Leadership = Confused Excellence.

By Bobby Dhaliwal 

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Leadership: the action of leading a group of people or an organization? Or maybe not in today’s society.

Why? It’s because this concept has flown around into almost every young mind as a form of an “escape” in a world where every individual is looking to gain a sense of superiority over another. More simplified, every individual today feels as if they must appear to be doing at least something with their lives over a phone. Whether it’s offering a service, selling a product, or being an influencer, these individuals take on the concept of leadership in their own form (with myself included of course).

See this all appears as a smooth sail as an outsider looking in due to social media painting the illusion that the young generation is asserting themselves just fine and maximizing this new age of technology where just about anyone can pick up their phone on any given day and be an entrepreneur, an influencer, or any other outlet one looks to tackle. As someone who’s openly addicted to his phone in this era (like many of you), it definitely is refreshing to see who comes up with what next and how they decide to go about things with their individual brand.

So what’s the purpose of this reading? Is Bobby contradicting his own thoughts? Trying too hard to be an intellectual at age 20? Not quite. As I mentioned, each mind takes on their own form of leadership through these pursued fields in today’s era of technological advancement, but what’s clouding this concept of leadership are internal issues such as ego. This issue of ego clouds peoples paths from seeing the light they aspire to have shine on themselves. Ego is a flawed mental state that many are not willing to admit they carry along with themselves daily. Why not? Ego. So we’ve sort of drawn a mini-circle here. You carry on this state of mind, but won’t admit to carrying this state of mind, due to that state of mind (ego).

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During my younger days as a high school basketball player, I carried the flawed mental state of ego. This may seem a little odd considering I was known to be a quiet and coachable kid who payed close attention to detail as I had the fear of screwing up a set play designed by a coach at the higher youth levels of AAU basketball (where ego often comes into play). So it wasn’t there of course.

My ego came in a time and place where I felt that I had a clear advantage over other individuals which was my own local high school basketball team. Mind you, I was still a humble kid who worked at making improvements in different aspects as a player on my own time, and didn’t necessarily take compliments well as I always felt an indirect pressure telling me that I should be the one recognizing others for their achievements/contributions, much like I am today.

In the 10th grade at the age of 15 (prior to the Christmas holidays), I thought it was acceptable to skip a practice since it wouldn’t matter considering a lot of high school sport practices are a very basic form of what you’re put through to compete on the AAU circuit which I became used to through time. Now although me skipping a practice in the 10th grade sounds quite laughable (which it definitely could be in most cases when looking back), it really was not.

I was later held accountable by my coach, Leon, who called me out for my lack of leadership and the root to this situation was my flawed mental state, my ego. It’s crazy to think that the most slight thoughts that directly correlate to this flawed mental state of ego can set you several steps back in life without you even realizing it in the moment.

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We’re often told and trained to “live in the moment” during our upbringing through charming quotes much like this one on our favourite television channels to watch every morning, or social media apps which are all in front of our eyes every set of fresh 24 hours, but as I’ve grown and developed at my own pace, I oppose this statement. I genuinely believe that as much as we should appreciate what’s in front of us at this current time as you’re reading this, it is to our benefit to project ahead to a point where it may even seem uncomfortable.

Am I just saying “dream big” or “ensure that your goals sound so crazy to who may be standing next to you in order to be successful” (quotes often thrown around in sport settings)? Sure, but what I really mean by projecting ahead is seeing how your actions on this day right now will set you up 10, 20, and even 30 years from now. How will your invisible ego that you either fail to see or are afraid to admit you carry, impact each different aspect of your life for years to come? A great question for the self. Like it or not, the majority of us have all carried this mental state at some point in our lives or continue to and the sooner you realize it, the sooner your pursuit of excellence in any form shall come to fruition.

Fortunately for me, as a 15-year old skipping practice in that particular situation didn’t cost me much more than a verbal lesson from my coach which seemed quite repetitive at the time. What I’ve realized is that it’s never wrong to be simply reminded that you’re not sh*t sometimes (depending on the purpose of who it’s coming from of course). With the acquisition of the concept of leadership amongst us young minds, it really boils down to accepting that you’re not superior to anybody, but that you are a driven soul with pure intention to succeed at offering that service, selling that product, or influencing a growing audience over a phone or whichever outlet it may be.

We currently sit in a time where portraying a certain superior image is more important than actually taking the people into account which is a result of that flawed mental state I have discussed. You are not too good for anybody. And especially anybody who is offering honest constructive criticism. The uncomfortable stuff.

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Leadership is definitely a broad topic and you’re probably hoping I move on from discussing this “flawed mental state” which I call ego. Although ego can play a part in this second half, I will be as straight to the point as possible. Above is a photograph I took last summer from “The Art & Science of Respect: A Memoir by James Prince”.

In summary, this piece of writing states that with the acquisition of leadership, comes the responsibility of making the distinction between those who will both directly and indirectly influence you to be great in your own form, or not so great, which you will pay a price for that cannot be avoided over our time. This plays into my concept of “projecting ahead” as discussed in the first half of this reading. You must find ones who are leaders of their own lives first and feed off of these types of minds in order to supplement your own growth and overall well-being. Fortunately for me the challenge of making this distinction came at a young age which kept me distant from negative influences.

The point many fail to realize is that we can all talk, we can all present some sort of message whether it’s verbally communicated, visually communicated, or through social media as I have done through Twitter and my own web page in summarized forms. Communication alone is not leadership no matter how “sexy” the message may be presented to you in fact, I say it’s only 20% of the final puzzle. Actions are what truly define leadership and are 80% of this concept, but once again, it’s not just the actions that are broadcasted or done in front of an audience.

Leadership is who you are when there are no eyes on you (or at least when you think they’re not). Ask yourself who you are when you walk alone to the bus stop, when you’re with your closest friends in a group chat, at the gym, at the mall, or even on your own at the library. This is your true character that leadership relies on. The smallest changes of leadership in life can be the root to a better world for all. I made the commitment to stop littering a couple years ago regardless of if I’m alone or with family in order to be more aware of my personal environmental impact.

You may get the impression of me saying go out and chase perfection, but the idea of leadership is not about perfecting everything in life. It’s about realizing what you are capable of doing in order to make this world a better place. And believe me, you are capable of a lot more than you realize if you truly want to be great to yourself and the world around you. So if you’re an aspiring leader of any sort, or are pursuing excellence in any field which involves leadership, take the time to evaluate who you are leading and why you are choosing to lead. Two basic questions which could be the foundation to defining your true purpose and not basing your next move off of a flawed mental state which we now know as ego.

If you have now made your way to meet me here at the end of my first ever reading piece, I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my work and give a young aspiring mind like myself a chance in this world. It’s a special time.

-Bobby Dhaliwal

©2019