When Leaders Don't Lead
Creating an Online Community

Try this quick little test. Don’t spend a lot of time on it. Just list the first things that pop into your head. To make it easier, I’ll start each list.

List  5 movies that graphically depict a scary future filled with death and destruction.

  1. The Day the Earth Stood Still__
  2. Alien______________________
  3. __________________________
  4. __________________________
  5. __________________________

List 5 movies that graphically depict a beautiful future filled with peace and love.

  1. Halcyon A Movie for World Peace
  2. The Yellow Submarine________
  3. ___________________________
  4. ___________________________
  5. ___________________________

Now think of the last newscast you saw.

  1. How many images did you see of death and destruction? _____________
  2. How many images did you see of peace and love?  __________________

Who said this: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” ~ Abraham Lincoln or  Peter Drucker?

Did you have the same experience I did? Did you fill the first list easily and draw a blank with the second list? I had to do an internet search to come up with even two movies for the second list. Here’s what concerns me:

The images we hold in our mind have a tremendous impact on the reality we create.

On a daily basis we are bombarded with images of destruction in movies, on television and even in electronic games that children play. In contrast, there are so few images of what peace looks like.

When I ask people to describe what world peace looks like, they use vague terms. However, they are able to give quite vivid descriptions of what a post-World War III would look like.

I’m not suggesting we block negative images and only hold positive ones. If we only hold positive images, we become gullible. However, if we primarily hold negative images, which seems to be the case these days, we become bitter and jaded.

We must actively seek out positive images or our sense of reality will be unbalanced. Many wonderful and powerful things are happening everyday. But we have to look for them because they won’t be presented to us in the media, and we have to be willing to see them.

Nelson Mandela was a leader who understood the power of creating a unifying positive image. Arrested in 1962 for his role in resistance to South Africa’s apartheid policy of racial segregation, he spent the 27 years in prison. Following his release in1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that ended apartheid. In 1994 when he became president, the country was divided, fueled by anger and desire for revenge. By all rights, Mandela himself had every reason to be angry and vengeful. However, he chose a different path.

Holding a vision of a united country, Mandela’s leadership modeled forgiveness and reconciliation. Using the rally call, “one team, one country” he at once acknowledged the existing division and created an image of what unity could look like – joining the factions to together in support of their rugby team. With national attention and the support of their entire country holding that image, their underdog team, The Springboks, miraculously won the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

I hope you will watch this brief but powerful documentary that shows the real events that occurred in Nelson Mandela’s attempt to unify his broken country. Not only is the documentary inspiring, it provides us with positive images of what is possible when we hold a vision of reconciliation, unity and peace.

I don’t know whether it was Abraham Lincoln or Peter Drucker who said “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” My internet search showed both as the author. But whomever it was, he was right – we do create our future. And the question is: what future are you creating not only for yourself but also for the rest of us?

ESPN Espy Award – Nelson Mandela Documentary

When Leaders Don't Lead
Creating an Online Community

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