Fast Company: Living Dangerously : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

"Living Dangerously". By Harriet Rubin, Fast Company, March 2000, pp. 276-280.

Jesse Jackson wanted to write his autobiography so he decided to embark on a self-reflecting trip atop a mountain at Bishop's Lodge in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Initially, he struggled with the idea of being able to "think great thoughts". His fear was that he would fall asleep rather than enter into a period of self-reflection. Fortunately Jesse Jackson was not alone when he embarked on this mission to answer three questions that they all had in common while participating in the Radicliffe sponsored Intellectual Renewal Program.

The questions were, One, something was missing in their lives, some spark, some connection. Two, they all worried that they had somehow compromised on personal goals - a worry shared even by those who had realized the dream of building their own business. And three, they all believed that by shifting their thinking, they could get closer to learning the secret of truly great work. (2000, p. 278)

Jesse was among 30 people who would be guided by three women: Tamar March, dean of educational programs at Radcliffe; Barbara Hill, senior fellow at the American Council on Educational Project on Leadership and Institutional Transformation; and Mary Catherine Bateson, cultural anthropologist and author. These women were to aid them in their search for significance.

Here is what they gleaned from their trip to the top of the mountain: 1. Become a self -aware learner.

2. Start a brain trust that includes all of the best thinkers in the world, past and present.

3. Practice "enacted learning."

4. Ask yourself, "What is an ideal leader?" Then make a list.

5. Now ask yourself, "What will I settle for?" Then make another list. (This is the list to live up to.)

6. Creativity isn't always about imagination. Try thinking without using your imagination at all. (It's one of the most difficult things you can do.)

7. Check yourself in your mind's mirror.

8. Don't be embarrassed to think grad thoughts.

9. Get chummy with something that you find repellent.

10. Recognize that you are a stranger to yourself.

In closing Jesse noted that in order to change the notion of leadership we need to change the notion of ourselves. Instead of trying to know ourselves we should know what our true commitments are. To be a great leader we need to think great thoughts and then commit ourselves to be the leader of our great thoughts.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2000

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