Some talk of me and say, maybe…, "John is this or that, or arrogant, or pumped up, or about himself."
Someone once told me, of course through someone else (smile), "he seems only interested in his own ideas." Well, okay. Fair enough but wasn't Steve Jobs interested (or mostly) in his own ideas?
Wasn't Bill Gates, or Quincy Jones, or Oprah Winfrey, or former President Bill Clinton, or Queen Elizabeth?
Or even social innovators such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or my hero Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Dorothy I. Height or Hilary Clinton, or Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu, or Ghandi?
I don't mean to the exlusion of others ideas, but just well — mostly their own?
Weren't all these leaders, pioneers, innovators and doers pretty much obsessed with their own ideas?
Of course they were. This is precisely also why they have been so successful. It is the power of their ideas, and their ideals (along with action), and their single-minded focus (maybe even their obsession) with achieving them.
Which brings me to the issue of excellence.
All of the individuals I admire seem to also be "excellence freaks," and the same could be said to apply to me.
I believe that on a scale of 1-10, say 1-5 is the level of mediocrity. You could say that 5-7 is the level of entertainment or fun — or the person you might date but you do not marry.
But 8-10, well this is the level of excellence.
I like living my life, aspirationally, in the space between 8-10.
This means that there be a lot of things I simply don't have much tolerance or time for, and this may translate to some as me having little to no interest, or me seeming even "aloof."
The reality is simply. I pretty much know what I want, and everything else is a distraction. No disrespect intended.
And yes, I also understand that this may not hit everyone well. But for me, while everyone should seek harmony and even to get along, leadership and life is not really a popularity contest.
Being popular should be a nice by-product of doing the right thing, not the thing you actually do right.
"I would much rather people respect me, and learn to like me, than to like me, and never respect me…"
I think many confuse self-confidence with an otherwise shallow sense of outward cockiness or arrogrance. That said, I can see how people might easily confuse or even interchange these ideas in one's own mind. Even easier, if that mind is filled with fear.
Isn't confidence in oneself, and in one's ideas, also a main ingredient for anyone who has ever 'done something' in this world?
I cannot speak as to what others perceive of me, but my reality is that I am obsessively focused on the ideas I am most passionate about — which happen to most of the time, be of my own creative creation.
I apologize if some see this is a bad thing, but I am not sorry.
Let me pose a different question. What would the world be like, if everyone was positively 'obsessed' with their own creative ideas?
Wow — even more so, if those ideas were about making the world 'better.'
Onward and with HOPE
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum.
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