Effective Leadership

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.- Proverbs 29:18

This quote from the Bible is repeated often in the personal development field. The meaning behind it illustrates a simple principle for a happy and successful life, which applies to society and your personal life: If there is no idea of a better future for yourself and your posterity, you will perish (be depressed, run around like a chicken without a head… you get the idea). It is also your responsibility to create that future.

Human beings are inherently a creative species whose creative thinking inventiveness, and power of reason build a better future and a greater capability to enact ever greater levels of power and control over the universe. All one has to look at is the implications of the NASA Apollo missions that landed a man on the moon. Can we still consider ourselves earthlings? Furthermore, those missions brought optimism to billions of people on the planet. The same idea applies to your personal life. Without ambitious goals, without hope for a better future,  you will waste away on your couch.

Everyone has goals, whether they know it or not, but the majority never consciously design their goals to align with what they truly want or need out of life. Instead, their goals are dictated to them by outside forces. I’m referring to the cultural and societal pressure placed on people to go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, retire. This isn’t wrong, and in a functional economy this works fine, but their goals follow this cookie cutter formula. Effective leadership requires something different.

There is a minority of the population that does consciously set goals. They act as architects of their lives and design, top down, the life they want. They think through what makes them happiest, what suits their nature best and then act relentlessly according to plan. Now we are getting closer to discovering what vision and leadership mean.

What is leadership? What is creative thinking? What is depth of vision?

A few individuals in history, have the type of vision and the leadership qualities I want to bring to your attention. One of those individuals was pioneering German space scientist Krafft Ehricke (1917-1984).

Krafft Ehricke knew, that mankind is intrinsically a creative problem solving species and that the only limitations to mankind’s continued progress was the limitations mankind imposed on itself. He knew mankind’s destiny lay in space, in the exploration, colonization and industrialization of other planets starting with the moon.

He promoted a philosophy called “The Extraterrestrial Imperative” in which he laid out 3 laws:

1st – Nobody and nothing under the natural laws of this universe impose limitations on man except man himself.

2nd – Not only the Earth, but the entire Solar System, and as much of the Universe as he can reach under the laws of nature, are man’s rightful field of activity.

3rd – By expanding through the Universe, man fulfills his destiny as an element of life, endowed with the power of reason and the wisdom of the moral law within himself.

Krafft also envisioned bi weekly trips to the moon by the year 2000 and describes the philosophy for the necessity of the industrialization of the moon, something being undertaken by China at the time of the writing of this article (Remember, Krafft was most active during the 1950’s prior to the Apollo program). Krafft’s depth of vision was a huge contribution to the establishment of NASA and to the landing of a man on the moon. This is the type of depth of vision, creative thinking and effective leadership that mankind requires to move forward and even if you don’t make a contribution of the scale of Krafft Ehricke, thinking big in this way can only benefit your life.

Reject practical thinking and look to the potential of the future instead. Develop the leadership qualities and creative thinking skills that Krafft Ehricke so embodied. What would you create if you knew you had no limits?

Furthermore, don’t just look at the future like a fixed point in time, think of the dynamic process that is being unfolded. John F. Kennedy, in his Rice University speech in 1962, when he embarked the United States on the mission of sending a man to the moon, didn’t just think about planting a flag on a giant rock just to say ‘It was hard, but we did it’, he could see the spin-off technologies, the mining and industry on the moon, the launching pad for deep space exploration and ultimately, the freedom that mankind, as a whole, could achieve! That’s effective leadership!

Here’s another way to idea on improving your creative thinking skills and depth of vision:

Imagine I gave you tree seeds to plant in an open field.

When the tree grows, what do you see happening?

How far would you take your vision?

Would you respond: “I see a tree that I planted from this seed.”

Or would you go further and say: “I see a vast forest that has sprung up.”

Or would you have the courage to go even further: “I see an entire village, built from the wood from the trees. There is a vibrant economy with lush farming land, firewood and food provided by the fruits of the trees. ”

This method of creative thinking requires courage because you need to look far into the future. You will run up against people who are trained to be practical, telling you that your vision is unrealistic. Although, you will find people will be inspired by such a vision and ready to bring it into reality. The question is, will you buy into their negative suggestions or will you develop the leadership qualities necessary to turn imagination into reality?

For more information on Krafft Ehriche, read Marsha Freeman’s book: The Extraterrestrial Imperative (2009) ISBN 978-1-894959-91-9

Here is JFK’s Rice University speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZyRbnpGyzQ