. There’s an invisible heavy block of expectations and desires on our shoulders from our closed ones, peers and our own selves. We are constantly looking for situations and roles to lead people and processes but hardly do we ever ponder over becoming a conscientious leader. A conscientious leader is the one who leads one’s own self before leading others, and drives the direction of the course one has chosen towards righteousness and mindfulness.

When we look back to history to see our leaders, the phrase “Crises gives birth to a leader” comes to light, and I most definitely agree with it. There might not be Gandhi if there was no colonialism in India, there might not be no Nelson Mandela if there was no apartheid and there are many more examples. But at the same time, we have all seen that some people are just born charismatic, having leadership traits that beckon respect and are looked up to by the masses. So what should the normal people like you and I believe? Are we going to become leaders when destiny puts us in crises or are we just going to be followers because we are not the lucky ones born with all the glistening traits, visible from far off. As I see it, it is not wise to wait for crises to become a leader, it is not healthy to wish for some crises to occur to give out a chance like a spark from a fire to catch, and it is not advised to constantly wait for something to happen even when it may not happen at all.

In the process of becoming the best versions of ourselves, the versions we didn’t even give much thought to before forming, we have been taking the shorter path of maximum validation from the crowd, probably to hide our ignorance of the fact of not thinking it thoroughly, or perhaps to hide our fears of being different, the black one among the white, the cursed among the blessed. Doesn’t conscientious leadership start from within? Isn’t there leadership in shaping a life for ourselves that is moral and righteous. Isn’t there leadership in deciding the course of our own life, not necessarily having to follow the path already taken a million times. We don’t have to wait for crises to become a leader, we don’t even have to be born charismatic to become a conscientious leader, just the realization of one being a soul that leads and affects not just the body it resides in, but also others that it comes in contact with, is adequate.

We have technology at our disposal to make our lives easy yet the rate of depression, mutual separation per capita is on an increase, the majority of the world isn’t on war and still we’re at war with ourselves for acceptance of our own selves. We want to rule the world, make big changes to be published on the first page of the newspaper, to get the promotion before our peers so we can get more opportunities and see ourselves at more peace than others. We’re constantly worried about that one project we’ve been trying hard to achieve success in. And in the commotion of the race we’re constantly running, while incessantly looking up to the future, we end up putting so much at stake. We are not only losing out on our mental peace many times, we are unfortunately, risking our moral values on various grounds.

I have been one of the lucky ones to experience ten days of introspection, self-realization and mindful living. This unique course named “Strategies for Life and Career” was designed to take place in the Himalayas to let us live a life of minimalism surrounded by nature. I got to live these days completely away from technology and the loud city noise. Like everybody else, I too went there with many questions and came back with bigger answers than my questions.

After indulging in various rigorous discussions and debates with my fellow mates over a few leadership case studies, in the magnanimous presence of mighty mountains and headstrong river, I found the better way to deal with this consistent fear of always being a follower. I realized that overcoming fear is a leadership trait in itself. I understood that it is foolish to spend the present waiting for desired future to unfold. This helped me unravel the possibility of making opportunities from those small chances that I have in a regular day to act differently and a little more consciously to build the mindful leader that I have always wished to become. Those strenuous and exciting sessions made me discover alternative ways by virtue of which I can bring mindful and conscientious leadership in practice. This does quench my thirsty heart waiting for recognition and validation from my own self, my own actions.

The human brain, they say is the most beautiful and the most dangerous life God has created, and so is right for that is the human brain which can make a human feel others’ pain, gives an example of compassion in everything the body does and it is the human brain that gets corrupted with greed, fear and desire for more. Indeed, as long as a human being is alive, the freedom to choose exists, it can be difficult at times, but the choice does exist. So why not more of us go on to start with choosing the right, for making smaller right decisions first and training our brains to choose the right side and make the right decisions in most of the situations we are thrown into.

Our present is the foundation of our future, and every decision we make, be it in our personal lives or professional lives , it has a grain in building the castle of our future. For this reason itself, each one us has to take it as a personal responsibility to keep the soul we were born with pious and respectable. Just being aware of the right and wrong isn’t enough, just this knowledge doesn’t stop anyone from committing a wrongdoing. You and I need to become mindful of each second of our present to control the wrongdoings and their implications on the self and our surroundings in the future. We need to awaken our conscience to stay strong in the face of temptations and greed, however small they might be. The world is not in need of a few big leaders, the world needs denizens who are accountable for their lives, their actions. Like every piece of jewel on earth can’t adorn one Queen, but if those jewels are adorned by many females, all those females become queen like. Just that way, we don’t need big crises to happen to give birth to a big leader of our time. We all have small vices in and around ourselves which we have to control and to stop them from becoming terminators to our brains eating away all our capacity to think, to ponder and to decide righteously. If we urge ourselves persistently to practice mindfulness in every act we do and every decision we make then I believe, you and I will become a conscientious leader.

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