An Overthought

I apologize in advance for the what might be nonsense you are about to read.

My last post was just two journal entries that spoke about lessons the nature of a campsite stream made me consider and the inadequacy of language to capture the world as it is. The consideration of the stream referenced a lack of goal-oriented conception of action, and while I have had this thought floating in my head for some time, it was not until the trek that I had experience to truly back it up. At first glance, this may seem entirely counter-intuitive to thoughts of leadership, but I’ve spent the past few days reconciling these two ends. The overarching characteristic of leaders in the NOLS model is vision and action. While I intentionally lack goal-orientation in action this still leaves vision. I find that one’s vision and their goals should just be two words to describe the same thing. Of course, action is necessary to reach this vision, but my goals will not be defined in this action, as that would narrow my focus to lose sight of the vision. The line of action should be dynamic, as a plan followed in the way a fanatic follows their cult puts far too much faith in one’s own ability to predict the future. While it is important to carefully step as to not roll your ankle, the well-being of your ankles means nothing if you lose sight of why you went hiking to begin with.

Language is structured in a way that reinforces the hoax of the world as a nearly infinite number of separate entities that work together to create a whole, and so each entity is understood as itself in a vacuum when it is different given the context in which it works. This is an incredibly important thing for leaders to understand. Yes, I can look at the Strengthfinders poll of my team members or any other research backed personality analysis, but it would be easy to fall into the trap to consider their results separately and treat them appropriately, while ignoring how they would all interact, and it is in this way that words fail to illustrate the complexities of how everything is related.

I say too much faith is put into our ability to predict futures, and there are insane complexities of each moment, so how do I avoid despair in the context of making a vision happen? These problems I mention arise from conceiving the world as numerous separate entities. Sure, I, an individual ego, may not be able to grasp these complexities or predict the consequences of actions, but if I look at it with the understanding that the team is not several “I’s,” and we are a larger system, then I understand that it is just a matter of framing. I am trying to portray a point that seems impossible to with this language. The we necessarily leaves a them. The larger system implies distinct and clear boundaries of influence where there are none. Regardless, with this perspective, then the future is not something to be predicted, and the complexities are not to be grasped because both the future and the complexities are ourselves. This is, I imagine, why to study leadership over individual competency.

The prompt was about perspectives on leadership, but me being me, I could not write about that without going into worldview.