Filaments: On Leadership
Mark Twain, in explaining his exuberance and wit to a reporter, declared, “I was born excited.” Unfortunately, we’re not all born excited. Come to think of it, many of us are pretty dull. I know one super-dull fellow. Bring up sports, and his eyes glaze over. Talk about making money, and his body goes limp. Talk philosophy, and he stares blankly. Tell a joke, and he grins weakly. The guy is a certified dud.
Until you talk astronomy.
Mention quasars, and he lights up like one. Talk about life on Mars, and suddenly, there is life in him! Mention gamma ray bursts from distant black holes, and the black holes in his face flicker to life.
We all have filaments that glow under different conditions. When our filaments burn brightly, life is exciting, edgy, fun, hopeful, and satisfying.
Leaders have high-intensity filaments, and they know what makes them glow. They also know how to ignite themselves, and they are comfortable bathing others with their unique brilliance.
Jesus used the metaphor of luminance to describe many things. He understood that certain people have a brightly burning filament within them, and they owe it to themselves to let it shine.
Once, among a group of religious teachers, Jesus remarked, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8.2, NKJV).
His brashness incensed the Pharisees. “You can’t brag about yourself and expect us to believe it just because you say it!” they scolded.
“I know where I came from and where I am going,” he replied. ‘‘You do not know where I come from and where I am going” (John 8.14, NKJV).
It has been said that there is more variation among leaders than themes, but of this element I’m certain: Leaders know where they’re going. They know what makes them excited, and they are bold in sharing it.
What excites you? What makes you incandescent on the inside? Don’t let anyone, not even learned and influential people, snuff it out.
— Quoted In Focus Magazine, January 2011