AIESEC | Thoughts on leadership

“There are 3 million species of animals living in tropical rainforest, and one of them, the redfire ant, lives underground, under constant threat of annihilation from flash floods. Nature doesn’t care, if a species wants to survive, it has to prove it deserves to. When the floods come, fireants hold on to each other, creating a living raft that could float until the water recedes, months if necessary. So how does the species figure something like that out? Instinct? Trial and error? Was there one fireant that was being swept away by the rushing water, and grabbed on to another ant, only to find that together, they could float? What if you were that one who knew what needed to be done, but you had no words? How do you make the others understand?”. 

This is a voiceover I remember distinctly from a show I used to watch back in elementary school, Touch, which was created by Tim Kring. This resonated deeply with me and deeply fascinated me. The idea that leadership being this fluid notion in existence as something we can learn from nature is interesting. Like the fire antsfireants, we as individuals are put into certain situations which have infinite outcomes based on the circumstances of choice and decision making. 

To think, a decision or choice we make in that moment in time would ultimately decide the upcoming cascade of events in the succession of time. Like the fire antsfireants, whether we rise in the face of adversity or crumble to the pressure of it. So how do we figure out what to do? How do you know if what you decide or the action you take is the right one?

It takes courage to put yourself in a leadership position and it takes even more courage to be the one to be a leader in challenging situations. Not knowing what to do and not knowing if you are the right person for the task is disheartening. However, if you know what needs to be done, I implore you to go out and do it. Speak up because your time is now, and you were meant to be a leader and to create change in the world. 

Your actions have an impact, no matter how small it may be. We must be the leaders in our communities to spark that change, whether it be as simple as picking up trash in our community or traveling to different countries and giving children quality education. There are so many ways to create change in the world. 

All it really takes is a single person with a single idea. You are the youth of this generation, and you are resourceful and innovative and are the real generators of change. By being leaders in your country, you can inspire and create the next generation of leaders to shift the idea of change into reality.

Leadership is a process. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes resilience. You may have a solution to a bigger issue, and know what needs to be done, but it’s a matter of making others understand. Some will not want to understand, some may doubt you. That just means you need to find a way to connect with them and try to understand them before they will try to understand you. Part of being a leader is establishing trust to get that understanding and support.

I once heard something that resonated with me in a profound way. What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. We all have the right to make choices. Like the fire ants, the choices we make today can be tomorrow’s change.

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