Leader or Idealist? DeMarco Banter

So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
 And where is the harmony?
… What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?
-Elvis Costello

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple “Think Different” Advertisement 

Ever been dubbed an idealist?  I have.  It seems–today, there is a negative connotation with the idealist. Honestly it is a title that I really have no problem with at all…except in the naivety of the stereotype. An idealist is actually defined as: a person who cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc., a visionary or, possibly, an impractical person, a person who represents things as they might or should be rather than as they are.

As one glances over history, we see so many great leaders, dare I say idealists. Did these leaders know they were great at the time? Did they truly know the consequences of their decisions at the time they made them? In history there are leaders/idealists/visionaries who possessed a deep understanding of context and strategy–they could readily draw abstracts from the past to their day and present bold and audacious ideas to their constituents, their troops, or their bosses. This concept or this thought has haunted me for years–the fine balance between the idealist and the dreamer. Several years ago—as I sat in Kabul, Afghanistan I had to ponder where are these leaders today? Are they right in front of me? Would I know one if I met him or her?

The Idealist might say things like, “I see a better way. It ought to be done right. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country. I have a dream . . .”
 Famous Idealists include Johan Sebastian Bach, Walt Disney, Galileo Galilei, Steven Hawking, Franz Josef Haydn, Ernest Hemingway, Bob Hope, Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, Janis Joplin, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy, Jim Morrison, President John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther, Paul McCartney, Michelangelo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Oliver North, Steven Spielberg, Peter Tchaikovsky, Vincent Van Gogh, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Think about how Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Michelangelo, Tchaikovsky, Van Gogh, Steven Spielberg and Walt Disney–each changed the world through their ability to see a better way. Notice how President John Kennedy set a challenge that put a man on the moon (“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”) and how Martin Luther King Jr. forced a nation to look at itself (“I have a dream . . .”). Notice how MANY leaders tried to achieve their ideal but naively found themselves in trouble, so where/how did they fail–dare I say history does not even record their names. What separates the two? Timing, luck, planning, passion, education, strategy–all of the above?

By no means do I equate myself with any of the greats above–mine is only to ask the reader to remember the idealist,  the crazy ones, the rebels. the troublemakers, remember those that ask tough questions, and ask “what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”

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